16 – 17 May 2015
This Saturday evening Geneva opens 29 museums, together offering 160 activities, workshops, screenings, visits and tasty nibbles. Starting on the evening of 16 May 2015, the event runs until the early morning of the 17th and then continues through Sunday.
The theme this year “La Nuit des Exquis Musées“ evokes a menu full of fine cultural delicacies to be selected and enjoyed, and in many cases eaten. There will be something to suit everyone’s taste.
Activities include dancing, solving crimes, navigating parks by torchlight, chocolate planet construction, discovering Geneva’s history, story reading and insect eating to mention a few.
To help you move around between all of this culture the TGP, Geneva’s public transport service, will put on a special service shuttling people around at 20-minute intervals starting at 5pm and running until 1am.
With 29 museums and 160 activities you will need to choose. Or come back the next day for more! Sunday 17 May 2015 is the official International Museum Day and most activities from the night before will be repeated. Here are a few highlights that might help you to decide which activities to choose:
1. International reformation museum
Here you can learn about John Calvin’s enormous impact on Geneva, which would now be a small insignificant town had the world-famous reformist, not made Geneva his home. Not only will you see dancing but you will learn why Calvin banned it and get a chance to join in.
2. Museum of art and history
At the Museum of Art and History, the performance Piano Cocktail will be unveiled.
3. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum focuses on the domestication of animals and chewing while inviting you to create your own chocolate exoplanets – planets outside our solar system. You will also be star guided through the night sky by the Divonne astronomical club from 9:30pm until 11:30pm.
4. Musée d’ethnography de Genève
Geneva’s Museum of Ethnography – the study of people and cultures, contemplates culture through insect tasting.
5. La Maison de Rousseau et de la Littérature
This museum, which takes its name from the famous Genevan philosopher, writer, composer and social thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau, has chosen the theme of cannibalism and offers a reading of the Ogre of the Salève while posing the question: why are corpses exquisite?
6. Musée Ariana
The Ariana Museum will transport you to the Orient with the aid of spices and porcelain and take you on a treasure hunt by candle light.
7. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques
Museum Night is also an opportunity to stroll round the Botanical Gardens hunting for magic medicinal plants by torchlight.
8. Geneva University
Geneva University, invites visitors to eat with Roman legionaries and looks at extreme diets in the Ancient World while allowing you to taste them.
New flourishes this year include, the Voltaire Museum, Les Berges de Vessy – a museum converted from an SIG pump house, the Muzoo Theatre du Loup’s museum and an urban whodunit in the museums – it’s 1895, Sherlock Holmes has been mysteriously imprisoned in Geneva and you only have a few hours to prove his innocence.
The museums open either at 5pm or 6pm. The botanical gardens open a little later at 7:30pm. Closing times vary from 11:00pm until the small hours of Sunday. The evening winds up at the Brasserie des Halles de l’Ile, which is the last to close at 2am.
Now you are probably thinking this will be ruinously expensive – all of these museums and activities in expensive Geneva. Well you’d be wrong. A CHF 10 pass known as an Exquisite Pass (Pass Exquis) gives you access to everything on Saturday evening, free if you are 18 years old or under. And on Sunday entrance is free for everyone.
So there really is nothing stopping you savouring as many of Geneva’s cultural delights as a single weekend will allow.
More information is available here (in English) – this guide also shows where dining can be found along the way.