The Bastions District
Discover the Bastions District
The Bastions district in Geneva features historic landmarks, symbolic monuments and major cultural venues.
At the foot of the Old Town, Les Bastions is also the thriving hub of many traditional Geneva celebrations such as the Fête de l’Escalade and the Course de l’Escalade.
Places to visit
Parc des Bastions
A natural haven in downtown Geneva!
Next to Place de Neuve, Parc des Bastions features some of the city’s most beautiful monuments along its tree-lined promenade.At the foot of the Old Town, Parc des Bastions is a vast green area right in the city centre that used to house Geneva’s first botanical garden. It comprises the famous Reformation Wall, which portrays the main actors of the Reformation, Palais Eynard, where the city’s executive authorities meet, and the University and the Library of Geneva. The gazebo houses a restaurant, right next to free giant outdoor chess boards for enthusiasts to play on.
Four men, one wall, one story. The great figures of the Reformation tower over Parc des Bastions.
The main protagonists of the Reformation – John Calvin, Guillaume Farel, Theodore de Bèze and John Knox – are portrayed in the form of giant statues and bas-reliefs in the heart of Parc des Bastions. Geneva’s motto, Post Tenebras Lux, is also engraved in the wall. Take one of our guided tours to learn more about this major period for Geneva. On leaving the park, you’ll be hit by the splendour of Place de Neuve, which is surrounded by major cultural venues.
Kiosque des Bastions
The Kiosque, the gazebo in Parc des Bastions, is a real haven of peace. The place features a quiet, bucolic, family atmosphere where you’ll enjoy a hearty meal or a refreshing drink while taking advantage of the sublime veranda or the large, shaded terrace during the summer. Foodies will love the buffet brunch, which is served, upon reservation, every Sunday between 11:30am and 3pm.
Place de Neuve and the Grand Théâtre de Genève
Place de Neuve is located at the foot of the old city walls. In the centre stands a statue of a Swiss national hero, General Dufour. This superb square is the centre of Geneva’s cultural life and is home to the Grand Théâtre de Genève (the city’s opera house), the Conservatoire de musique and the Musée Rath, renowned worldwide for its exhibitions. The Maison des Arts du Grütli, which lies right next door, also hosts numerous contemporary cultural events.
Palais de l’Athénée
The Palais de l’Athénée has been the headquarters of the Société des Arts since 1863 and was built for it thanks to its generous patrons: the philhellenic Jean-Gabriel Eynard and his wife Anna Eynard-Lullin. Located in the heart of the city, the palace, which was built by architects Gabriel Diodati and Charles Schaeck, houses numerous rooms and the famous Hall of Bees on the ground floor, refurbished in 1985. The Red Cross was founded in 1863 in the Palace’s Grand Salon. Other institutions such as the International Committee of Historical Sciences and the International Save the Children Union were also founded here.
Must-see traditional celebrations
Fête de l’Escalade
For more than 400 years, Geneva has been celebrating a historic victory with colourful parades and period demonstrations that will transport you to the dawn of the 17th century for three days. All generations gather around the traditions, and all sorts of amazing characters appear in every corner of the city, dressed in unique medieval costumes, parading on foot and on horseback. Children also love to take part in the event, proudly carrying their torches to the sound of the drums. The Fête de l’Escalade is a thriving, must-see traditional event in Geneva!
Course de l’Escalade
A joyful sporting festival, the Course de l’Escalade (Escalade Race) brings together runners from all walks of life every first weekend in December, making it the leading running event in Switzerland and one of the most important in Europe. The start, a fun affair to witness with family and friends, is in the heart of Parc des Bastions.
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