Meeting the History of Geneva in the Parc des Bastions

At first entitled the Belle Promenade, the parc des Bastions has been thoroughly modified when the military fortifications were dismantled in the 19th century. Today it is a favourite meeting place for the Genevans. The Reformation Wall on one side faces the old University building on the opposite side of this green lung of 64968 square meters of lawn, flower beds and walks lined with trees in the center of the city. While the Town Hall reminds us of a Italian mansion at the upper end, an ornate wrought-iron gate leads to the place Neuve at the lower end, where chess players gather during the summer months. Some of the most famous scientists, humanists, theologians and politicians are remembered in this garden. A quiet stroll along the meandering paths around various memorials and sculptures will allow you to meet them.

Guide: Marlyse Beldi
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The International District, the UN building with its special agencies and other international organizations

To accommodate the delegations meeting during the sessions of the League of Nations after First World War and those of the European seat of the United Nations with its thousands of diplomats after World War II, the Canton authorities provided facilities to the west of the city around the park of the Ariana. Before its integration into the city, this hill had been used as a resort as early as the end of the seventeenth century when rich families spent a few weeks there in their summer houses. Old properties have been restored and new office buildings have been erected on former farm-land of this now densely populated suburb. The tour intends to show the radical transformation of this area during the past century and the main international organizations.

Guide: Marlyse Beldi
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Sculptures of the twentieth century in Geneva, works by major international and local artists

The display of sculpture on the streets is mainly a phenomenon of the twentieth century in Geneva. This walk will show you examples of works from the bronze figure of Prophet Jeremiah in front of the cathedral to the Iraklion columns of Maurice Ruche at the rond-point de Plainpalais. You will perceive how the city authorities integrated the various trends in contemporary sculpture into their town-planning and how the local artists participated in this development. Thus you’ll have the opportunity to see works by Max Bill, Alexander Calder and Henry Moore among others.

Guide: Marlyse Beldi
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Historical visit of the Old Town

Geneva is mentioned in the De Bello gallico as the Roman town visited by Julius Cesar in 58 B.C. In the Middle Ages a bishop-prince presides over its political destiny and its international trade fairs. During the sixteenth century, Calvin transforms it into an Republic “humiliated under God”. It is recognized as a major intellectual centre in the Age of Enlightenment. It welcomes the first Peace Movement in the nineteenth century. The International Red Cross is simultaneously founded by a group of its citizens in 1863. The League of Nations chose it for its headquarters at the end of World War I. Remnants of all these periods are shown during a pleasant walk in the Old Town.

Guide: Marlyse Beldi
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Women in the history of Geneva

Jeanne de Jussie reported on the events that led to the acceptation of religious Reformation in Geneva. Isabelle Eberhardt learned to ride horses along the Rhone River before she left for the deserts of the Maghreb. Several women distinguished themselves throughout the past four centuries in literature, teaching, medicine, feminism. You are invited to follow them in a walk on the trail of their unusual destiny.

Guide: Marlyse Beldi
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Squares of Geneva, a look at the city’s town-planning

Favourite meeting places at the crossroads of European trade routes or intimate meeting places, the squares of Geneva greatly differ from each other. This walk exploring time and space offers an insight into the most important historical events that have occurred there shaping the peculiar destiny of the city.

Guide: Marlyse Beldi
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The Museum of the Martin Bodmer Foundation, a world-famous private collector’s library

(Please book your reservation at the secretariat of the museum by telephone ++41 (0) 22 707 44 36)

Since 2003, the Martin Bodmer Library shows some of its treasuries to the public. From Egyptian papyruses of first importance, precious medieval illuminated manuscripts, Shakespeare’s First Folio to first editions of major writers of the twentieth century, the evolution of human thought is presented to the visitor in this museum built by the architect Mario Botta. For further information, browse through the website of the Bodmeriana : www.fondationbodmer.org.

Guide: Marlyse Beldi
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13 + 5 =