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Geneva's Escalade

This is a guest post written and created by award-winning author, Anita Lehmann.

All images were also provided by Anita.

Geneva’s Escalade: Friday 9th to Sunday 11th December 2022.

Chocolate cauldrons, veggies made of marzipan, and cannon fire?...What’s not to like about Geneva’s Escalade? A perfect day trip for the whole family, exploring Geneva’s old town, and learning about Swiss history!

In the middle of a cold December night in 1602, the Duke of Savoy and his army launched a stealth-attack on the city-state Geneva...but the Genevan’s wouldn’t have any of it! Still in their nighties, men, women, and children bravely fought off the enemy. Mère Royaume, who allegedly was cooking soup for her fourteen children that very night, decided to join the fight, and poured the soup out of her window straight onto the attacker. The Savoyards had expected this to be an easy win, and to get covered in glory. Instead, they lost, and got covered in a soupload of vegetables.

In memory of that momentous night, the city parties. The old town comes alive with historical reenactments, processions, dishing out of mulled wine and chocolate, and, of course, the breaking of a cauldron made of chocolate and filled with marzipan vegetables – the ‘Marmite de l’Escalade’, symbolising Geneva’s fight for its freedom.

This year, there will be festivities on Friday 9th, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th December with events, concerts, and activities all around the old town.

Highlights for families:

- Breaking of the Marmite: Saturday 18:00, at Ancien Arsenal

- Visit the Passage du Monetier, only open for one day every year.

Saturday, between 10:00-22:00. The entry is at 19, rue du Perron

- Children’s lantern procession on Saturday 10th December from 19:45, starting at Rue de l’Evêché

- main historical procession (‘le cortège’): Sunday from 17:00 to 19:00, starting at the Parc des Bastions

You can find the full programme here (in French).

Geneva is easily accessible by train, with the old town a short tram ride or a 15-minute walk from the station. Food and drink stalls and restaurants open around the old town. Public toilets will be open, as well as mobile toilets in various places.

There is so much more to Geneva’s history than just the Escalade. Do you want to find out?

I’m the author of THE GENEVA CHRONICLES, a fun, accessible, and highly illustrated children’s book full of exciting stories about the history of Geneva - from tsunamis on Lake Geneva all the way to the creation of CERN.

THE GENEVA CHRONICLES is illustrated by Genevan artist Pierre Wazem, published by Bergli Books, and available in English and French below.

The English version can be found here.

The French version can be found here.

Thank you for this lovely post Anita Lehmann!


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