Where the River Rhône meets Lake Geneva, where the city’s north and south shores face each other, you’ll find Rousseau Island (Ile Rousseau), the green, serene heart of Geneva. Four centuries ago this was a highly strategic position, and the island owes its unusual “arrowhead” shape to its original function as a fortress.
Things are much calmer now; with Italian poplars, weeping willows and stunning views of the city, this is a place for rest and contemplation, and a pavilion restaurant is on hand to provide food for thought. Appropriate, then, that the island should be named for local boy Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the great 18th century philosopher whose statue has been standing guard here since 1835.
Ile Rousseau is best reached on foot and is connected to both shores of Geneva by the Pont des Bergues. The head of the island faces the Pont du Mont-Blanc, one of the main crossing points of the city.