Tuesday, July 6, 2010

La Vielle Ville - Old Town, Geneva

Entrance to medieval building, currently functions as the town hall. Notice ramparts - accessible for horses.

Medieval building, Town Hall.

House of Jean-Jaques Rousseau, famous 18th century philosopher who influenced the French Revolution and the development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.

"Never exceed your rights, and they will soon become unlimited" - Rousseau

Some interesting facts:

In his early writing, Rousseau contended that man is essentially good, a "noble savage" when in the "state of nature", and that good people are made unhappy and corrupted by their experiences in society. He viewed society as "artificial" and "corrupt" and that the furthering of society results in the continuing unhappiness of man.

Rousseau's ideas about education have profoundly influenced modern educational theory. He minimizes the importance of book learning, and recommends that a child's emotions should be educated before his reason. He placed a special emphasis on learning by experience.

Door to a secret passage way - Old Town Geneva is full of them.

Last day of my visit, so we decided to jouney into Geneva's old town for a few hours before my 1:00pm flight back to Biarritz.

The old town is characterized by mazes of quiet cobbled streets and tall shuttered grey stone houses that give nothing away. Roman ruins are scattered throughout the city, including in the parkade where we parked the car! A stop in Saint Peter's cathedral is a must, the site itself has been occupied since the 4th century which you can see for yourself by touring the archaeological site underneath.

My favourite part was exploring all the incredible antique shops. I'm talking real antiques and curiosities! All the shops seemed to specialize in either a particular region or style, for example, there was a shop dedicated to antiques and artifacts of Egypt, Asian, France, Art Nouveau, etc. All absolutely fabulous and amazing and very expensive!