In a leafy park along the scenic banks of Lake Geneva is the Ariana Museum–a palatial, three-story mansion home to over 20,000 glass and ceramic objects. The museum features a private collection of ceramic vases, cups, statues, stained glass windows and paintings, plus a room of contemporary ceramics on the second floor and a display of temporary exhibitions in the basement. Though most descriptions are in French, the free museum is still worth a visit for its beautiful surroundings.
Held in an impressive, Baroque-meets-classical-style building, the museum gives way to high-vaulted ceilings, rich burgundy walls, massive columns and an accessible balcony overlooking the Parc de l'Ariana. There's also a tea room (similar to a cafe) and an outdoor patio offering lunch (though you'll need reservations).
The Ariana Museum is located alongside the entrance to the Palace of United Nations and opposite the Red Cross Museum, so you'll be able visit all three attractions in just a few hours. Visitors with a Geneva Pass can enter the museum for free, with the added benefit of free, unlimited public transportation and admission to over 40 other city attractions, including the Red Cross Museum.
The Ariana Museum is located in Parc de l’Ariana on avenue de la Paix in Geneva. It is accessible by train (Genève-Sécheron station, line R) and by tram (Nation station, line 15) as well as by car. From central Geneva, follow Quai du Mont-Blanc and Avenue de France; there is a paid parking lot (Parking des Nations) on Rue de Varembé.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm, and is closed on Monday. Entrance to the permanent exhibition is free, while admission to the temporary exhibits (including the contemporary exhibit) is 10 CHF. The museum is free on the first Sunday of each month, and to anyone holding a Geneva Pass.
Did You Know? The museum's neoclassical architecture seems fit for royal living, but the mansion was commissioned by founder Gustave Revilliod in 1877 to house his extensive glass collection. The museum is named after his mother.