Real Estate Transaction: A Jewel of Geneva's Built Heritage Changes Owners

Real Estate Transaction: A Jewel of Geneva's Built Heritage Changes Owners

The Domaine Beau-Pré in Genthod, home to notables, scholars and artists for three centuries, has just been acquired for 38 million Swiss francs.


Change of ownership at Domaine Beau-Pré. Built at the beginning of the 18th century on the heights of Genthod, this property has just been sold by the heirs of Madame Nicole Bigar to the Dominicé family, patricians who have lived in the commune for several generations. The transaction, recently carried out by SPG One - Christie's International Real Estate, opens a new chapter in this landmark of Geneva's collective memory.


Delving into the history of Domaine Beau Pré offers a journey through the family dynasties of Geneva's good society over the past centuries. The illustrious De la Rive, Bonnet, Pictet, Bigar and now Dominicé families have succeeded one another in this residence, built between 1728 and 1731 by Horace Bénédict De la Rive, the last "seigneur de Genthod". Its Louis XV inspiration sets it apart from the many other mansions in the commune. The building has seven bays with wide openings onto a formal garden.


Horace Bénédict De la Rive, Doctor of Law and later State Councillor, enlarged the estate over the years by acquiring other adjacent properties.On his death in 1773, the estate was bequeathed to his daughter Jeanne, the only one of the six children to remain with her parents, according to cantonal literature on built heritage.She married Charles Bonnet. The naturalist and philosopher brought the estate and its gardens to life, welcoming local and visiting scholars and philosophers.


When the couple died, the estate passed to their nephew, then to his son, who bequeathed it to his eldest daughter, Eléonore De la Rive, wife of zoologist and paleontologist François Jules Pictet.Rector of the Académie de Genève, he created paleontological collections for the Geneva Natural History Museum, bringing in exotic specimens from Mexico and Ceylon and helping to raise the institution to the rank of the great European museums.His political career took him to the National Council, where he helped revise the Federal Constitution. On the couple's death, the property was sold to foreigners. Charles Bonnet's library was acquired by the University of Geneva.

In 1955, the estate returned to local hands. Claude Bigar, a civil engineer who built the Acacias (GE) and Uttins districts in Rolle, as well as the Mont-Blanc underwater parking lot, acquired the estate. It was love at first sight for this architecture enthusiast, who renamed the property "Beau-Pré".The couple spent many happy years there, welcoming musicians and renowned artists for unpretentious performances, reports the local newspaper.The new owners will initially undertake the complete renovation of the historic building, "deeply committed to the preservation and protection of this heritage", they state.They also wish to preserve "the estate's unique character and authenticity for future generations".


Credits :

Editor: Julien de Weck - november 2023

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