Students, Chess and the Vieille Ville
At the city centre you can stroll through Geneva’s historical quarter, known as Vieille Ville
(Old City). After walking the streets and visiting the Saint-Pierre Cathedral
, you can discover a sanctuary for students and chess lovers: Parc des Bastions
. It was built during the 18th Century in what used to be the limits of the old city walls. The garden is located in the back of the first University of Geneva and was once a Botanical Garden, which explains the existence of several non-European plants and trees.
A great sequoia tree rises towards the sky near the Reformation Wall
. This 100 metres long bas-relief monument is dedicated to theologian John Calvin and other illustrious personalities that made Geneva a capital of protestant reform. The park’s attractions also include a chess game area with giant chess pieces. As one would expect, the place is a hangout for chess lovers who continually challenge themselves.
By the lake
Since the purpose of these parks is to provide a relaxing and refreshing environment, it is only natural that most of them are located near the water.
At Quai Gustave Ador there are several more places that paint Lake Léman with green and other flowery colours. Parc La Grange
is a 12 square kilometre green area that is home to the city’s biggest rose garden. This is also where we find the Théâtre de Verdure
, where you can watch open air concerts during summertime.
Close to La Grange is the Eaux Vives
park, located on a hillside where we also find an 18th century castle (which today houses a restaurant).
While crossing the Rhône River that goes through both city and lake, we enter Île Rousseau
. The park in this small island is popular among Geneva’s citizens. There is a restaurant and a nice view of the landscape.
The cherry on top is the famous Pearl of the Lake — La Perle-du-Lac
, one of the city’s most popular green areas. The park is spread out on the west side of the lake and its name was suggested by the wife of Hans Wilsdorf, founder of the Rolex watch company. It stands on a privileged location where the remains of a Roman villa have been discovered. The Pearl includes gardens, tracks for cyclists and many spots where you can relax under the trees.
This place also provides you with an amazing view of the lake, the city and the mountains. During Summer , visitors can enjoy cultural activities that include open air cinema, among others. At Park Moynier, an adjacent garden, you can also visit the History of Science Museum
A visit to Geneva’s green landscapes would not be complete without Ariana Park
, built between 1877 and 1884 by Gustave Revilliod de la Rive, a local benefactor and collector. After his death, the property became available to the general public, and the Ariana Museum opened its doors to display the patron’s massive collection of artworks and ceramic pieces.
This green area is known for its size (45 hectares) and biodiversity, as well as its historical significance: it houses the Palace of Nations
, the headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva. At the United Nations Square in front of the Palace, we find several monuments dedicated to peace, such as the Broken Chair
— a 12 metre tall sculpture, created by Swiss artists Daniel Berset and Louis Genève, it pays homage to the victims of landmines and cluster bombs.