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

#7 in Best Things To Do in Geneva

St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva picture in Geneva
Grzegorz_Pakula / Getty Images

Key Info

Details

  • Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.0
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    3.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

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This cathedral -- often described as a mash-up of Roman, Gothic and Neoclassic stylistic elements -- has survived centuries of turmoil. It's 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 Old Town Geneva, beckoning visitors to come explore its intricate (and conflicting) design and learn about its turbulent history.
The interior of the cathedral is lined with 4th century mosaics, 12th century columns and 15th century frescoes, making it a feast for any art-lover's eye. Make sure to keep a lookout for Calvin's chair, plus no visit is complete without checking out the Chapelle des Macchabées (Chapel of the Maccabees), which is filled to the brim with lavish 18th century decorations. For a few francs, you can climb the north tower for spectacular views of the city or head underground for a tour of the archaeological dig site.
St-Pierre Cathedral is open to visitors every day of the week, although hours vary depending on the season (if you're lucky, you may stumble in during one of the many concerts held here). Entry to the cathedral is free, but expect to pay about $4 USD (CHF 4) if you plan on climbing the tower.

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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#1 Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) 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 ... Read more » GlobalVision Communication / GlobalFlyCam / Getty Images

#2 Mont Saleve No matter how physically fit you are, odds are you'll enjoy checking out Mont Salève. Situated about 12 miles southeast of Geneva across the Franco-Swiss border, this mountain offers ... Read more » Victor / Flickr

#3 Jet d'Eau No visit to Geneva would be complete without seeing one of its most iconic sights: the Jet d'Eau. Built in 1886 to help control a nearby hydraulic plant's ... Read more » bluejayphoto / Getty Images

#4 The Grange Park (Parc La Grange) Overlooking Lake Geneva by the Jet d'Eau, this park features a nearly 130,000-square-foot manicured garden filled with pools, pergolas and 200-plus kinds of roses. Additionally, an 18th-century villa ... Read more » Rich Jacques / Flickr

Courtesy of Bains des Pâquis

#6 Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva (Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques Geneve) Nestled alongside Geneva's northern border between the Palace of Nations and Lake Geneva, the Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva offers a serene setting for relaxing. This living museum features ... Read more » stevegeer / Getty Images

#7 St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva (Cathedrale St-Pierre Geneve) 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 ... Read more » Grzegorz_Pakula / Getty Images

#8 Museum of Natural History (Museum d'histoire naturelle) If you're traveling with one or more budding naturalists, then a visit to Geneva's Museum of Natural History is a must. Situated in the southeastern part of the ... Read more » adrigu / Flickr

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Lake Geneva picture in Geneva
Mont Salève picture in Geneva
Jet d'Eau picture in Geneva
The Grange Park picture in Geneva
Pâquis Baths picture in Geneva
Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva picture in Geneva
St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva picture in Geneva
Museum of Natural History picture in Geneva
Palace of Nations picture in Geneva
Patek Philippe Museum picture in Geneva
Lake Geneva picture in Geneva
Mont Salève picture in Geneva
Jet d'Eau picture in Geneva
The Grange Park picture in Geneva
Pâquis Baths picture in Geneva
Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva picture in Geneva
St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva picture in Geneva
Museum of Natural History picture in Geneva
Palace of Nations picture in Geneva
Patek Philippe Museum picture in Geneva

It's hard to miss Lake Geneva, Switzerland's largest body of water. GlobalVision Communication / GlobalFlyCam / Getty Images

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One of the city's most popular spots to sunbathe during the warmer months is the Pâquis Baths, which overlooks Lake Geneva. Courtesy of Bains des Pâquis

For picturesque views of Lake Geneva and serene gardens, wander around the Conservatory and Botanical Garden Geneva. stevegeer / Getty Images

Architecture buffs and religious travelers will love checking out St-Pierre Cathedral Geneva in the city's historic center. Grzegorz_Pakula / Getty Images

Taxidermy critters like bats, tigers and weasels can be seen at Geneva's Museum of Natural History. adrigu / Flickr

As you approach the Palace of Nations, you'll notice the 193 flags, which represent each of the U.N.'s members, situated outside the main structure. United States Mission Geneva / Flickr

Though the Patek Philippe Museum is named for its impressive collection of Patek Philippe watches, you'll also find an array of antique pocket watches on display. DutchScenery / Getty Images

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