Geneva: 5 things you need to know before visiting Vieux Carouge
Located just a few minutes from the city centre, the Vieux Carouge district on the outskirts of Geneva is a favourite haunt for tourists and locals alike. All year round, people come to stroll through its colourful Bohemian streets in search of a restaurant, an antique, an architectural jewel or simply a break from the hectic pace of city life.
Here are five things you absolutely must know before you head over there!
Vieux Carouge: a district full of artisans
While it’s been in the Canton of Geneva since 1816, the town of Carouge dates back far longer than that. In 1790, it was already home to 450 artisans of all types! Around thirty trades were established here, from blacksmiths to coopers and sculptors. And although the centuries have passed, the traditions remain. The smithies and wash houses of yesteryear have made way for more contemporary specialities, but Vieux Carouge still abounds with boutiques and workshops, where designers, restorers of ancient books, jewellers, watchmakers, cabinet-makers and glass-blowers continue to ply their trades every day in a district that’s lost none of its artisanal atmosphere.
An abundance of artworks
There’s nothing inauthentic about Vieux Carouge’s architecture. These 18th century houses and façades – most of which have been renovated – all testify to a pronounced interest in the fine arts. In fact, the entire district is a tribute to art in general: its squares are graced with fountains and statues, its gardens abound with little alcoves and balconies and its buildings house art centres and galleries. It’s an art lover’s delight.
Cafés, restaurants, markets: a haven for food lovers
Just a ten-minute bike ride from the city centre, Vieux Carouge can be reached by crossing the Arve, a tributary of the Rhône. In summer, locals and tourists alike flock to the district to bask on its sunny terraces. And besides the many cafés and restaurants, the markets abound with typical regional produce and specialities.
A shopper’s paradise
With its artisans, boutiques and markets, Vieux Carouge is also a paradise for shoppers. This is where the locals come to buy unusual objects for the home, vintage clothes, gifts and antiques. Hardly surprising, therefore, that the district is now known as the ‘Greenwich Village of Geneva’!
Home to some of Switzerland’s finest bells
The church (and concert hall) of Sainte-Croix dominates the centre of Vieux Carouge and houses some of the finest bells in the country: a monumental collection of 36 bells, which you can view by climbing the stairs to the top of the belfry. On some of the guided tours, you can even meet the bellringer himself!
As you can see, a stroll in Vieux Carouge – with its architecture, artisans, restaurants and unspoilt atmosphere – is an unmissable part of any trip to Geneva!