Geneva : Place des Nations
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A little over a kilometre north of the station is the Place des Nations, surrounded by offices of the dozens of international organizations headquartered in Geneva – everything from the World Council of Churches to Eurovision. Gates on the square open to the Palais des Nations, now occupied by UNOG, the United Nations Office at Geneva; the huge monolith just off the square to the west (like a bent playing card on its edge) is WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization; the high-rise to the south is ITU, the International Telecommunications Union; just to the east is UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees … and so the alphabet soup continues. Most of these are just ordinary office buildings filled with working people; only the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and the UN are open to visitors.

The square itself, though, is an obvious gathering place for those who wish to make a point, and the little patch of grass in the middle is consistently trampled flat by the many demonstrators who march here. The giant Broken Chair which looms over it was installed in 1997 for the international conference at Ottawa banning the use of land mines, a graphic commemoration of the victims of such weapons. The square’s an easy walk north from the station, or you can take any of an array of buses – #8, #18, #F, #V or #Z – all of which go past the square to Appia, the best stop for the museums.

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