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Anecdotes about the Pâquis Sécheron district

Did you know? An empress died on the quays, Casanova won over two women of Geneva at Mon Repos, a hundred-year-old artist painted the UN fresco …

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Assassination of the Empress Sissi

On 10 September 1898, Elisabeth of Wittelsbach, better known by her pseudonym Sissi, was assassinated on the Quai du Mont-Blanc. And so the district of Pâquis went down in the annals of history.

The assassin was an Italian anarchist called Luccheni. He wanted to kill the Count of Paris, who had postponed his journey to Geneva. He therefore decided to stab the Empress Sissi as she left the Hôtel Beau-Rivage. The unfortunate victim thought she was merely injured and climbed aboard the boat the Genève. She was soon forced to return to land where she died. The boat no longer operates and is still moored at the quay in les Eaux-Vives. A statue in homage to Sissi stands at the site where the drama unfolded.

The hundred-year-old author of the UN fresco

When the fresco decorating the entrance to the UN was unveiled in 2009, the author, Hans Herni, was over a hundred years old. To celebrate the event, 56 other hundred-year-olds living in Geneva were invited to hear the artist explain his work: “I tried to make this fresco as transparent as possible in order to give the illusion of penetrating the walls of the UN, this magnificent organisation that strives for peace!”.

Le Palais Mascotte, the “Pigalle of Geneva”

At the heart of Genevan nightlife since 1887, the Palais Mascotte is one of the oldest cabarets in Geneva. This popular nightclub in the Rue de Monthoux hosted the majority of foreign artists passing through until it closed at the end of the 1990s. Its atmosphere and decor inspired several people, including Enzo Corman who devoted his play Palais Mascotte to the establishment In 1999, a motion was even submitted to the Grand Council to have it classified as a “historic monument”. After a prolonged closure, it reopened its doors in May 2008.

The antics of Casanova on the shores of Lake Geneva

The property of Mon-Repos, bequeathed to the city in 1898, was the first public park on the shores of Lake Geneva. In the past, this elegant villa has welcomed numerous famous guests, including the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, author of the Little Mermaid, and Casanova, the famous Italian who boasted some 122 conquests. In his “Histoire de ma vie” (Story of My Life), he tells of a fine dinner with two women of Geneva in the villa, lent to him by his banker, Robert Tronchin.

Having housed an ethnographic museum and the first French-speaking TV studio, the villa is now the headquarters of the Institute Henry-Dunant.

Sources:

  • Roland Hippenmeyer, Les Pâquis: souvenirs et anecdotes, Yens sur Morges, 1994.
  • Christian Vellas, Genève secrète et insolite, Tours : Jonglez, 2010
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Article modifié le 02.03.2020 à 13:18