The Palais des Nations (Palace of Nations) in Geneva, Switzerland, was built between 1929 and 1938 as the headquarters of the League of Nations. Since the 1950s, it has served as the home of the United Nations Office at Geneva, although Switzerland did not become a member of the UN until 2002.
An architectural competition held in the 1920s to choose a design for the complex described the project as follows:
The Palais, whose construction is the object of the competition, is intended to house all the organs of the League of Nations in Geneva. It should be designed in such a way as to allow these organs to work, to preside and to hold discussions, independently and easily in the calm atmosphere which should prevail when dealing with problems of an international dimension.
A jury of architects was selected to choose a final design from among 377 entries but was unable to decide on a winner. Ultimately, the five architects behind the leading entries were chosen to collaborate on a final design: Carlo Broggi of Italy, Julien Flegenheimer of Switzerland, Camille Lefèvre and Henri-Paul Nénot of France, and Joseph Vago of Hungary. Donations from League members were used in the interior.
After its transfer to the United Nations, two extensions were added to the building. In the early 1950s, three floors were added to the "K" building, and the "D" building was constructed to temporarily house the World Health Organization. The "E" building (or "New" Building) was completed in 1973 as a conference facility. With the additions, the complex is 600 metres long, with 34 conference rooms and 2,800 offices.
The Palais is in Ariana Park, which was bequeathed to the City of Geneva by the Revilliod de Rive family, with the condition that peacocks should roam freely on its grounds, which they do to this day. The park also contains a 1668 chalet.
Beneath the Palais des Nations's foundation stone is a capsule containing a document listing the names of the League of Nations member states, a copy of the Covenant of the League, and specimen coins of all the countries represented at the league's Tenth Assembly.
Geneva's "food mile": Celebrated for its gastronomic excellence and its international outlook, Geneva offers a world of fine dining options. But restaurants aside, the city also has a wealth of specialist fine-food retailers just waiting to be discovered. Located within easy reach of one another, these shops make up what this foodie has come to know as Geneva's "food mile".
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