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Ariel Pierre2

We recently met up with a personality on the Geneva Tour circuit, Ariel Pierre Haemmerlé. He is quite well known in the area and has several books under his belt, as well as many years on various associations. One thing we noticed that you could talk about any subject and Ariel Pierre would be able to expand on it! He recently paired with VoiceMap and is offering 4 of our readers to try his tours for free.

Why did you start doing guided tours? 
By coincidence: I’ve always been interested in the history of the place I live, so I already knew quite a lot. In 2001, I was working at the Geneva Cantonal Office of Heritage when a lady working at the Carouge City Administration informed me that she was preparing regular guided tours in Carouge and would I like to prepare a tour. I said yes and have never looked back. It turned out that I did this job rather well and it is a passion of mine to this day.

Later, she asked me to do guided tours for the city of Geneva where Geneva Tourism discovered me.

In 2008, there were exams organized by Geneva Tourism which I passed with very good results.

Currently, I give 200 tours a year on average. Only the Covid-19 pandemic brought it to a stand-still.

How did the APP idea come about?
The VoiceMap App is already established in over 250 cities around the world. The company was looking for someone to record Geneva-based tours via the Swiss Tourist Guide Association (of which I was vice-president for six years). I spoke to my colleagues at the Geneva Guide Association (of which I’m vice-president currently), but none of them was interested, but one of us had to do it before someone unqualified would. As the pandemic was fully installed at this point, and I had more time on my hands, I jumped at the chance to be the first to contribute.

I still do tours in person such as "Carouge en zigzag" and welcome locals and visitors to join me. This walking tour is part of the public tour program in Carouge, taking place every Saturday at 11h from June through October since 20 years. It can also be offered as private tour.

Tell us about your books
In 2011, my guided tours led a publisher from Brussels to ask me to write the book “Genève au calme”, a concept he had published for Brussels with great success. It’s a handy book with photos and little texts on 60 quiet places of Geneva.

In 2016, I wrote “Genève… et la tentative d’assassinat de la chancelière”. A guided tour of Geneva, 80% historical facts spiced with 20% detective story. Thanks to the success of the prior book, the publisher Slatkine agreed immediately to publish it in 2017. This first edition was sold out by autumn 2019. So, we published a 2nd edition with updates and corrections.

In 2018, a photographer who had already published photo books on Geneva, Alex Petrachkov, participated in one of my tours of Carouge and fell in love with the city. So, he asked me to collaborate in a coffee table book about Old Carouge. The city administrative office was immediately interested in this project and it was published in July 2020. It was sold out within 6 months, but the Mairie of Carouge still has a small stock where it can be bought at the counter.

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What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
Everything went so smoothly, I found help when needed, found interested publishers immediately so I can honestly say there were really no obstacles. I would wish for a little bit more time to write as I have so much to narrate.

What are your plans for the future?
The publisher from Brussels has asked me to write another book on Geneva, “Genève au fil du temps, les dates clé de son histoire”. It should have been published two years ago, but the pandemic came. However, it should be released soon.

Ariel Pierre1

What is your favorite tour you offer?
snailI have no favorite as I carry the same affection for all my tours. But for beginners, it would be logical to start with the Brunswick Monument Tour, then the right bank (Flower Clock), then the Old Town of Geneva, and then Carouge. When you download a tour, which is very simple, your smartphone tells you on a map where to start.

When we met up with Ariel Pierre, he showed us this amazing sculptural fountain boasting black swans in the Place du Marché in Carouge. We've noticed the fountain before but little did we know about the unique snail that had been sculptured into its bowl near the top. If you want to know more about these hidden gems, then make sure to try out any and all of his tours on VoiceApp below.

  1. A Lakeside Stroll from Brunswick Monument to the Botanical GardenTake a relaxing walk along the right bank with this guide to Geneva’s marvels
  2. Geneva’s Left Bank: From the Flower Clock to the Escalade FountainWind back Geneva’s contemporary and ancient history on a lakeside stroll
  3. Exploring the History of Geneva’s Old TownMeet the movers and shakers behind the Red Cross and the Protestant Reformation
  4. A Stroll Through Carouge: Geneva's Little ItalyBrowse the old marketplaces and hidden courtyards of this Genevan gem

At the end of a guided tour, a young woman from Geneva exclaimed cheerfully: "I'll never look at my city the same way again!"

After a visit, a retired German physicist exclaimed: "I would never have guessed that Geneva was so weighty of history!”

button competition150Ariel Pierre is kindly offering 4 lucky knowitall.ch readers one of his VoiceMap guided tours (value between Fr. 4.68 and Fr. 5.58) to be chosen from the list. Just fill out this form and answer this question: How many tours has Ariel Pierre recorded so far?

Only one entry per email is allowed. No cash equivalent of prizes is permitted. The competition closes at midnight on Thursday, 30 September 2021. The names of all those submitting correct answers will be placed into the digital hat and the winners' names drawn at random on Friday, 1 October 2021. The winners will be notified by email.

Ariel Pierre Haemmerlé voicemap

Ariel Pierre Haemmerlé
Traducteur, Guide touristique diplômé Genève Tourisme
022 300 41 92
079 653 83 53
2011 book: Genève et ses environs au calme
2017 book: Genève… et la tentative d’assassinat de la chancelière
2020 book: Le Vieux Carouge (co-author Alex Petrachkov)
2021 walking tour app: VoiceMap Tours 
2021 book: Genève au fil du temps, les dates clé de son histoire
2021 walking tour in person: Carouge en zigzag every Saturday at 11h through 16 October 2021