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Discover the district of Grottes Saint-Gervais

Photo du quartier des Grottes.

A historical district which is nevertheless at the cutting edge of innovation, Grottes Saint-Gervais is a dynamic and unique part of the city.

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Grottes Saint-Gervais is one of the eight major districts of the City of Geneva. Bordered by the Rhone to the south, it stands on the northern shore of the lake between Saint-Jean Charmilles and Pâquis Sécheron. From the lake shore, it leads up to the district of Servette Petit-Saconnex and comprises the following sectors: 

  • Grottes;
  • Saint-Gervais;
  • Chantepoulet;
  • Cornavin;
  • Délices;
  • Cropettes;
  • Seujet;
  • Les Bergues.

Les Grottes, between conviviality and experimentation

The heart of les Grottes is a vibrant, dynamic district and a place of experimentation. Formerly populated by craftsmen, the district is now more the home of artists and has become one of the centres of Geneva’s alternative scene.

Inhabitants committed to their district

Long threatened with demolition, the sector of les Grottes owes its survival and renewal to its inhabitants. Renovated in consultation with the inhabitants, it remains down-to-earth and convivial. It is the first district of Geneva to have been the subject of a district contract, a sort of acknowledgement of trust between the City, the inhabitants and the district’s other local stakeholders.

The feel of a village in the city centre

Buildings that look a little outdated and original constructions are what give this district, steeped in history, its charm. The narrow lanes, teaming with little shops, give it the feel of a village, despite its proximity to the station and the busy Rue de la Servette.

Saint-Gervais, a sector of contrasts

Saint-Gervais is a working-class district steeped in history. Together with the adjacent district of la Cité, it forms the old town of Geneva which was surrounded by the same ramparts until the 1850s.

Following the demolition of the fortifications in the mid-19th century, the district was completely transformed. The only remains of its medieval past are the temple of Saint-Gervais and the buildings bounded by the Rue des Etuves, Rue de Coutance, Rue Rousseau and Rue De-Grenus. Little by little, the former town is becoming one with the neighbouring districts created in the 19th century.

Today, it is a lively, densely populated district with bistros, the Théâtre de Saint-Gervais and the Centre pour l’image contemporaine. Converted into a restaurant and cultural site in 2009, the Halles de l’Île are also located in this sector.

Close to the Rhone, the sector of les Bergues with its luxury hotels is in total contrast with the working-class history of the original town and the down-to-earth image of the other sectors in the district.

A bustling hub around the station

Cornavin railway station is located at the geographic centre of the district. The pedestrian shopping and tourist zone of Mont-Blanc running towards the station is bordered by Rue du Mont-Blanc and Rue des Alpes.

A lush environment

In the northern reaches of the district, greenery is everywhere. The area is the starting point of the 'pénétrante de verdure', formed by a series of large parks linking the station to le Grand-Saconnex. The Parc des Cropettes, on the border of the Pâquis Sécheron district, is a firm favourite with inhabitants who meet there to play petanque, enjoy a picnic or take in the AMR music festival. Opposite Rue Baulacre, the Parc Beaulieu takes over, surrounded by groups of buildings. It offers local inhabitants the chance to do some gardening in welcoming urban allotments.

History and development

Consult the History and development of Grottes Saint-Gervais section to discover how this former working-class district, destined for demolition, owes its survival to the dedication of its inhabitants. 

Local anecdotes

Did you know? A hilly area home to watchmaking and politics, Grottes Saint-Gervais is a multi-faceted district. Discover its the secrets through its anecdotes

Sights in the district

To find out more about certain emblematic or unusual places in Grottes Saint-Gervais, discover the sights in the district!

Information about Grottes Saint-Gervais

The building sites currently in progress in your district

See the list of building sites lasting more than one month implemented by the City of Geneva in the Grottes Saint-Gervais district.

The la Servette information centre

The attentive staff of the La Servette information centre, located on the right bank of the river, provide social health, education and cultural information about Geneva while facilitating access to municipal, cantonal and associative services.

The brochure presenting the district of Grottes Saint-Gervais

The 'Near you' district brochure, available for download at the bottom of the page or from the info-service centres, helps inhabitants familiarise themselves with the services available in their district provided by the public authorities or the network of associations.

Grottes Saint-Gervais in pictures

Rediscover the district of Grottes Saint-Gervais in pictures through the lens of the Geneva-based professional photographer Julien Gregorio. He has combed the streets of this district, taking a singular, personal and artistic photographic look. 

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Article modifié le 25.09.2020 à 17:05