St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva (Cathédrale St-Pierre Genève)

#7 in Best Things To Do in Geneva
St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva (Cathédrale St-Pierre Genève) picture
Grzegorz_Pakula/Getty Images

Key Info

Place du Bourg-de-Four 24

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

This cathedral – often described as a mash-up of Roman, Gothic and neoclassic stylistic elements – has survived centuries of turmoil. Its most notable chapter occurred in the mid-16th century when it was used by John Calvin as a vessel for the Protestant Reformation. Today, the St-Pierre Cathedral continues to dominate the Old Town skyline, beckoning visitors to come explore its intricate (and conflicting) design and learn about its turbulent history.

The interior of the cathedral is lined with fourth-century mosaics, 12th-century columns and 15th-century frescoes, making it a feast for any art-lover's eye. Make sure to see Calvin's chair and the Chapel of the Maccabees, which is filled to the brim with lavish 18th-century decorations. Recent visitors recommend paying 5 Swiss francs ($5) or buying a Geneva Pass (which includes entry) so you can climb the church's towers. Admission to other parts of the property is free.

St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva welcomes visitors every day, though hours vary by season and day. The church is generally open 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Besides restrooms, there are no facilities available here. Street parking in Old Town (where the property is located) is limited, but you can take one of several buses or the No. 12, 14 or 18 tram to one of three stops – Place de Neuve, Molard and Rive – within walking distance. Check out the church's website to find out more.

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Lake Geneva (Lac Léman)1 of 9
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#1 Lake Geneva (Lac Léman)

Straddling the Franco-Swiss border is Lake Geneva, a 224-square-mile lake formed by the Rhône River. It has been a popular vacation spot for years, drawing such memorable names as Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin and Sophia Loren. In fact, many of Lake Geneva's visitors (including Hepburn and Chaplin) were so smitten with the area that they became permanent residents.

If you're looking to spend some time away from the city, there are plenty of attractions located along the lake's shores. Explore the vineyards and wineries in Lausanne on the lake's northern shore, or head to Montreux for belle epoque architecture. Back in Geneva (at the lake's southernmost shore), you can go swimming at the Pâquis Baths and watch the Jet d'Eau.

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