It is often said the streets of Geneva are paved with gold… not true. But there are a lot of banks. And headquarters:WHO, WTO, Red Cross, UN and World Bank to name a few. And shops, restaurants, hotels and chocolatiers that cater to the rich, most of whom have no interest in being famous. It ranks high for livability and expense. Nicknamed the Peace City it is where the eponymous convention was signed. It is a charming strikingly beautiful city filled with charming strikingly elegant people. The wonderful old town and lakeside promenade are a delight.
STAY: The Hotel d’Angleterre one of those wonderful hotels that has everything…landmark building, great views of the Jet d’Eau & Mont Blanc, boutique vibe, amazing service, lots of history and even a bit of scandal. In 1902, the Archduchess Louise of Austria ran away with her children’s tutor to Geneva and the d’Angleterre. The beds are comfy the baths huge.
Other places to stay:
The Beau-Rivage (www.beau-rivage.ch/en) … another grand luxury hotel with perfect service & rooms and tons of history
The Ritz Carlton Hotel ) https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/europe/geneva)… Grande dame on the outside, comfortable contemporary rooms on the inside, with a fabulous chocolate shop
EAT: Le Chat-Botte, puss-in-boots in English, first opening in 1967, has been helmed by an impressive series of Michelin starred chefs. Since 2001 Dominique Gauthier has been in charge, creating incredibly tasty dishes focused on carefully sourced, creatively combined ingredients whose flavours are never lost in preparation. The frog’s legs, a signature dish, are particularly divine.
Other places to eat:
La Tables du Roys (http://www.latabledesroys.com/en/) traditional food, menu’s decided each morning based on a what’s fresh, much of it cooked on the spit… take away and cooking classes too
Arabesque (https://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-information/restaurant/details/gvalc-hotel-president-wilson-a-luxury-collection-hotel-geneva/6711273/) because sometimes you don’t feel like European food and great Lebanese food is fabulous
SEE: Since 1872 the Bains des Paquis have been a place for locals and tourists to lounge, swim, see and be seen. An all year round bargain in an expensive city. Lake swim in the summer (and winter if you are brave/crazy), sauna & hammam and eat fondue. Dawn concerts are held summer mornings between 6-7 am. (https://www.bains-des-paquis.ch/en)
Other things to see:
Le Quartier des Grottes is a funky bohemian neighborhood unlike any other in Geneva. It is where about 10% of the city lives and is filled with boutiques, cafes and theatres. Most tourists visit to see Les Schtroumpfs, colorful housing blocks that look like Gaudi designed them but were in fact built in the ‘80’s. (http://www.geneva.info/grottes/)
The Red Cross & Red Crescent Museum is surprisingly moving. It tells the history of the humanitarian organization but in doing so tells the horror of war and man’s both atrocious and admirable behavior. I found it oddly uplifting and hopeful. (https://www.redcrossmuseum.ch/en/