Ville de Genève


Cultural Trails: from Museum to Museum
Sentiers culturels - Ville de Genève
© Trivialmass
Mise à jour: 15.12.2016

Cultural Trails: from Museum to Museum

Geneva can pride itself on the quantity and quality of the museums within the city. These pages propose walks from one museum to another by district, visiting numerous attractions along the way: monuments, public works of art and historical anecdotes. So, follow one of these heritage trails and discover cultural Geneva from a new angle!

We do not always know it, but one museum can hide another! The canton has an abundance of diverse and varied museums covering all areas of expertise and knowledge. To follow one of the Heritage Trails devised by the City of Geneva is also to immerse yourself in the history of the growth of a district, to discover the famous people who have left their mark on these places, as well as to take a stroll or a bike ride in the fresh air, since the Heritage Trails promote soft mobility.

Interpretive Tools

User-friendly interpretive tools, in French and English, allow people to enhance their knowledge and to organise their walk:

  • An illustrated map, with a wealth of precise and original insights into Geneva’s cultural and historical heritage, as well as practical information to make the walk pleasurable (restaurants, WC, Wi-Fi hotspots, car parks, public transport). The proposed itinerary is timed and can be followed on foot or on bicycle. It is available in the museums described along the route, at the Geneva tourist office, at the Information Centre on the Pont de la Machine and at the Maison des arts du Grütli.
  • An audio guide that describes each museum along the walk in a user-friendly manner, with the added bonus of an interview with a representative from each institution that takes listeners to the heart of the collections. Available for downloading or listening at:
  • Web pages that allow users to download the map and access the audio guide, as well as to relive the past through photos of the period, moving reminders that complement the descriptions of the routes:
  • A mobile application and signposts will supplement these interpretive tools in October 2013.

Guided Tours

Several times a year, you can follow guided tours of the Cultural Trails in the company of professional guides. Details of forthcoming tours are available on our events page.

The Trail in Times Past

In cooperation with the Geneva Centre for Iconography, all the trails have been retraced through photographs of the period. Relive earlier days through these moving reminders that supplement the descriptions of the routes.

Trail 1, Nations:

© R. Gindroz

Conservatory and Botanical Gardens – Museum of Swiss People in the World – International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum – Ariana Museum – The League of Nations Museum – History of Science Museum

Through parks and gardens, walkers can immerse themselves in the splendour of a district that still evokes the grandeur of times past. Impressive mansions, century-old trees and evidence of the growth of International Geneva line the trail, while in the background resonate the voices of the great patrons who constructed the monuments described on the tour and those of famous people, like the Empress Josephine or Casanova, whose presence left their mark.

Trail 2, Tranchées:

© R. Gindroz

Museum of Art and History – Cabinet d’arts graphiques (prints and drawings) – Baur Foundation, the Museum of Far Eastern Art – Natural History Museum

It was thanks to James Fazy, the father of modern Geneva, that the city threw off the straitjacket of its walls in the mid-19th century. Out of the new districts that were to form the Fazyist belt, the Tranchées district was the most residential and most distinguished. In this sector, the Cultural Trail from museum to museum therefore passes through an area remarkable for its late 19th and early 20th century buildings. This luxurious district not only drew many famous people to live there but also performed a cultural mission by incorporating several important museums within a small radius: the Museum of Art and History, the Gallery of Graphic Art, the Baur Foundation, the Natural History Museum, as well as the Petit Palais and the Museum of Watchmaking, both now closed.

Trail 3, Plainpalais:

Sentier culturel 3 - Plainpalais - Ville de Genève
© B. Glauser

Geneva Library - Rath Museum - Museum of the Fire and Rescue Service - The BAC (MAMCO; CAC; CPEG; FMAC) - Patek Philippe Museum - MEG-Museum of Ethnography Geneva

An outlying district used for military purposes and subsequently for market gardening and industry and an independent commune from 1800 to 1930, Plainpalais is now a dynamic and bustling working-class district with a high concentration of museums, cultural sites, university institutions and bars and restaurants of all kinds. This Cultural Trail takes you on a walk through the history of a district of modern Geneva, which has played, and still plays today, a key role in the development of the cultural and intellectual life of the city, through visits to the Rath Museum and to the MEG (Museum of Ethnography Geneva), by strolling among the prestigious tombs of the Cemetery of Kings or the markets stalls around the Plaine de Plainpalais and, finally, by discovering contemporary artworks exhibited at MAMCO or in the public space.


Direction et secrétariat du département de la culture et du sport

Route de Malagnou 19
1208 Genève

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