Palais Des Nations, Geneva: How To Reach, Best Time & Tips
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About Palais Des Nations

Also known as the Palace of Nations, Palais des Nations Geneva is the current home of the United Nations Office. Coated with grey heat resistant titanium, the modern architecture is set against the mesmerising backdrop of snow capped mountains.

The building is standing in the middle of a 46 hectares of untarnished land which has been turned into a well manicured garden. You will find the garden peppered with some century old trees being flocked by vibrant and colourful peacocks.

Hosting around 1 lakh tourists every year, the second largest United Nations Office is an architectural masterpiece. One can witness various different rooms inside the building complex which includes the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilization Room which is elegantly decorated by the famous artist Miquel Barcelò.

You will also visit the Salle des Pas Perdus which will present you with the views of the rustic Celestial Sphere. Also, you will get the chance to witness the largest room in the Palais des Nations which is it Assembly Hall. Decorated with murals by José Maria Sert, the Council Chamber is also a major attraction of the building where numerous vital negotiations have been conducted.

Besides this you will also go through the artefacts and the gifts presented to the United Nations Office at Geneva by various other countries without which your visit to the office remains incomplete.

How to Reach Palais Des Nations

Are you a first-time traveller? Do not know how to reach Palais des Nations from Geneva Airport? Well, relax! It is not much of a hassle to reach there. You may take a bus, taxi or car, train or even walk to reach there. But buses are a more convenient option as it will take just 16 minutes to reach your destination. If you have less time on your side, then you can avail of a taxi or car.

Best Time to Visit Palais Des Nations

You may wonder, what is the perfect time to visit Palais des Nations? Well, the answer is simple! You can visit any time of the year based on your plan and choice. Ideally, summers from June to August will be more suitable to visit as you know Switzerland gets real cold during winters between January and February. 

September and October are the rainiest months, so simply avoid travelling then. During summers and autumn, the temperature is perfect for visiting. But again, if you are fond of snow, then you may choose winters for a visit. Other than that, there is no definite timeline or period to visit it.

What Not to Miss at Palais Des Nations

The entire complex is full of exquisite works. You will feel mesmerized to see these beautiful structures. Let's get acquainted with a few of them below:

1. The Celestial Sphere
It is a spherical frame gifted by Woodrow Wilson Foundation, USA, in 1939. You will find constellations and stars around it. The sphere has a motor to move it around an axis, but it no longer functions now.

2. The Conquest of Space
This structure was a gift of the then Soviet Union in 1971. It is a symbol of man's conquest in space. It is 28 m high and made of a select type of Ukranian stone. It is also covered by a layer of titanium, which you will find in manufacturing a spacecraft. You will also find a bronze statue wearing a spacesuit beside the structure.

3. The Great Centaur
This statue is a creation of Ernst Neizvestny and was gifted by Russia in 1997. It is 4.7 m high and made of bronze. The figure signifies mankind's spiritual and physical endeavors in the cycle of destruction, death, and resurrection.

4. Family
This statue is one of the three creations by Edwina Sandy. Anthony and Penny Oppenheimer donated this masterpiece in 1979. You will find that it comprises a father and mother with a gap between them, which resembles a child. The statue is 4.6 m high and made of bronze.

5. The Spreading of the Seeds and the Gathering of Ashes
It is the creation of Esther Shalev-Gerz and Jochen Gerz in 1995. It is donated by Germany before the 55th anniversary of United Nations

6. Tower of Loneliness
It is the work of Pir Kirkeby of Denmark. It is a gift to the United Nations in the year 1995 from Denmark. You will find this structure in Ariana Park.

7. Memorial
This structure is a gift by civil servants who have lost their lives in their service to maintain peace. It was gifted in the year 2003.

8. Sarcophagus
It is the burial of Gustave Revilliod, the man who passed on the Arian Park to the city of Geneva.

Ariana Park at Palais des Nations


As you already know, Ariana park, with its vast 46 hectares, houses the Palais des Nations. The park is thus one of the largest and also one of the most beautiful parks in Geneva. You can easily view the Alps and the Geneva Lake from the park.

The park was owned by the Revilliod family, which was passed on to the city by Gustave Revilliod after he passed away.

1. Lots of Peacocks
When you visit the Palais, peacocks are quite common. Once, inside the premises of Palais, you will find them roaming freely. A zoo in Japan donated a peafowl to the UNOG in 1997,the rest of the birds are gifted by India.India gifted the rest.This is the reason why you can see so many birds today. 

2. The Villas
You will figure out three villas on the grounds of the complex. They are nineteenth-century villas and were private residences. Their names are La Fenêtre, Le Bocage, and La Pelouse. 

3. Label “Parc Naturel"
Fondation Nature & Economie, a Swiss NGO awarded Nature Reserve Certificate to UNOG on 9th June 2009. This certificate awarded to those who contribute to protecting nature helps in its conservation and ensure biological diversity by managing at least 30 percent natural greenery around buildings.

The award also demands few other initiatives like not using pesticides and the use of sheep instead of lawn mowers. All these criteria are ticked, due to the efforts efficiently taken by UNOG. The park around the Palais has nature everywhere. It does not seem like a typical man-made park.

4. Its maintenance
The park is so natural that it will not look like any typical man-made parks. A large number of trees, sheep, and peacocks have made this park rich in biodiversity. It is absolute heaven for tourists! Ariana park has thus set itself a benchmark for such parks and encourages a greener planet.

Art collections at Palais des Nations


The Palais des Nations houses a variety of artworks that brings life to the rich cultural heritage of different nations. There is a stock of more than 2000 works and dates back to times of the League of Nations. The artworks are created in such a way that they carry the message of peace, human rights, and environmental issues.

