Emilie Bissardon’s tours

Panoramic tour of Geneva

The perfect tour for your first time in Geneva ! You will discover all the highlights such as  the international district and the UN Palace, the lakeside and its famous Jet d’eau, the old town and the cathedral. 

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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 a 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 when the International Red Cross is simultaneously founded by a group of its citizens. 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.

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ALONG THE WATERSIDE OF GENEVA

We shall walk from the Rousseau island to the “Jonction” where the rivers Rhone and Arve meet. Along the way, unexpected spots of untouched nature, testimonies of the industrial and agricultural past of the city, modern constructions on the right bank of the river will be shown to you.

The Museum of the Martin Bodmer Foundation, a world-famous private collector's library

Since 2003, the Martin Bodmer Library has shown some of its treasures to the public. From highly important Egyptian papyruses, precious medieval illuminated manuscripts and Shakespeare’s First Folio, to first editions of major 20th century writers, the evolution of human thought is presented to the visitor in this museum built by the architect Mario Botta.

UNEXPECTED GENEVA

Explore Geneva as you’ve never done before. During this visit get ready to enter into hidden courtyards, discover unknown alleys or find out about details on renowned landmark sites. Some of these details you may see each and every day but did you ever pay attention to them? What about this commemorative plaque? Or this curious mask? And what about this strange pavement or this beautiful transom? Explore all of these and many more whilst listening to intriguing stories and anecdotes.

SIG industrial sites

Visiting some of the industrial sites of Geneva such as damns, water treatment plants of the famous Jet d’eau will give you another perspective of our wonderful city.

Jet d’eau

Barrage de Verbois

Barrage du Seujet

Berges de Vessy 

STEP du Bois-de-Bay

Usine de Châtillon

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Evian-les-Bains, Belle Epoque health resort

In the north of the Haute Savoie, nestled in the foothills of the Alps and along Lac Leman, this elegant city is poetically named “perle du Léman”. Home of the world famous mineral water, Evian boasts a wonderful architectural and historical heritage.

The tour highlights not only the lakefront and his emblematic Belle Epoque buildings but also hidden places.

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Aix-les-Bains, Queen of spa towns and spa town of the queens

Aix-les-Bains’ reputation for its hot springs dates back to ancient times. The city developed in the 19th century thanks to European aristocracy.

Nowadays, this small town on eastern shores of Lake Bourget is still one of France’s most important thermal towns and boasts a rich architectural testimony and a wonderful living environment.

Annecy, in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Sales

Saint Francis of Sales was born in Thorens, a few kilometers away from Annecy.

The Bishop of Geneva with his residence in Annecy was one of the great leaders of Counter Reformation in the 17th century. With Jeanne de Chantal he founded a new women’s congregation, the Visitation of Mary. Still today, the Basilica of Visitation, in the Semnoz’ foothills, welcomes pilgrims from all over the world who come to worship the two saints’ relics. 

We will follow the footsteps of the two saints walking through the old town.

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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.
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Carouge, the "Greenwich village" of Geneva

Very different from the calvinist Geneva, Carouge was founded in the 18th century by the Kingdom of Piemont-Sardinia. During this walk, we will stroll along the charming streets, discover some lovely boutiques and hidden gardens.

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The battle of "Escalade"

The most epic battle which took place in Geneva. It was the very last attempt of Savoy to take the city, in December 1602. Spoiler alert: it does not end well for Savoy !

During this walk, you will uncover all the secrets of the battle, its impact on European geopolitics, and why we keep eating chocolate caldrons every December.

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Geneva, a sustainable city

Geneva is one of the greenest cities in Europe wit not less than 50 parcs. Since 1995, the municipality is also very committed to develop the city in the most sustainable way. This walk will enable you to uncover some of chose initiatives. 

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HENRY DUNANT AND THE RED CROSS, THE BEGINNING OF THE INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN VOCATION OF GENEVA

When Henry Dunant wrote “A Memory of Solferino” (1862), he could not fancy that only fifty years later the Red Cross would be involved in actions on every continent except Australasia. During our tour through the Old Town of Geneva, you will see, among others, Dunant’s birth place, the former headquarter of the future ICRC, the house in which “A Memory of Solferino” was written and the famous ” Alabama room”.

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Yvoire, medieval village

On the french shore of Lac Leman, between the Jura and the Alps, is a key site in the Haute Savoie.

Fortified in the 14th century, Yvoire has kept its medieval walls, gates, castle and some old houses.

A simple fisher village at the beginning of the 20th century, Yvoire is now a member of the Association of the most beautiful french villages and floral prize-winner.

The tour leads through small streets from craftworkshops to charming floral squares with some wonderful views of the lake.

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Garden of the five senses in Yvoire

This medieval-style garden was rebuilt in the 1980’s by the family Bouvier d’Yvoire. Every corner of this vegetal heaven is full of surprises, like plants with astonishing smells or the magical mandragora. Follow me to explore the labyrinth!

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Discovering Old Annecy

Known as « the Venice of the Alps » or « the Rome of the Alps », Annecy benefits from an exceptional situation, on the shores of the purest lake in Europe.

The old town has kept its medieval character. A walk throughout it will take us back in time, discovering its rich history, closely linked to Geneva.

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Chamonix Mont Blanc

Meeting point of mountain lovers from all over the world, the town has much more than Mont Blanc to offer. When its first visitors arrived in the 18th century, hostelries opened and the city took on it’s heritage of tradition and modernity that we know today:  churches and chapels, Belle Époque palaces, Art-deco facades, chalets… It’s also where technical wizardry such as the construction of Montenvers Railway or the Aiguille du Midi cable car has been achieved.

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Chambéry, capital of the Dukes of Savoie

To the south of Lake Bourget, the largest natural lake in France, the city is the gate to three major alpine national parks: Vanoise, Chartreuse and Bauges.

At the foot of the castle, a maze of alleys and passages take us back in time from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Around its old center, the Sardinian town boasts solemnity, while 20th century’s daring architecture brings the city into modernity.

Emilie Bissardon

emilie.bissardon@visitalp.com  +33 664 23 00 30

I’ve been a tour guide in Geneva, Switzerland and the French Alps since 2009. I love to share the secrets and anecdotes of our wonderful region as well as it’s great History. Follow me on bespoke guided tours, traditional tours and off the beaten track.

Curriculum

 Guide-interprète national diploma (Paris-East Marne-la-Vallée University)

University of Geneva “Heritage and Tourism” certificate 

Bachelor in tourism management 

Member of the Swiss Tour Guides Association – ASGT, Tour Guides in Auvergne Rhône-Alpes– GRENAT  and Annecy Tour Guides

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To book a tour, or if you have any question about tours, please email me or use the form.

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