Tuesday, October 29, 2013

41 Top Tips for Geneva

Lists are so in. Buzzfeed has built an audience of millions, partly thanks to its love of list - especially ones that involve cat gifs (LOL!!)

So I've made a list of top tips about the Swiss city of Geneva, where I worked for far too much of October:

1. Top sight is the water jet (above) otherwise known as the Jet d'Eau. It used to be on always apart from when it was icy or windy but recently it seems to have been switched off quite a lot

2. The city is built at the far end of Lake Geneva, known to the French as Lake Leman

3. You can go on boat tours of the lake or down the river from the Quai du Monte-Blanc

4. Another must-see is the old town clustered around the St-Pierre Cathedral (below). You can climb to the top of the Cathedral tower for great views

5. Nearby is the picturesque town hall or Hôtel de Ville

6. There's a nice walk from the Cathedral passing the Hotel de Ville down to the river along the Rue de la Cite:

7. Another nice walk is to the end of the Jetee des Paquis jutting out into the lake where you can see a great panorama of the Cathedral and the water jet

8. The cold clear waters of the river Rhone flows fast splitting Geneva in two, with the old town on the left bank (looking in the direction the river flows) and the station plus international organisations on the right

9. You can go to classical music concerts at the lovely Victoria Hall

10. Many of the big names in rock and pop pass through on their tours, usually playing at the Geneva Arena by the airport. Back in the 90s I saw Oasis there

11. You can go to smaller gigs at a number of places including the Pickwick pub on Rue de Lausanne

12. But be careful, I know of someone who had their pockets nicked in the Pickwick

13. However Geneva is generally safe

14. The best moules are to be had at a restaurant called Francis on Boulevard James-Fazy

15. You can get a good steak and chips from either the Cafe de Paris (by the station) or L'Entrecote (across the river) - and that's all those two restaurants serve

16. I've been told that the best croissants are to be had at Le Pain Quotidien but having tried them I feel that further research is required as Geneva has many many very good bread and cake shops

17. If you detect waffs of smelly socks fear not, it's probably just means you are walking past one of the many fondu restaurants

18. One of the local specialities is fillet du perche which used to come from the lake but nowadays are imported

19. The local yacht club the Société Nautique de Genève (had to get a sailing link in somehow) won the America's Cup in 2003 and then defended it in 2007

20. If you're into shopping then you can get most things in Geneva, particularly on the street between the old town and the lake appropriately called Rue du Marche

21. The usual gifts from Geneva are watches, chocolate and Swiss army knives

22. Most shops are closed on Sunday

23. On a wet day you can go round the National Art and History museum just off the old square

24. A little bit beyond the museum is the Russian Orthodox Church with its classic onion domes

25. Geneva is full of parks which are very pretty at this time of year:

26. The best way to travel the short way from the airport to the city is on the train

27. From Geneva main railway station you can catch trains to nearby towns including the lovely Lausanne and Montreaux

28. From the bus station or Gare Routiere you can get buses up to the ski resorts and the ticket includes the ski pass

29. It's easy to get around town on the buses and trams: when you check into a hotel you will get a free ticket that lasts the duration of your stay

30. However Geneva is very walkable so I don't usually bother

31. Its a bit of a hike to the Place des Nations but worth it to see the old League of Nations building and the giant Broken Chair aka the memorial to victims of land mines

32. A great day trip from Geneva is to visit CERN but I've never managed to get there as you MUST book ahead

33. The best hotels in Geneva are down by the lake side - for example the Beau Rivage, Richemond, Four Seasons etc. For obvious reasons I have never stayed in any of them

34. In the Tintin book "The Calculus Affair" the professor stayed at the Hotel Cornavin which is a real hotel by the station and has a small Tintin display in its reception:

35. Hotels charge an arm and a leg for washing so instead why not try the Salon Lavoir behind the station for your clothes washes, pressing and dry cleaning - all with friendly service

36. When all the rich meals get too much, you can go for a great jog along the lakeside by starting at the Mont Blanc bridge and keep going along the Quay Mont Blanc

37. They drive on the wrong side of the road so look both ways when crossing a street just to be sure

38. While they speak French in Geneva, their English is usually pretty good

39. France is very very close, with Geneva Airport straddling the border

40. The currency is the Swiss Franc and it has become very strong so everything seems expensive. However Geneva is a sensible city so you don't have to worry about that stupid tipping nonsense

41. You can visit Geneva many times and still be discovering things - even if, like me, you've been there 41 times already.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the cost of running two 500kW pumps plus the 100kW lights is one reason they stop running the fountain more often these days? Sensible Swiss.

People and car spotting outside the Hotel des Bergues is also fun of an evening. And I could spend at least ten minutes window shopping at the swanky Drake store on Rue des Alpes on the way back from an overpriced resto.

And if you're feeling more energetic, take a walk to Pointe de Jonction (the tram stop is close) where the L'Arve joins the Rhone - you'll see the muddy L'Arve water running side by side with the clear Rhone water for many kms. Pont Butin is a good vantage point for that too.

JP said...

I've never gone over to see the L'Arve - maybe for the next trip over.

The cars outside the Hotel Beau Rivage are worth checking out as well.

Could have also mentioned getting the train to Nyon then the narrow guage railway up into the hills above Geneva so can go hiking.

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