The same values form the identity of the United Nations. Besides that, the works show the artistic endeavours from all over the globe. So, are you eager to know them? Let's guide you through:

1. Europe
Well, this masterpiece was donated by Italy in 2001 and was created by Margherita Agnelli de Pahlen.

2. Cloisonné vase
This beautiful vase is set on a rosewood stand and is a representation of China's vibrant culture and art. This masterpiece was donated by the country in 2017 during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

3. The Bouzkachi's riders
This is a beautiful painting by Bernard Ponty is one of those masterpieces among many. It was donated by Afghanistan in 2010.

4. Venus and young warrior
This sculpture is a masterpiece in its own way and was donated by Costa Rica in the year 1998. The sculpting is exquisitely done and is beautiful and represents the country's art and cultural heritage.

5. Chair
Among the other works, there is this chair which dates back to the times of the League of Nations. It was donated by Samoa to the League.

6. Basket
The country of Botswana donated this beautiful basket to the United Nations in the year 2005. The basket is truly a marvelous piece of art and represents Botswana's culture and art.

7. Cyrus Cylinder
Donated by Iran in 1980, this is one of the top works among the many in the art collections of the Palais.

8. Wooden Box
Last but not least, this beautiful Wooden Box was donated by Hungary in the year 1936.

Places to visit near Palais des Nations


There are a number of spots to explore nearby, which you can explore while visiting the Palais. Geneva is a perfect tourist destination with a variety of must-see tourist spots, and you will surely have a superb experience while touring here. Let's discuss them below:

1. Lake Geneva
The lake offers unparalleled natural beauty and is a cynosure of everyone's eyes. You can enjoy the breath-taking sight of the Alps on the background of the lake, click photos for Instagram, and can go for a joy ride on one of the paddle operated steamers.

2. Jet d'Eau (Water Jet)
The Water Jet is another tourist attraction here. A jet of water, 145 m high shoots straight up from the Lake surface. You can enjoy this beautiful and majestic spray of water from the Bains des Pâquis.

3. Temple de Saint-Pierre
Temple de Saint-Pierre has historical significance as John Calvin preached sermons in this Temple from 1536 to 1564. In this Temple, you will find two main towers that were constructed in the 13th century.

4. Jardin Botanique
Jardin Botanique is an exciting place in Geneva where you can go to enjoy the greenery. In this Botanical Garden, you will find greenhouses along with a large conservatory which covers about 28 hectares of land. You will find more than 12,000 species of plants and trees. Moreover, if you visit this place, you will also find a small animal reserve which contains deer and a few other wild animals.

5. Patek Philippe Museum
In this museum, you will find Swiss watches . Moreover, you will also come across automated musical devices and technical watches of China and Turkey. Apart from these watches, you will find portrait miniatures of the 16th and 19th centuries.

6. Place du Bourg-de-Four
This is the oldest square in the city, which is located in the heart of Geneva's Old town and is very near to the Temple de Saint-Pierre. In this square, you will find cafes and restaurants where you can easily chill out. Here you will also find an 18th-century fountain and a famous statue.

And there are many more exciting places to explore!

Other Essential Information About Palais Des Nations

Location – Palais des Nations is located in Ariana Park and is just 4.1 KM away from the Geneva airport. 

Entry Fee – Well, nothing comes at free, right! It will pinch you 15 CHF if you are an adult, but for students and senior citizens, it is 10 CHF. For children under 6 years, entry is free, and for children above 6 years, it is 4 CHF. If you are touring with a group, then it will cost 13 CHF.

Distance from Zurich Airport – Palais des Nations and the Zurich Airport are 280 km apart. It will take 2-3 hours to reach Palais from Zurich by bus or car.

History of Palais des Nations


The building has a very interesting and intriguing history. Well, let’s enlighten you on this! The history of this building dates back to 1919 after the League of Nations was founded. Right after that, a competition took place to finalize the design of the Palais before its construction.

An astonishing number of 377 proposals came, and the jury could not decide on one. Finally, the panel shortlisted five architects from five different countries for the project. Carlo Broggi from Italy, Julien Flegenheimer from Switzerland, Camille Lefèvre, and Henri Paul Nénot from France and Joseph Vago from Hungary collaborated to complete the project.

After laying the foundation stone on 7th September 1929, the work continued and lasted till 1938. In the interim, the Secretariat of the League and the many other staff got settled in various parts of the building. The interior design of the Palais was possible due to the large amount of donations from the Member States.

But the League was politically inactive and ceased to exist in 1945. With the formation of the United Nations in 1945, the Palais became the second largest United Nations Office.

Tips for visiting Palais des Nations


Whenever you are planning for a trip, there are certain things that you must consider so that your trip goes smoothe. So, let’s share few points below which may help you while travelling to Geneva:

- First, you must have your pockets full while you are travelling. You may desire to shop or visit some extra spots, so keeping adequate cash is always helpful.

Geneva is a well-connected city with buses, trains, and taxis, which will make your journey easy and comfortable. You can easily reach the Palais from any point of the city.

As hotels are costly here, and if you are tight on budget, then you must go for hostels. Hostels are a bit cheaper compared to hotels. But if you have a budget, then you can stay and enjoy the luxurious suites.

Bring lighter clothes during summer and warm clothes in winter. Lake Geneva is known for swimming during summer and spring, so if you like swimming, don't forget to carry a swimsuit. 

The place is generally safe to move around even at night. But you know prevention is always better than cure! So a little alertness is recommended.

Take a tour guide if you want to explore the Palais both outside and inside.
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