Walk in EAUX-VIVES : "Honey I shrunk Paris & NY.. (Geneva)
..and I made Geneva with it" </:-X
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This is a "short guide", area by area, for who wishes to know a little bit more about noticeable places for art/architecture in Geneva.
Please refer to the Guide for addresses, pictures, opening hours.... and if you wish some extra infos about places I haven't mentioned (since it is a selection... it can't be thorough), pm me ;)
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Here we go again for a new walk in central Geneva (who would have thought this town was crowded with places to see !!!) : the so-called "quartier des eaux vives", located on the humbly-called "Rive Gauche" (lol ! probably Genevan humour) and extending from Malagnou to the not-less-humbly called "Champs Elysées de Genève" (rofl rofl sure you don't figure out which street it can be) that everybody knows here as Rue du Rhône (OMG !!!!! that's pure nonsense).
After the tour we did in Plainpalais, I'm not sure you're that keen on going for a long walk again.
Well, that's a pity because....... I AM :).
So we'll start Downtown to arrive Uptown (after Paris... New York.. any better suggestion ? ;-0)
Shall we meet on Place du Molard ? it's not the best time of the day to see the very cool laying out of the place Protected content , but you probably have already seen those translucent cobblestones with various words on it, spread among the stone ones ?
Well, I'm proud to learn you we are standing right on an artwork, and nooody will come to prevent you from staying there. If you don't like art, enjoy .... Sure, you can jump on it and roll if you wish so ! Please do ! (just let me know first so that I can move far away).
The concept is by Christian Robert-Tissot, a swiss artist that uses to work on interactions between words and their environment. He cooperated with 2B architects' studio for this installation. The cobblestones are printed with words like "bienvenue", "Hello".. translated in the 6 official languages of the United Nations. Note it 's completely hitting the bull's-eye for this forum ! (big and innocent wink).
Let's now cross Rue du Rhône and reach the end of the Pont du Mont Blanc (surprisingly not renamed yet as "Brooklyn Bridge" or "Golden Gate Bridge"). Beware, it's quite dangerous to be a pedestrian in this area... run to the strange sculpture by Anton Pevsner (see the guide) that no one ever notices when driving - and seen the traffic at that place, this is perfectly understandable-.
The artist is not well known, but he was one the most famous Tatlin's followers, Tatlin being the leader of the Russian Constructivism movement. The sculpture is very rare : edition of 3, this one is number 0/3. The three other ones are in Chicago, La Haye, and Antwerp. The sculpture has been offered years ago by a very famous bank to the city of Geneva, and it seems the city has completely forgotten the importance of the artwork. :'-(. Do they only know they have it ?
If you're already hungry, we can quickly stop by the Jardin Anglais, take a picture in front of the Horloge Fleurie if you want (I've never understood that), and grab something at La Potinière right behind it. Nothing special about the restaurant excepted that the terrace is reaaaaallly cool for summer lunches B-). I just brought you here to look at the wallpainting "MIRACLE" at the center of the restaurant. This is an artwork (again) by Sylvie Fleury. That name doesn't ring you any bell ???? Arf.... well I suggest you to read "Riders of the Lost Art" again, in this case *sniffff/what's the point*.
Ok no, I understand, don't worry.
Now is the serious start of the walk, and serious entrance into the Eaux Vives, its pizzerias, bodegas and constant traffic jams.
As far as I remember it's the old italian district of the city (nooo don't make me say "little Italy" ! no way), but I may be wrong. I'm not a professional guide.
Our aim being to see art/architecture, we'll first stop by a young gallery that open its door(s) two years ago, just to say hello and see the place : the galerie Bertrand-Grüner (hi Seb ! ;)) was formerly a garage, and the two young guys kept the structure as it was. They did a great job, and moreover they represent some very interesting young artists.
Then we'll go straight through the whole area and reach Route de Frontenex and the Theatre Am Stram Gram. Plays not being my cup of tea, I'll let you judge by yourself. The indoor architecture and identity of the place was realized by Roger Pfund, probably one of the most famous swiss graphic designers with Frutiger.
We, Frenchies, know him well... Yes, we do ! don't remember our notes with the Little Prince by Saint Exupery on it ? that was him. Not the Little Prince, of course. The designer. For those who are interested, he is based in Carouge and has his own website (google is your friend ;-)).
Back in town, we'll cross Avenue Pictet de Rochemont and its beautiful Art Nouveau/Deco/Heimatstil buildings, then we'll reach the tramway lines. But we're not going to take it because we need to go through those funky-coloured narrow streets : ruelle du midi, ruelle des templiers.... you can still grab a kind of medieval spirit around here.
But we're not gonna stay anylonger; we're here for one of the most amazing hidden treasures of Geneva : the building La Clarté, by Le Corbusier.
This building, badly weathered now, used to be the cornerstone of modern Architecture in Geneva. To say, it was proposed with 3 other buildings by the well-known swiss architect to be part of UNESCO World Heritage. (Lavaux vineyards is the only area being part of it for Suisse romande.. since Protected content . The building has a special structure : it is a load-bearing central structure that allows free layout of the apartments inside, as well as huge glass windows on fronts. It was built in Protected content Le Corbusier and his cousin, and it kinds of follows this paternalist wave that started with Art Nouveau although built 20 years later (see Guell and Gaudi in Barcelona for example).
It was ordered by manufacturer Edmond Wanner for a trial (let's say that), and has recently been under the spotlights because of falling into decay. As nobody could afford paying proper restorations, it's been a few years fight before Geneva decided to partly bear the costs of the restoration, as the owners couldn't entirely afford it. If you have the opportunity to go inside.. please pm me !!! please please please ! I've only seen it on pictures :-/
To follow, climb up half the town and arrive on Route de Malagnou. The street is not the best place to walk, but we took the shortest path. And since we walked near the lake the whole visit, hey, come on, it can be a little bit painful ! you're a real softie, are you ?
The first interesting building we cross is .. no no don't even think about "Chez Kei" Restaurant on the other side of the street, stay on our side : you see that house surrounded by trees ? this is villa Bryn Bella. It used to host the Musée de l'Horlogerie et de l'Emaillerie. That museum was completely (or close to it) burgled in Protected content , and the burglars are still running - and I guess the police is also still running after the burglars and the loot-. That's strange to think that Geneva has no public Watch Museum when you figure out that every trade mark claims to be from here, isn't it ?
The Museum should be reopened since Protected content they decided to postpone the decision-time for reopening in summer Protected content . One more place here that remains temporarely closed on a permanent basis......
Then... close to it... Tadaaaaaaah : the wonderful Museum d'Histoire Naturelle.
What, it isn't really art ? No, I confess, but after all this walk you're not gonna go back right now, are you ? Plus if you have a look at the front of the museum, you can see there is a bronze relief above the entrance. All I can tell is that it is a sculpture by swiss artist Paul Bianchi, untitled.. "Untitled". That's interesting, because I've always tend to see a soldier aiming at something with a rifle - but I don't entirely see the link with the museum-. What about you ?
The museum itself is worth a visit. But I let you go inside and have a look at windows containing stones, plants, stuffed animals... that scares me too much ! - yeah, I'm a real coward, I know :)-
but truly, the museum is famous for his exhibitions. Kids love it and adults usually do too.
Oh by the way, before I leave, if you enjoyed the visit -and If I haven't been too sarcastic ;)- which area do would you like to discover next ?