While some may know Geneva for its global humanitarian efforts, you may be surprised to learn that Geneva draws its culture and early history from several European regions. Previously occupied under the Roman Empire, Kingdom of Burgundy and French rule for centuries, the evolved city of Geneva experienced a tumultuous history but eventually joined the Swiss Confederation in 1815. From that historical moment, Geneva prospered as one of Europe’s most beautiful multicultural cities. You can experience Geneva on a Rhône River cruise and land program as part of your Essence of Burgundy & Provence itinerary.
A Glimpse into Geneva
Located at the southwestern end of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Geneva joins the Rhône River along the Franco-Swiss border. From afar, the picturesque French Alps and Jura Mountains surround the city. Just off the left bank of the Rhône, the cobblestone streets lead the way into the heart of the city, Old Geneva. As part of your pre- or post-river cruise land program, your guided walking tour will take you on a journey into the “Peace City” where you will learn more about its invigorating past with different cultures.
During your free time, go in search of a famous city monument, the Jet d’Eau, the world’s tallest water fountain where the water skyrockets 476 feet high – nearly as tall as a 50-story building! You may even catch a glimpse of popular monuments and historical sites, like the large flower clock Horlage Fleuri, the Grand Theatre and the Geneva Opera House, which unites visitors for a deeper discovery of the “Genevois spirit.” As you stroll along the streets, browse for jewelry as the Swiss have a tradition of jewelry making – and be sure to try some local chocolates as they make wonderful souvenirs.
Capital of Peace and Connection
As the European home to many international organizations including the United Nations, Geneva has continuously promoted Swiss neutrality throughout its history and culture. Its long history of diversity and tolerance has rendered Geneva a cultural center for all international bodies to meet on neutral, common ground.
The significant Geneva Conventions from 1864 to 1949 led the pathway to humanitarian efforts for those affected by war. Their lasting global impact inspired the protection of human dignity. Symbolic to international Geneva, the architectural style of the United Nations headquarters, or Palais des Nations, represents the unique diversity of nations and harmony around the world. The endless rows of countries’ flags line up towards the headquarters, highlighting Geneva as the "capital of world peace."
Across from the building, the famous three-legged Broken Chair stands as an impressive monument, representing the victims of landmines all around the world. This landmark became an international statement in 1997 to encourage nations to sign the Mine Ban Treaty, stopping the use of landmines.