Geneva, Genève, Ginevra, Genevra (Romansh) -- Lausanne (Vaud)

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On October 27, 1553, the Spanish theologian, Michael Servetus, was burned at the stake for heresy and blasphemy in Geneva, Switzerland. He had offended both the Catholic and Protestant churches with speculations about the nature of the Trinity. Servetus had made repeated attempts to meet with and influence the Swiss reformer, John Calvin. Calvin found him too offensive. Calvin is reported to have stated that if Servetus ever came to Geneva, he would not allow him to leave, alive. In Lyon (France) Servetus was put on trial by an Inquisition. He escaped, however, and was burned only in effigy. Having made his way to Geneva, he was recognized there and again put on trial for heresy.

In contrast, when Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary) became queen of England in 1553, she was determined to roll back the Reformation and reinstate Roman Catholicism. The era known as the Marian Exile drove hundreds of English scholars to the Continent. A number of English Protestant divines settled in Calvin's Geneva: Miles Coverdale, John Foxe, Thomas Sampson, and William Whittingham. With the protection of the Genevan civil authorities and the support of John Calvin and the Scottish Reformer John Knox, the Church of Geneva determined to produce an English Bible without the need for the imprimatur of either England or Rome. It would be called the Geneva Bible.


The Rhône River has remained a premier center for trade and agriculture for thousands of years. The river flows south from Lac Léman at Geneva, Switzerland through a region once occupied by the Keltoi, the name given to people in southern France with whom the ancient Greeks traded, in particular by the writer Herodotus. A Roman town by 100BC (and an outpost against the hoards from the north and east), Geneva came under Burgundian control in 443AD -- then it went to the Franks, back to Burgundy (later Savoy). Leaving Savoy, the city protected itself by union with the Swiss Federation (Eidgenossenschaft), uniting itself, in 1526, with Berne and Fribourg. Subject to to France beginning in 1789, Geneva became the capital of the Léman Département, but regained its independence in 1814 as a Canton, joining the Swiss Confederation (Liberté et Patrie).

No doubt inhabited early-on by Christians, its religious history is still somewhat clouded. By legend, the area of Geneva was Christianised by Dionysius Areopagita and Paracodus, two of the seventy-two disciples, in the time of Domitian. Dionysius went to Paris where he lost his head, making Paracodus the first Bishop of Geneva. A letter of Saint Eucherius to Salvius better proves that Saint Isaac (c. 400) was the first to hold a formal bishophoric office there. The Burgundian Princess Sedeleuba, a sister of Queen and Sainte Clotilde, had the remains of the martyr and Saint, Victor of Soleure, transferred to Geneva, where she built a basilica in his honor. From the beginning the See of Geneva was a suffragan of Vienne, much further down river. The Reformation forced Catholicism and anything else contrary to Calvin doctrine out of the city for about 100 years.

Jean Cauvin {Calvin} was born at Noyon (Picardy) in 1509 -- Dans le parc des Bastions, le Monument de la Réformation rappelle aux visiteurs que Genève fut au XVIe siècle surnommée la Rome protestante. Sur le mur, les statues représentent Guillaume Farel, Jean Calvin, Théodore de Bèze et John Knox.

Cathédrale Saint PierreBe sure to see the archæological excavations under the Saint-Pierre Cathedral ! The church foundations run through ruins from a much earlier period. Indeed, the base of the columns can be seen resting on the glacial drift, next to Roman-style baths and burials. Built in 1160-1232 AD, the architecture is part Romanesque, part Gothic, with an unexpected classical front entrance. This was Calvin's place. A stone's throw away lies the intriguing Ancien Arsenal with its magnificent grand old cannons. The building is decorated with mosaic frescoes depicting Julius Caesar's arrival in 58 BC, the city fairs of the Middle Ages as well as the welcoming of Huguenot refugees during the Reformation.

North and east of the city is Nyon. After Julius Caesar had finally conquered Gallia Comata in 52 BC, his cavalry veterans retired to the Colonia Julia Equestris, founded on the shores of the lake over the Helvetian settlement of Noviodunum which had stood there previously. For two centuries, the town flourished, becoming an urban centre of 3000 people (the population didn’t reach such heights again until the mid-nineteenth century). The second half of the third century saw increasing attacks from Alemans (Alamanni, Allemann, or Alemanni) and Franks, who succeeded in breaking through Roman defences; stones from the ruined buildings were carted off to make a defensive wall for Geneva, and by the mid-fifth century the once grand colony was deserted for the most part. Only its Roman name survived, compressed into the single nasal syllable Nyon. The region was integrated into the Kingdom of Burgundy after 443, then was passed from lord to lord until the Bernese conquered Vaud in 1536. In 1781, a French entrepreneur Jacques Dortu opened a porcelain workshop in the town, staffed by local artisans who produced work of exceptionally high quality, rapidly establishing Nyon as a workshop for a craft now displayed alongside the best of Limoges china as some of the highest-prized ceramic art of the time.

