Around the Cathedral, Geneva
John Knox Chapel
On the south side of Geneva's Temple de Saint-Pierre is the former church of Notre-Dame (originally early 13th C.), in which Calvin, Beza and John Knox preached. Since the Reformation it has been called the Temple de l'Auditoire. Partly rebuilt in the 19th C., it is now used by Scottish, Dutch, Italian and Spanish Protestants (John Knox Chapel; restored 1959; exhibition of historical documents).
To the west of Geneva's Temple de Saint-Pierre the peaceful tree-shaded Cour Saint-Pierre has a number of historic old houses, the most elegant of which is the Maison Mallet (Louis XV style, 1721).
Place du Bourg-de-Four
Southeast of Geneva's Temple de Saint-Pierre in the picturesque Place du Bourg-de-Four, on the site of the Roman forum, stands the handsome Palais de Justice, built 1707-12. It has housed the law courts since 1860.
Hôtel de Ville
Southwest of Geneva's Temple de Saint-Pierre is the Hôtel de Ville (15th-17th C.), seat of the cantonal government, which has a ramp without steps, leading to the upper floors. The Tour Baudet contains the cantonal archives. On the ground floor of the southeast wing is the Alabama room, in which the first Geneva Convention (on the Red Cross) was signed in 1864.
From Geneva's Hôtel de Ville begins the Grand' Rue (pedestrians only), the well-preserved main street of the old town, with house fronts of the 15th-18th C. (at No. 40 the birthplace of Jean-Jacques Rousseau).
Promenade de la Treille
Southwest of Geneva's Hôtel de Ville, reached through a pillared gateway, is the Promenade de la Treille, lined with chestnut-trees (views of Mont Salève and the Jura).
Against the wall under the Promenade de la Treille in Geneva can be seen the Reformation Monument (Monument de la Réformation, 1917). In the middle are figures of Calvin, Guillaume Farel, Théodore de Bèze or Beza and John Knox, and on either side are the statesmen who promoted the cause of the reformed faith and bas-reliefs with scenes from the history of the Calvinist Reformation, while at the ends are memorials to Luther and Zwingli.
Museum of Old Geneva
A historic monument, Tavel House is the oldest private house in Geneva. First mentioned in records in 1303 and rebuilt 1334, the house was acquired in 1963 by the City of Geneva. Since restoration was carried out, the house is viewable in its entirety, from the cellars to the attic. Tavel House is devoted to the urban history and daily life of Geneva. A huge scale model dating from 1896, reconstructs the appearance of Old Geneva as it was before 1850, still surrounded by its fortifications.Drawings, engravings, photographs, coins, furniture and collections of silver from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 20th C can be seen.
Address: Rue du Puits-Saint-Pierre 2, CH-1204 Genève, Switzerland
Opening hours: 10am-5pm; Closed: Mon
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Admission cost for temporary exhibitions.
Disability Access: Partial facilities for persons with disabilities.
Transit: Bus No 36, stop Hotel-de-Ville, BusNo 2, 7, 12, 16, stop Bel-Air Cite
Below Geneva's old town, to the southwest, is the Place Neuve (equestrian statue of General Dufour).
On the north side of Geneva's Place Neuve stands the Grand Théâtre (Opera House, 1874-79).A fire in 1951 destroyed much of Geneva's Grand Théâtre but it was rebuilt keeping much of the original 1879 exterior. The opera house holds only 1,488 and it attracts fine casts.
Address: Bureau de location (box office), Place Neuve, CH-1204 Genève, Switzerland
Useful tips: It can be difficult to get tickets. Tickets can't be ordered by mail but are sold at the box office beginning seven days before a performance. The box office is located inside the opera house and it is open 10am-7pm weekdays and 10am-5pm Saturdays. The first day tickets are available for an opera the box office opens at 8am On performance days the box office opens one hour before the performance. The season runs from September through June and a schedule is available by writing the box office.
Conservatoire de Musique
Geneva's Conservatoire de Musique, built in 1858, hosts an annual music competition. It is found on the west side of Place Neuve.
The first Swiss museum to be devoted to the fine arts, the Rath Museum currently exhibits international as well as Swiss art.
Promenade des Bastions
Southeast of Geneva's Place Neuve the Promenade des Bastions is graced by old trees and busts of prominent citizens of Geneva.
On the south side of Geneva's Promenade des Bastions is the University, housed in its present buildings since 1873, which developed out of the Academy founded by Calvin in 1559 for the training of Reformed theologians.
This library founded in the 15th C contains 1,200,000 volumes, a collection of medieval manuscripts, portraits of leading theologians, scholars and statesmen. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's works and manuscripts are displayed.
Opening hours: 9am-12pm, 2pm-5pm; Closed: Sun
Museum of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
At the east end of Geneva's Promenade des Bastions is the elegant Palais Eynard (1821: municipal reception rooms).
Geneva's Neo-classical Palais Athénée (art gallery; 1864) is southeast of Palais Eynard.
Countess Tatiana Zoubov Memorial Foundation Collection
European prints including Russian prints from 1910-1924 plus contemporary works and temporary exhibits.
Museum of Ethnography
The Ethnographic Museum of Geneva contains about 100,000 objects and documents, the second largest collection of its kind in Switzerland. Objects exhibited reflect the diversity and the creativity of traditional cultures from the Five Continents including South American colonial silverware, Japanese weapons and art objects. Tibetan, Australian Aboriginal and rural African cultures are stressed.The Annex at Conches houses temporary modern exhibitions on regional, alpine and urban ethnography.
Saint-Gervais - Center of the Contempory Image
The Centre pour l'Image Contemporaine is concerned with art and new technologies: photography, video, computer, cinema, multimedia and the web. It is a production, presentation, discussion and archival center for contemporary images. It's Media Library has over 800 titles.
At the southeast end of the hill on which Geneva's old town is built is the Promenade St-Antoine, a former bastion. Below this is the Collège St-Antoine, founded by Calvin in 1559, now one of the eight cantonal secondary schools.
Map of Geneva Attractions