One of Geneva’s most famous and beautiful symbols arrived by accident. The fountain was originally just a pressure release from a hydro-power plant on the Rhône River, but people loved it so much that the city installed a permanent fountain on the lake. The Jet d’Eau (literally, “water jet”) releases a plume of water 140 meters into the air and it’s spectacularly lit at night. You can see it from pretty much anywhere along the waterfront but beware that if you get close you’ll be soaked! But what better relief on a hot day?
Get your geek on at CERN (European Nuclear Research Centre) just outside of Geneva in the town of Meyrin. Microcosm is a unique museum of particle physics, helping to explain particle research to the layman. Included in the museum are mock-ups of historical particle physics experiments, a cosmic ray detector, models of current and upcoming CERN experiments, and a mockup of the Large Hadron Collider.
The Palais des Nations is a mammoth complex of buildings (the second largest complex in Europe after Versailles) originally constructed between 1929 and 1936 to house the League of Nations (which disbanded at the outbreak of World War II), but that now serves as the European headquarters of the United Nations. The lush landscaped grounds overlook Lake Geneva and stand beneath the French Alps. Visitors can take in the grand Assembly Hall and enjoy a large collection of public art – but remember to bring your passport to get in! While there, make a stop at the Musée ARIANA, which has a huge collection of ceramics from Europe and Asia.
This interesting neighborhood is home to some good shopping, but what’s really fantastic is the series of early-80s residential buildings called “les Schtroumpfs” (the Smurfs), where the architects avoided all straight lines, creating a fun, fantasy-world appearance.
Just over the border in France, the Salève is a great place for a retreat into nature. Spend a day hiking along this beautiful alpine ridge, or take the Téléphérique cable car up to the top for beautiful panoramas of the city, Lake Geneva, and Mt Blanc.