Sunday, February 16, 2020

Ferney-Voltaire, France

During Christmas we all planned to up in Switzerland to visit Natalie.  On Friday night I caught a flight to Geneva.  On Saturday morning Claudia and Tünde arrived and we spent the weekend together.  Yeah for more whānau adventures! 

After picking them up at the airport and breakfast at the hotel we went to France.  Geneva is on the French border and we caught a 10 minute bus to Ferney-Voltaire.

Ferney-Voltaire is in Southeastern France between the Jura Mountains and the Swiss border.  

Back in the 14th century is was Fernex and over the years the name changed to Fernay, Fernaj, and Fernai.  The city is home to around 9.800 people.

The French writer and philosopher François Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, lived in Geneva for almost two years.  At the time Geneva was a Calvinist city and theatre was forbidden so he moved to Ferney in 1759 where he ended up becoming the city's patriarch.  He lived here from 1759 to 1778 before returning to Paris shortly before his death.  Voltaire built the local church, a theatre, set up potteries and a watchmaking industry which helped increase the city's population to over 1000 people.  In honour of Voltiare's patronage the city changed it's name to Ferney-Voltaire in 1791.

The Church of Our Lady is the largest neoclassical religious building in the region.  It was consecrated in 1826.

The Fountain of Voltaire dates back to 1628.  In 1988 it became a registered historic monument.

The city hall and WWI monument.

WWI Memorial

It's a cute little town and well worth a short day trip.

On Saturdays there is an open market and we spent lots of time walking around and sampling lots of goodies.  

So much incredible cheese, produce, and wine.  Tünde loved the pomegranates we picked up.  

The town cemetery is less than a 10 minute walk from the centre of town.  

The town's main attraction is Voltaire's house.  The château was built from 1758 to 1766 and it is open to visitors from May to September. 

The house is interesting and well worth checking out.  

There's also a garden to stroll around.  I'm sure that it looks better in Spring and Summer.  But you can't go wrong with the view of the Alps. 

We enjoyed our short day trip to France.  After lunch at an Indian restaurant we walked across the border and caught a bus back to Geneva to continue our city break.

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