"Old Town" Geneva Off The Beaten Path Tip by Oris
Geneva Off The Beaten Path: 54 reviews and 61 photos
A gate at the back of the Parc des Bastions brings you up to a small junction and Rue St-Léger, which winds further up into the atmospheric Old Town, characterized by quiet, cobbled streets and tall, shuttered, grey-stone houses that give nothing away. Rue St-Léger curls up into the oddly split-level Place du Bourg-de-Four, a marketplace since medieval times that was probably built over the Roman forum, these days adorned with a fountain and lined with relaxed terrace cafés. From here, Rue Fontaine descends to the north to Temple de la Madeleine, a Gothic church that has clung on to its Romanesque tower, but if you head up the other way on Rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville, you’ll come to Place de la Taconnerie, dominated by the cathedral. Tucked on your right is the Auditoire de Calvin, a small thirteenth-century chapel built over a fifth-century predecessor. Following Geneva’s acceptance of the Reformation, refugees flooded into the city from all over Europe and, in the knowledge that most of them spoke no French, Calvin gave this chapel over for the refugees to worship in their own languages – Geneva’s first international building. John Knox preached here in the 1550s (there’s still a Church of Scotland service every Sunday at 11am, slotted between Dutch and Italian), and the austere building also doubled as Calvin’s lecture hall.
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