Once upon a time I found myself living in the city of Geneva. Being in a new city really motivated me to start a 365 photo project to improve my photography and explore my new home. Needless to say I went on many adventures during the project. Each day was spent leaving work with the either a new photo to shoot or a new place to explore. Over time I started finding interesting locations across the city. I want to share some of these locations with you as a challenge to see what you can capture in the same places. Here are my top 10 places to photograph:
- Jet d’Eau
- Parc de La Grange
- La Jonction
- Parc des Bastions
- Vielle Ville de Genève
- Promenade de l’Observatoire/ Musee D’Art Histoire de Genève
- Palace des Nations
The iconic Jet d’Eau is synonymous with Geneva, and it easy to see why. A powerful jet of water that blasts x meters in the sky, can practically be seen from most areas around the lake. With any famous landmark it has been overly photographed from practically every perspective with a plethora of cameras. There are two main locations to get a capture the Jet d’Eau, one is along the opposite bank of Lac Leman, somewhere near Perle du Lac.
The second location is to the right of the Jet d’Eau along Promenade du Lac. The first location should be photographed during night as you get the Jet with the city as the backdrop. The promenade location should be can be photographed around golden hour as the sun sets to the west of the city creating a wonderful glow that frames the Jet.
Finally a “secret” location to capture the Jet d’Eau is really based on luck. The city sometimes shuts the Jet off, and you can get right up behind the jet and photograph the city with geyser-less Jet as a foreground element.
Parc de la Grange
A short walk on the Jet d’Eau side of Lake Geneva you will find Parc de la Grange. It’s a nice large green space to walk around, take a nap under the sun or just enjoy a picnic. What’s worth seeing I think is the Rose Garden near the front of the park. Since it’s arrayed in a terrace format you can see rows of roses of different varieties beautifully arranged.
With a large diamond shaped square in the middle of the neighbourhood it is a good area to visit to shoot some street. On the weekends during the warmer months a food and flea market pops up along the Plaine de Plainpalais which lets you both peruse some interesting items while getting your snack on.
If you like some more action there is a skatepark located in the northern part of the square which you can photograph so talented kids.
Lastly, each year the KNIE circus arrives in the city and takes over the plaine giving you another option to capturing interesting characters.
This specific part of Geneva is unique in that it sits at the confluence of the rivers Arve and Rhône, one is fed from the Lake Geneva, while the second comes from a glacier. The result is a mixing of cloudy lake water and icy blue water.
As a bonus, before you get to La Jonction you will come across the Batiment de Force Mortrice, which makes for a wonderful image if you can get the right sunset.
Parc des Bastions
Easily my favourite park in the city for a variety of reasons, but mostly for the atmosphere. At the main entrance there are giant size chess and checkers, as you move in to the south west a University of Geneva building is nearby and can give you some interesting to photograph depending on the light.
For the me, the biggest selling point of the park in terms of photography is the Promenade des Bastions, which runs the length of the park and is lined on both side with beautiful trees.
If you have a longer lens you can get nice compression. Furthermore you can repeatedly come back during different seasons for a different look.
Promenade de la Treille
Although not within the park itself the Promenade de la Treille is near the park offering offering a wonderful view of the Saleve, not to mention more rows of trees to photograph with people underneath.
Vielle Ville de Genève
From the Promenade de la Treille you can immediately go north and head into the old city of Geneva for some exploration. Place du Bourg-de-Four is a good place to linger a little for people watching and street photography. As a bonus there is a delicious poultry restaurant nearby called Chez ma Cousine, that will help fill your appetite with all the exploring.
Promenade de l’Observatoire & Musée d’Art et d’Histoire
The Observatory park isn’t very big and doesn’t have much but at the correct angle you can get a great view of the Jet d’Eau through the buildings.
Facing the park is the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, which has an imposing facade that is a challenge to shoot but personally think has a great payoff if you get the right conditions – such as a projection mapping show.
Palais des Nations
Geneva being an extremely global city with a whole host of international organizations headquartered in the city such as the Red Cross, and International Labour Organization, it would be remiss to not include the Palace of Nations. In particular, I think the Allé des Nations at the main entrance with flags of the member countries. Although you can’t wander around freely there are times during each year where the United Nations opens up their doors for visitors, although not ideal for photography with the large crowds it gives you a chance to see the grounds of the UN.
Although the Salève is technically in France, it is definitely a fixture in the background of Geneva and many visitors and locals like to hike it. 1380m high, the hike up isn’t the easiest and there are number of trails, so I would recommend doing some research before going. If you don’t feel like hiking up to get the view of Geneva and the surrounding area, there is always a cable car. I personally hiked up, then took the cable car down as my legs were jelly. The view on a good day, or with good light is definitely worth going up and having a look around.
CERN, or in english the European Organization for Nuclear Research is located on the outskirts of the city but well worth the journey, especially if you are into science. I highly encourage you go on tour as you’ll get to see some out of this world things that makes you really appreciate how far we’ve come as humans. I was lucky enough to get a private tour by my friend (who worked as a theoretical physicist at CERN) so my experience may different greatly from yours. Nevertheless, you won’t regret visiting!
Geneva is an achingly beautiful city with many wonderful locations to photograph and explore. Although not a large city by any means there is so much history and culture that can be unpacked. Even though I spent a significant amount of time living there, I’ve barely scratched the surface. Let me know what your favourite places are in Geneva!
Go out and explore!