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15/05/2008Leisure in Geneva's parks and gardens
Geneva is sprawling with beautifully maintained parks to cater to the local and international community.
With a population of over 20,000 people, Geneva is sprawling with beautifully maintained parks to cater to the local and international community. Luscious parks and botanical gardens preserve Geneva’s history and embrace the future with their statues, restaurants, trails and playgrounds.
The English Garden is one of Geneva’s most visited and lively parks. It dates back to 1854 and adds to the city’s history. It is consistently enlarged and preserved, and skirts the left bank of the lake. Busts of painters, François Diday and Alexandre Calame as well as the sculptor, August de Niederhaüsern, (nicknamed Rodo) can be found here.
Bastions Park has a history of its own. It was Geneva’s first botanical garden. Founded in 1817, the promenade boasts several monuments, fountains and statues. As many as fifty rare varieties of trees can be admired by visitors. Its user-friendly atmosphere includes a life-sized chess and checker area.
Geneva’s Botanical Gardens sprawl a collection of 16,000 plant species from all over the world. The 28 hectares of land can be found on the edge of Geneva, and are an ideal setting for a leisurely stroll. Other sights in the area include an arboretum, a rock garden, medicinal plants, greenhouses, an animal park, an open-air cafeteria and a botanic shop.
The Ile Rousseau in Geneva is a peaceful and very green little islet between the left and right bank of the city. It is connected to the des Bergues Bridge and it overlooks the Mont-Blanc Bridge. There are a number of benches and an 18th century-style pavilion that is now a restaurant with a sunny terrace. The isle is named after Jean-Jacques Rousseau who was born in Geneva in 1712. In 1835 a statue was erected here in homage to the great philosopher.
Situated on the site of the former Horticultural School of French-speaking Switzerland, Geneva’s park des Frachises extends over 55,000 square metres. There is a beautiful rosary that was planted in 1948 and the wooden and wrought iron benches allow you to sit back, enjoy the roses and a pleasant moment of peace. There are several play areas for children, a large paddling pool with a fountain and a ramp for roller lading and skateboarding.
At 126 meters, la Treille in Geneva boasts the longest bench in the world. As well as a view over the Promenade des Bastions and the Place Neuve, towards Plainpalais and further west, one has a chance to admire the Saleve and Jura mountains from a distance. It is ideal for families, as a seesaw and other playground equipment mean that children will also appreciate a stop at this green and shaded promenade.
Swiss National Park, founded in 1914, was one of the first national parks in Europe. The park protects nature and the entire flora and fauna are left to their natural development. This part is not in Geneva. Instead, it is located in the Swiss canton of Graübunden, at a distance of 2.5 hours from Zurich by car. It is a pleasant hiking spot.
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