Our location, 1, rue Puits-Saint-Pierre, is at the heart of the old town of Geneva, near to the most important sights: the cathedral of Saint Pierre, the Town Hall, the Arsenal, the Dusquesne House, the Tavel House (now housing the museum of Old Geneva), the Barbier-Mueller Museum, the Museum of the Reformation and the Museum of Art and History.
The hotel is composed of four distinct buildings built onto the old chapter house wall by the 13 th Century Caralèses gate. Surveys of the cellars undertaken by Charles Bonnet, district archeologist, have revealed many signs characteristic of Medieval stonework. This 13 th century structure has been renovated on several occasions and for the most part, the present building dates from the 17 th century. On the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685), numerous Protestants took refuge in Geneva. To house them, many buildings were reconstructed with an extra floor; this may have been the case for 1, Puits-Saint-Pierre with its little windows under the eaves.
The current building belonged successively to the Counts and Bishops of Geneva (the oubliettes in the Café des Armures were used as cellars by Bishop Guillaume de Marcossay), to Joseph of Normandy (from a family of Geneva syndics, 1636) and, in part, to Pierre Mauger, baker, 1640. It was left to the family of Samuel Chouet de la Rive to reunite the various parts of the building and restyle the whole in an Italian-inspired design (17 th century).
The ownership of the Hotel Les Armures, Geneva, stayed with the family of Samuel Chouet for some time: Leonard Chouet, Councillor in 1683, who rose to Treasurer-General of the Republic, and Jean-Louis, his son, magistrate and author of the Wilmergen Journal of 1712 in which the Genevese distinguished themselves next to the Bernese. Later on, as in 1822, there were Prince Consorts Bertrand and Mallet, in 1863 Daniel Benjamin Roux, in 1895 their ladyships Mestrezat and de Mandrot, related by marriage to the Roux – then from the 20th century, through inheritance, the brothers of Madrot d’Echichens until 1977.
Amédée Granges was the tenant who restored Geneva’s oldest cafe before becoming the proprietor in 1957. From 1977, he began the process of transforming this old, ‘well-worn’ building into a luxury hotel.
As a result, the real beauty of the original decorative details – decorated ceilings and plasterwork, painted facades, frescos and chimney places, as well as numerous art treasures – can now be fully appreciated.
The restoration work was undertaken by Anne-Marie Pellot and Claude Rossier, supervised by E. Nierle from the Commission des Monuments et des Sites, all overseen by the architect F Schenk, who carried out the general restoration of the hotel between April 1979 to September 1980. Ever since, gradual expansion and restoration have combined to turn Les Armures into a hotel of undisputed luxury, and its restaurant into a highly prized city venue.
The Hotel-Restaurant ‘Les Armures’ is ideally located for you to discover the hidden treasures of Geneva’s Old Town.