Geneva’s alternative neighborhood, Grottes, is full of character and has a rich history. Yesterday, F and I were in the area and noticed a series of simple murals that gave us some insight into what the neighborhood used to be like. Here are two of them:

1. Charlotte

Charlotte 1977 / Rue des Grottes. One time we had made housing available for a Swiss family that returned from abroad. The concierge had warned the authorities of their presence. Fortunately, we had people on the lookout (antennas) in the neighborhood that had informed us of the police’s arrival. The police had taken away the parents and left the babies in the apartment! Together with a colleague, we took care of the babies until their parents were liberated. This is one of the quite extraordinary things that we have had in the neighborhood. Memories shared at / 9 October 2014
On the side of La Maison Verte

2. […]sel

[…]sel […] / Rue des Gares.  The end of this small neighborhood is very connected to the […] of the railroad workers and imprisoned workers. The guys arrived at the train station and had to then visit […] … The hours were very […]. There was one or two bistros in each residential building in Rue des Gares. They opened every day of the week and they closed at about 3 or 4 in the morning. Most of them were Spanish bistros. This used to be a bit of a Spanish neighborhood, with many Galicians and Andalusians… It was a street where there was a lot of life but the life of single men. Memories shared at / 7 October 2014
Look familiar?

If you visit the Agorama project’s website, you’ll find a demographic breakdown of the neighborhood (quartierama), more memories of what Grottes was once like (mémorama) and ideas on how to make it better (idéorama).


In ancient Greek, the agora (άγορά) designated the gathering place.


Of the Greek (όραμα) horāma, or vision. The suffix of words tied to sight, to the fact of seeing.