The City of Geneva
Welcome back to Switzerland’s city of Geneva! After showing you what’s in store for lake and pool-lovers and those after a dose of fresh, country air, it’s time to refuel in the city itself and discover things to do in Geneva. Ready to explore? On y va!
Home from home
Firstly, you’ll need somewhere to throw down your cases.
Hotels? You’re spoilt for choice and with the airport only 7 minutes away from the city centre by train, you’ll be out on the town straight after touch-down. The great thing about staying in a hotel in Geneva is their generous handing out of free Geneva Passes – tickets that get you reduced or complimentary access to attractions and free public transport for your stay.
We stayed on one of the many central hotels, namely Hotel Bristol, the only 4* on the waterfront making it a more reasonable investment for its prime location. Its dark walnut decor and incredibly attentive staff makes you feel like the stars couldn’t rank any higher.
Eat in Geneva
Next up you’ll be wanting something to eat and what better way to start an indulgent weekend than Switerland’s finest in feel-good food – fondue?! Geneva’s brilliantly characterful Restaurant de l’Hotel-De-Ville is the place to go. Surrounded by memorabilia, flags and flagons, you’ll get right into the spirit of Swiss history. After filling up, walk off all the cheese by taking a tour around the ramparts and trails in the old town around you, where every turn brings up a new, beautifully quaint view.
Another brilliant dining experience worth scribbling down in your diary is Cotton Pub – a local dive with a secret back room and an even more secret super-chef who holds two Michelin stars. Each plate is beautifully presented and delicious, well worth splashing out on for your last meal in the city.
For a lighter bite to eat, take a look at some of my other suggestions in my other blog post on Geneva.
Places of interest
Sadly we didn’t have the chance to go to the top of the cathedral (you usually can but a music event prevented us) but I’ve heard the views are even more amazing than those at the bottom of it (still pretty sweet). Next time I’ll be climbing those stairs!
On the top of our must-visit list was the prestigious Red Cross Museum in the NGO district (where the United Nations stands). The newly refurbished Humanitarian aid museum has been curated into a permanent 3-part display describing ways in which the Red Cross have helped bring families together, give people a voice and help in large-scale crisis. Any design or architecture fan will love the way the exhibitions have been laid out, built asking to be touched with tactile materials such as Jenga-walled room, curved wood panels, chains and concrete. You might want to prepare something uplifting to do after your visit however as the museum is very touching.
The Chocolate Shop
Which brings me nicely on to…
Du Rhône Chocolatier, aka the last chocolatier to produce their sweet treats in Geneva itself. We were lucky enough to meet with Maître Chocolatier Jean-Pascal Sérignat who is head chocolate man at the prestigious chocolate shop. At 142 years old (the shop, not him), it’s quite the accolade. He tells us that these days, much to our surprise, it’s hard to find genuine fine hand made Swiss chocolate. Production is small as the manufacturing process is just a few men and a few, slow machines that produce the chocolates at a natural rate for cooling to happen naturally. Du Rhone Chocolatier are stocked in 12 different shops around the world but the milk, butter and cream all come from Switzerland.
We had the pleasure of watching Mr Sérignat temper white chocolate on a marble table and then created our own heart shaped shell decorations which he cooled for us to take away. Fancy creating your own confections? Take part in one of their workshops here.
Geneva by foot
Lastly, I would simply recommend a good snoop around the city by foot. Despite my two visits to the city, I still feel like there’s more to explore in those little lanes. Walking around is also sure to get your camera going whether you’re peering over the streets at Place du Bourg-de-Four or taking a time-lapse of you walking past Europe’s longest bench.
Finish your evening with a drink at Bottle Brothers or dine and then dance the night away at Brasserie Des Halles de L’ile, a restaurant and bar on an island down in the river. A mouthful to say for a very good mouthful to eat.
Thank you so much to the Geneva Live tourist board for inviting me to rediscover their city, the water and the countryside. Take a look at their very useful website for loads more tips and places to visit.
What I Wore In Geneva: