Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
October 7, 2006
From journal A Few Days in Geneva
London, United Kingdom
May 19, 2004
A particularly pleasant thing to do whilst in the vicinity is simply strolling along the peaceful pedestrianised streets, the most important and largest of which is the gently ascending Grand Rue. Flanking the picturesque main road are some wonderfully well-preserved buildings that date back several centuries and now mostly host suitably sedate stores selling antiques, books and suchlike. Particularly notable is the stately Hôtel-de-Ville, which has been the location of the cantonal parliament for many centuries and has hosted various momentous events, such as the foundation of the Red Cross. The central courtyard is worth seeing, but more intriguing is the internal paved ramp that takes the place of the more usual main staircase, apparently so that eminent citizens could ascend on horseback. Meanwhile, directly opposite is the open-air but covered arcade of the Arsenal, which appropriately features several venerable canons and some beautiful mosaics depicting historic scenes.
The fine thoroughfare eventually opens out onto what is effectively the heart of the district, the pretty Place du Bourg-de-Four, which has a fine fountain in the middle and is surrounded by several appealing structures, including the Palace of Justice and the house where Rousseau was born. The unusually undulating cobbled square physically still evokes its past role as the site of medieval market, but also seems somewhat less refined than some nearby spots, primarily because of the number of establishments found there that cater for the invariable influx of tourists. Nevertheless, spending some time amidst such lovely surroundings on a café terrace still might be a very good idea if the sun is shining.
The area’s alternative hub is Place de la Taconnerie, which is a smaller, more enclosed and quieter plaza that is full of yet more impressive architecture. However, overshadowing everything else is the massive Cathedral of St Peter, which is as dominant now as it was during the tenure of the fiery Reformation preacher Jean Calvin.
The other particularly noteworthy attraction is the oldest house in the settlement, the so-called Maison Tavel. Although built during the 1300s, the edifice’s most eye-catching feature is actually the 17th century façade. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, it is home to displays of various items pertaining to everyday local life in the past. Despite being generally interesting, most of the exhibits simply do not compete with the relief map of the city that is located on the top floor. Crafted from copper and zinc around 150 years ago, it is a remarkable piece of work in terms of both detail and size, and single-handedly makes visiting the museum a very worthwhile activity.
From journal Geneva - A truly international city
November 30, 2000
From journal Relaxing in Geneva