The Grottes area’s most recent history is essentially a long battle between the people and planned refurbishment works. Squatters, voters and neighbourhood community associations have successively fought for the area not to be torn down. At one point in time, the City of Geneva even intended to build an American-style downtown with skyscrapers and large avenues. Fortunately enough, the people managed preserve this area more or less the same.
Today, the bohemian Quartier des Grottes has gentrified, attracting successful young professionals though rents are still reasonable considering how central it is. The French term “bobo”, for bourgeois-bohemian, seems perfectly adapted to this place. Les Grottes represents 10% of the entire city’s inhabitants.
The Schtrumpfs Buildings
Probably the most unconvential tourists attraction in Grottes, the Strumpfs buildings, are complex of variegated and twisted buildings built in a daring modern style, remaining of those in the Schtrumps comic strip. As the buildings has not much to offer, except for their funky facade, check them out only if You are around.
Things to do in Grottes
The area swarms with second hand shops, theatres, cinemas, weekly workshops and dancing classes. A brochure published by the City of Geneva references all relevant culture and leisure information along with a detailed account of the area’s history.
The Grottes’s nightlife is also quite vibrant, with parisian style cafes like the Café Gavroche, Café Gervaise or Café des Arts et Métiers, but also gay friendly places like the Nathan Café.
Also, the AMR Jazz Festival is held annually at the end of June in the Parc des Cropettes.
Map of Grottes:
Les Grottes, 1201 Genève, Switzerland
Grottes postal code: 1201
In and around Grottes:
- Gare Cornavin - Main train station
- Hotel Cornavin
- Velostation - free bicycle rental for 4 hours