Water water everywhere
When I was invited to join the tourist board on a trip to discover Switzerland’s city of Geneva, I was a little skeptical as to whether to go.
In truth, I wasn’t sure I was going to see much more than I had on my previous trip. I’d already tasted my way around the cute tea-rooms, scoured the Stockholm-esque vintage and record shops and taken approximately 2749 photos on Europe’s longest bench. That said, there was more of the old town that I wanted to scope out so with intrigue, I said yes.
What I hadn’t seen of Geneva it turns out, was a LOT. As I’ll show you on my trip, I discovered that Geneva is so much more than a city with a lake and a water jet (although that in itself earns itself this blog post). Geneva is a city where culture and heritage are here to be snapped up. Just take the International district – the European UN building is just a minute’s walk away from the impressively modern and emotionally arresting Red Cross museum. Then there’s the fact that it’s the perfect base to go exploring the countryside in the most millennial-friendly fashion and with the airport a mere 10 minutes away from the centre, you’re going to get a lot done on your weekend city break.
More on all the above later, Let’s start with the heart – the lake! I was fascinated (probably more than most) about the history and importance of the famous water jet that protrudes 140 meters into the air from the lake at 9am every morning. Back in 1886, Geneva needed a solution to releasing pressure built up by watch making machines safely and so some bright spark thought of letting the air out into the water. Once electricity came along and ruined everything, there was no need for the jet but the townspeople came to see it so much as a symbol that they recreated it!
Today, it is such an honour to man the controls that most of the old men who operate it have been waiting years for those before them to retire so that they can take over the reigns.
To admire the lake and its scale, take a boat trip with Geneva Boats out into the body of ‘Lac Leman’ along with some local rose, my favourite Gruyere cheese and a fresh baguette. Bliss.
If you prefer water at a slightly warmer temperature, then you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to spas. We were treated to an afternoon at Bain Bleu on the opposite side of the city’s bank, which I really couldn’t recommend to you harder if I tried.
Now I’m not really a spa girl but this was brilliant. I only saw half of the interior offering of the hammam spa but that didn’t matter because the rooftop pool alone had me enthralled. After paddling my way through the water jets and Instagramming with my new Spanish pals, I bumped into a school friend sipping her Aperol Spritz (they must do some great marketing in Switzerland because seriously, EVERYONE drinks it here) and knew we’d hit the jackpot. At £22 for unlimited time in the pool, this is where you need to be in Geneva to watch the sun go down in summer people.
The great thing about all this water in Geneva is that it really helps calm and refuel you on your trip. The lake itself adds light, air and freshness to the center of the city, bridges are celebrated with huge flags adorning their sides and fountains are regal in the sun. Walking from one side of the mouth of the lake (where the public baths are) to the other (where the boat jetties are) only takes around 25 minutes and then 5 minutes on a water taxi back. Do it at golden hour and prepare to come back zen.
A huge thank you to Geneva Tourism for inviting me to rediscover the city of Geneva. If you’re visiting, do take a look at their brilliantly useful website. More on the city and the countryside shortly!
What I wore in Geneva: