The legend goes that, while staying for the weekend at Lord Byron’s, party guests were asked to come up with a scary story to share with the assembled group. It was at that gathering that a young Mary Shelley first constructed the idea for Frankenstein’s Monster, the modern Prometheus. First published in 1818, this staggering work of literary genius was much maligned on its first release. However, in the nearly two centuries since, the novel has grown to become one of the most beloved works in modern literature, even to the extent that several sites have sprung up throughout Geneva (and Europe) designed to evoke the haunting memories of a stitched-together man trying to find a home in the world.
From a statue in the square of Plainpalais commemorating the creature’s first murder to the actual estate where Byron hosted Mary Shelley (nee Godwin), Geneva is home to several important moments from the classic novel.
Of course, the Swiss city isn’t the only home to landmarks from the novel. A little ways west of the Rhine in Germany lies the small village of Frankenstein. According to CNN, “Less than 100 kilometers to the northeast of the village, on the other side of the river, rise the walls of Castle Frankenstein near Darmstadt, the German birthplace of Johann Conrad Dippel, an alchemist who later experimented with human bodies.” This may not have influenced Shelley, but the coincidences have had literary scholars intrigued for decades.
Like you really need a reason to visit Europe, right?