Today this retirement town under the Romans has become an attractive little port, on a flattish plain sandwiched between the Jura mountains and the lake. Behind it are vineyards on the gentle slopes. Nyon is known for its excellent Roman museum, and Château de Prangins houses the regional branch of the National Museum. If perusing museums isn't your idea of a good time, one can ride a mountain railway up to the little Jura resort of Saint-Cergue. The Swiss chocolatier Favarger maintains a headquarters and factory in Versoix, a village between Nyon and Geneva. Collège du Léman is a private international boarding and day school for boys and girls at Versoix.

William TellLausanne is located some 50 km (31 mi) northeast of Geneva. It is the capital of the canton of Vaud and of the district of Lausanne. The headquarters of the International Olympic Committee are located in Lausanne and the IOC officially recognizes the city as the Capitale Olympique. The city's Website presents a selection of 60 structures built between the Middle Ages and the 21st century that reveal Lausanne’s history. Architectural quality, historical importance, the role placed in the city landscape and diversity among architects have guided this selection. Lausanne experienced a first golden age between the 12th century and the middle of the 14th century in a rapidly developing Europe. At the time, the city was the capital of a small state, the Lausanne Diocese.

The Diocese of Lausanne became an important point on the route to Italy as well as a place of a popular pilgrimage. The borders of this diocese extended beyond the hills of the town into Bourg, Saint-Laurent and the valleys between them. It had 5,000 to 6,000 residents. The Cathedral at Lausanne comes from that early time from which only a few rare, yet remarkable, gothic-style monuments remain in the city environs.

The Romans built a military camp, which they called Lousonna, at the site of a Celtic settlement, near the lake (Vidy and Ouchy); on the hills above was a fort called Lausodunon. The turbulence after the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west, forced the olde towne into these fortifications where its current centre rests, a much easier site from which to defend. The city which emerged was ruled by the Dukes of Savoy and the Bishop of Lausanne. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, Lausanne became (along with Geneva) a place of refuge for French Huguenots.

Today's metropolitan Lausanne sits between the extensive wine-growing regions of Lavaux (to the east in Vaud-the main wine grape variety grown here is the Chasselas) and la Côte (to the south-west (aussi vaudoise) les Pinots noirs sont élégants, quant au Gamay, il est fruité et généreux). Lausanne became the first city in Switzerland to have a rubber-tired metro system, on the M2 Line that opened in October 2008. The rolling-stock is a shorter version of the one used on the new Paris Métro Line 14. Most of the urban public transport in Lausanne, however, is by trolleybus. La cathédrale protestante Notre-Dame de Lausanne qui possède un portail peint entre 1230 et 1235AD, est un chef-d'œuvre de l'ars gothique en Suisse.

On Sunday, Stage 15, the Tour de France in 2009 (Pontarlier to Verbier) tried something unique as the riders traveled across the width and breadth of Switzerland -- through the Swiss Alps. Pontarlier (France) is close by the Swiss border. The course passed just south of Lac de Neuchâtel and skirted the hills above the eastern edge of Lac Léman at Montreux, reaching Aigle on the Rhône before a long climb and ending almost in Italy at Verbier (a resort town). The last ascent serpenting between Le Châble and Verbier required a huge effort from the racers at 8.5 km and over 700m of difference in elevation, this was without doubt the highlight of the day's race! On Monday, the teams enjoyed a day of rest. The Tour resumed at nearby Martigny (among other riches, this town possesses a large amphitheatre and numerous excellently preserved vestiges from the Gallo-Roman era) on the 21st of July (Stage 16).

a bord Lac Léman
Geneva Bible -- A new Geneva Bible

All but forgotten today, this translation of the Bible was the most widely read and influential English-language Bible of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

la miséricorde, la paix et la charité vous soient multipliées!
Jude 1:2
[La Bible, Version Louis Segond (rev. 1910)]
a ticket

Lyon -- The Roman Vienna lies just south of Lyon -- Saint-Étienne -- Grenoble -- Chamonix, Annecy, Aix-les-Bains, Chambéry and Albertville -- Mâcon -- More Cities HERE -- A few in Germany & Switzerland: Bern, Basel and Zürich -- Images of Baden -- What to do in Lausanne -- Christian Heritage of Switzerland

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