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“Rendered me speechless...”

Fondation Martin Bodmer - Bibliotheque et Musee
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Geneva Pass
Ranked #2 of 3 things to do in Cologny
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Owner description: Place of exception in Geneva and unique in Europe. The Martin Bodmer Foundation gathers a collection of originals, constituted by papyri, manuscripts, incunabula, archaeological documents, autographs, drawings. In this modern museum designed by Mario Botta, you will be the witness of the creation of the spirit, through all the ages and in all the continents.
Brisbane, Queensland
Level Contributor
37 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Rendered me speechless...”
Reviewed May 4, 2014

This museum, in the village of Coligny, just outside Geneva and reached by the 'A' bus, is absolutely phenomenal. If you are interested in books, it is an absolute must. Not only is Coligny a lovely spot (great patisserie, beautiful homes and gardens) the actual museum and its gardens are wonderful. But the real pleasure lies in the basement of the building, where there are two floors of some of the most incredible books you can ever imagine. It is a history of the written word and of publishing and literature since time began. The collection is like nothing you would have ever seen, and laid out in such a manner that you can really examine the calligraphy and immerse yourself in the books. The entry fee is 15 Swiss francs but we found it a sensational museum.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank jenjwms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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36 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
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  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Breath-taking, astounding. Unmissable.”
Reviewed April 16, 2014 via mobile

The Martin Bodmer Foundation Museum is a jaw-dropping experience for anyone who loves creative thinking, be it literary, scientific, mathematical or musical. We went expecting maybe a few clay tablets with writing and some examples of writing through the ages, but spent the afternoon gasping in amazement at the riches in this collection. The entire collection contains 150 000 pieces and the displays are constantly changing, but on the day we were there we saw an original Guttenberg Bible, a beautifully detailed ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, a first edition Complete Works of Shakespeare, one of only a handful of original Demands of Martin Luther complete with nail holes, and the only original copy of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, published in his lifetime and still with the original cover. My son was also bowled over to discover Liebnitz' copy of Newton's Principia Mathematica, complete with his tiny margin notes.
This collection is astounding, incomparable, breathtaking, incredible. We were still gasping in memory of what we had seen late into the night.

Visited April 2014
2 Thank Mel_Tigger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Petach Tikva, Israel
Level Contributor
50 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“A shrine for bibliophiles”
Reviewed August 19, 2012

A complilation of manuscripts and books by the late Martin Bodmer. If seeing a Gutenberg Bible or first folios of Shakespeare is your idea of wonderful - this is the place to be.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank Alizapedsem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jonesborough, TN
Level Contributor
302 reviews
109 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“Great museum and beautiful grounds”
Reviewed December 6, 2011

Martin Bodmer's former home is just gorgeous -- the grounds overlooking Geneva are wonderful. The museum has the most incredible manuscripts and originals works. Take your time, and see it all. It was a little tricky finding the right bus to take from downtown, but with some help of the locals we were able to find it. This place is under-rated and should be on everyone's list of things to do in Geneva.

Visited September 2011
1 Thank GenghisKhan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sherborne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
52 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“A masterpiece”
Reviewed August 24, 2011

After walking up to the Foundation from the lake the first thing to recommend is to work out the bus routes (Bus A) as it is a long, steep trek. However we were overwhelmed by what we found.

The museum is dimly lit (presumably to preserve the texts) but that only adds to the sense of reverence that these ancient and important books command. Chatting with lowered voices all visitors seem to hover with their companions at displays much longer than they might in an ordinary museum. There is a religous feel, hardly surprising with original Guttenburg and St James' Bibles amongst many sacred (not just Christian) tomes.

But it is the written word that is worshipped here, so the original Chaucer or Shakespeare receive just as much attention, and you can pass from ancient Egypt to modern day America seemlessly.

Personally, to see an original Book of the Dead would have been amazing, however, to see TWO in one display case sums up the magnificance of this collection.

If you have ever enjoyed reading, or appreciated the value of 3000 year old artifacts, this is a MUST DO visit!

Visited August 2011
1 Thank Travowen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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