Luxury in Geneva

When international traders became bankers at the beginning of the 18th century, luxury insidiously invaded  the most exclusive areas of the city in spite of the austerity specific to  the calvinist society. The front of houses are decorated, art collections are formed, which finally ended up in the museums of the city, fashionable items such as decorated carriages are tolerated. This walk shows you how some rich citizens prided themselves upon circumventing the prevailing sumptuary laws.

 

Guide: Marlyse Beldi
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The New Look of Geneva in the 18th Century

French architects enjoy a European reputation which reaches Geneva. Several Geneva businessmen become extremely rich at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century. For their families, they build mansions imitating to a certain degree the taste of the French aristocracy. The tour shows you how the French model chosen by rich Geneva patricians could be adapted to the specific features of the hilly old city.

 

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The Archaeological Site of Saint Peter’s Cathedral

The archaeological excavations under Saint-Peter’s cathedral cover more than 2000 years of Geneva history. Remains of prehistoric and Roman settlements, the corpse of a Celtic chief or saint, important remains of religious buildings erected since the beginning of the Christian period showing the emergence of Christianity during the 4th century, baptisteries and the apse of the cathedral of the year 1000. Every step lets you discover the importance of Geneva in former times.

Guide: Evelyn Riedener
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Saint Peter of Geneva, a general presentation of the cathedral

The first bishop-prince of Geneva, Arducius de Faucigny, initiated the reconstruction of the cathedral during the second half of the twelfth century with the help of his Chapter. Its rich decoration dating from the fifteenth century disappeared when the citizens of Geneva adopted the Reformation in 1536. The Greco-Roman façade was added in the middle of the eighteenth century. Once you enter inside its walls, you will immediately feel the “spirit of the age of cathedrals”. Saint-Peter’s cathedral is not the first church on this location. Under the present building, you will discover one of the largest subterranean archaeological sites of Europe. Recently, the archaeologists have probably unearthed the first oratory dating back to the middle of the fourth century.

Guide: Evelyn Riedener
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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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