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Must Visit Attractions in Geneva

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If the steep streets of the old town have put you off the idea of mountain climbing, head for Promenade de la Treille. It boasts of what has argued to be the longest bench in the world (126 meters, or 415 feet). As well as a view over the Parc des Bastions and the Place Neuve, towards Plainpalais and further west, it's also a chance to admire the Salève and Jura mountains from a distance. A seesaw and other playground equipment mean that children will also appreciate a stop at this green and shaded promenade.

Having aged gracefully over more than 850 years, this magnificent cathedral lies nestled in Geneva's Old Town. Its interiors set alight by chandeliers, this cathedral boasts ornate chapels like the Chapel of Maccabee adorned with Gothic frescoes, and side aisles bearing tomb stones of various luminaries of the church. In addition, its majestic capitals draw influences from the Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture, and are some of the largest in the whole of Switzerland. Not only is this cathedral a solemn dedication to Saint Pierre, but it is also a stirring emblem of Roman Protestantism. A steep climb through a labyrinthine spiral staircase leads to two imposing towers which serve as an outstanding vantage point over the shimmering blue Geneva Lake, charming brown-roofed buildings and the iconic Jet d'Eau. North of this grand structure lies the extensive International Museum of Reformation, which is a stirring insight into theology, and what life looked like after reformation.

Paris has the Eiffel Tower, New York the Statue of Liberty, and Geneva the Jet d'Eau. Resting at the convergence of Lake Geneva and the Rhone, Jet d'Eau is one of the most recognizable emblems of the city. The original fountain was installed in the late-19th Century not far from the current location, where the fountain's ambitious plumes soar as if to embrace the sky. Although built for practical purposes, this fountain has now come to command much appreciation for its ability to augment Geneva's cityscape, and to leave visitors gazing in awe at its sheer glory. With its gushing waters soaring to the height of 140 meters (459 feet) every second, Jet d'Eau has become an epitome of dynamism to the people of Geneva. An engineering feat par excellence, the fountain metamorphoses into a dazzling, luminescent wonder come night.

With a pleasant combination of art galleries, bistros, bric-a-brac and antique shops, the Old City area is popular with tourists and Geneva's younger crowd. You can easily mix shopping with a bit of sightseeing in the area. Art galleries show a surprising range of styles from ancient Chinese and Japanese pots, primitive to impressionism, and all the while in attractive, bright spaces. While the medley of tiny shops makes the Old City particularly appealing for impulse purchases, a large department store in this area provides a good selection of necessities. Less hectic than other parts of the city, it is the perfect place to browse at a leisurely pace and then enjoy a cheese fondue or other regional cuisine. Pause to view the splendid Hôtel de Ville and Maison Tavel along the way. Shoppers can also admire the beautiful architecture and charming ancient streets that beg to be explored.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson chose Geneva as the headquarters of the League of Nations, predecessor to the United Nations. Construction on the Palais des Nations, or Palace of Nations, began a decade later and continued until 1938. Peacefully nestled in heart of the picturesque Parc de l'Ariana, the Palais de Nations has been home to the United Nations Office at Geneva since 1946. As its name suggests, the Palace of Nations dedicates itself to aiding in global peace, security, human rights, disarmament, humanitarian aid, and economic and social development. It holds one of the most important international conference centers in the world, numbering over 7000 sessions per year. The chambers of this courtly ivory-white edifice are a place of iconic historic negotiations. Frequented by hundreds of thousands of delegates every year, the Palace of Nations is a striking torchbearer of diplomacy and world peace.

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