Geneva Old Town Walking Tour

The sun emerged from the clouds as we arrived in Geneva! We started the Tour at the ‘Horloge Fleurie’, via the National Monument and made our way to the old town walking alongside Lac Léman listening to interesting facts about the lake and the Jura mountains.

We explored cobbled and narrow streets with buildings from the Medieval era and 17th century, each home to numerous treasures and history.

Walking up to St Peter’s Cathedral was special as we climbed the stunning ‘Rue de Toutes Âmes’ a beautiful cobbled street (taking you back in time!) and where one end of the secret passage of Geneva can be seen (Passage de Monetier); a part of a complex system of hidden passages for unnoticed soldiers transfers, civilians escape and possibly some illegal romances…

We entered St Peter’s Cathedral of Geneva via an unexpected back door. Previously the Catholic Cathedral of St Peter, it was built between years 1160 – 1252 and became a Protestant church in 1536 (when Geneva was added to its original name). The Cathedral is best known as the church where John Calvin gave his inspiring sermons during the mid-16th century. It has undergone a number of transformations and was rebuilt several times; the last reconstruction taking place in 18th century.

We took our time to admire the stunning Chapelle des Macchabées, one of Geneva’s truly unique sights.

At the “place du Marché” we discovered canons and mosaics sharing tales about Julius Cesar and the Middle Ages.

Heading to Parc des Bastions we passed the longest bench in the world and the ‘Marronnier Officiel’, the tree from which spring season is officially declared! We then learned about the Escalade where Mère Catherine Cheynel poured her soup onto French soldiers and thus waking up the guards and saving Geneva from invasion from the Duke of Savoy. This was on December 11th  & 12th, 1602 and the annual Escalade event, with its race, costumed procession, pumpkin soup, chocolate pot commemorates this important date.

The Reformation Wall in Parc des Bastions and its verdant surroundings was our last stop with its monument to the people who made Geneva the “Protestant Rome” and the first protestant city of Europe. 

What a lovely morning and group it was! Thank you and see you at our next event.

By: Mercedes Shipman and Dacia Snider

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