Geneva: the Vieux-Grenadiers parade on Saturday

The Vieux-Grenadiers parade on Saturday in Geneva

Published today at 6:49 p.m.

It’s not every day you celebrate your 275the birthday. Among the oldest associations in the country, the Société des Vieux-Grenadiers begins a year of celebrations this Saturday with a huge parade. Some 800 people in uniform will parade through the city center.

Geneva will therefore be very lively this weekend, if we think that the marathon takes place over two days on the quays while Servette receives Winterthur at 6 p.m. at La Praille in a tense context.

Three hours of parade

The procession of the Vieux-Grenadiers will set off at 1:30 p.m. It will make a loop with the Plainpalais plain as its starting and finishing point. Notable stops: rue de la Corraterie, Rues-Basses, the Old Town and Parc des Bastions. It should last about three hours.

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Historical troops invited

The atmosphere promises to be good-natured. The Old Grenadiers invited historic troops to their side, such as the Company of 1602 and the Fife and Drummers of Geneva, but also the Contingent of Friborg Grenadiers, the Volunteer Corp of Lugano or the Croatian knights of Sinjska Alka. The hooves of 80 horses will tread the cobblestones of Bourg-de-Four.

“We won’t see a parade of this magnitude again anytime soon,” enthuses Thierry Aeschbacher, president of the organizing committee. The celebrations of the 275e anniversary revolves around three events. Each represents one of the three values ​​of the historic motto of the Vieux-Grenadiers: homeland, family and friendship.

The parade, as we will have understood, celebrates the homeland. “Not to be confused with nationalism,” underlines Thierry Aeschbacher.

New members

The second event, under the aegis of the family, will take place on Saturday June 15 with an open day at the historic headquarters of the Vieux-Grenadiers, on rue de Carouge. Visit, friendly catering and multiple activities are planned.

After a decline attributed to Covid, the society has recorded an influx of new members in recent years. Some are barely in their twenties, according to Jacques Raemy, the treasurer. “People enter a circle where traditions are well anchored. It pleases,” he emphasizes.

The Vieux-Grenadiers have a thousand members. Society would always constitute a mirror of the diversity of civil society. “There are apprentices, lawyers, bankers, mechanics, police officers…” lists Thierry Aeschbacher. Or even politicians, like State Councilor Pierre Maudet or former magistrate Robert Cramer.

“Once together, there are no more labels,” assures Thierry Aeschbacher. If some people take advantage of it to network, “you shouldn’t go there for that,” he says.

Banquet at Palexpo

Membership is reserved for men, as is the traditional Thursday evening meal. A “historical” tradition, there too. “But many activities including families are organized during the year,” explains Jacques Raemy.

Third and final event: a banquet will close this 275e birthday. It will take place on Saturday November 2 at Palexpo. Something to celebrate “friendship”. Because “once an Old Grenadier, always an Old Grenadier”.

Theo Allegrezza is a journalist in the Geneva section. In particular, he covers political news in the city of Geneva. Previously, he was a correspondent freelance in Ticino. Graduated from Sciences Po Paris.More informations @theoallegrezza

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