Our Blog - Geneva, Switzerland, May 2008

We decided to spend a weekend in Switzerland in May, this time in the French speaking portion of the country. It took a little over three hours by train to get from downtown Paris to downtown Geneva and for the third trip in a row we got nice weather, a European record.

The "Jet d'Eau" in Lake Geneva is the famous water fountain that shoots water 450 feet into the air. It was built in 1891 and since then it has been a trademark of the city. There is a soccer ball above the fountain because Geneva will be hosting some games during this summer's European Championships.

The first of three pictures we have of the Geneva water fountains, this one is in the old town.

The Tour-d-L'Ile was the site where a Chateau had been built in 1219, although only this tower now remains. The chateau had been used as a prison and a place of execution, on it's wall today is a plaque commemorating Caesar's visit in 58 BC.

Throughout Geneva there are water fountains, which you can see behind Susan. In addition to the water fountain there is an old sun dial, but because of its position it only works during the morning hours.

The arsenal is a structure dating from the early 1600's and it contains a number of old cannons, the older of the cannons dates from 1683. Behind Tom there are a variety of colorful murals that seem out of place in an arsenal.

The Cathedrale Saint-Pierre was started in 1160 and was not completed for another 150 years. In the 1500's it was converted from a Catholic church to a Protestant church which explains the relative austere interior compared to the more ornate Catholic churches.

Another picture of the Cathedrale, this time from the side. You can see here the mishmash of styles, not surprising given the time it took to complete.

The Calvin auditorium was church were John Calvin preached his reformist ideology. It had been built in the 15th century and during Calvin's time it became a Protestant haven for refugees across Europe.

The Parc des Bastions is a large park in central Geneva, right near the University of Geneva. There are a number of large sized games, (checkers and chess) where later in the day we played a short game of chess.

In the center of Geneva is Lake Geneva and in the background are mountains where you may be able to see snow on the summits.

Lake Geneva drains into the river Rhone which bisects the city. Here are typical examples of the architecture in Geneva on both sides of the river.

In the English Garden there is the "Flower Clock", the clock face is made up of beds of flowers and the clock is known to keep perfect time.

There is one Russian Orthodox church in Geneva, looking like what you would see in Russia. We went into the church and it was very tiny, it could not have been more than 50 feet in depth.

The Place du Bourg-de-Four shown here was once a Roman cattle market. Around the water fountain are cafes and small shops.

The Geneva City Hall has been Geneva's political seat since 1455. The first Geneva convention was signed here in 1864 and the League of Nations first convened here in 1920.

Inside the Tavel House, Geneva's oldest house from the 14th century, there are rooms showing period furnishings. On the outside of the house were images of people and animals, the originals are now inside to preserve them from the environment. Susan is pictured here with one of the more interesting ones.

A closer review of the sundial that we had shown before.

Another one of the Geneva water fountains that seemed to pop up everywhere in the city.