There’s a famous song, covered by numerous people, called ‘I Left my Heart in San Francisco’ and whilst I’ve never been, I know the feeling well. Albeit with Geneva.
t’s probably the only European city I’ve visited that I could imagine myself living in (which makes sense as it’s also one of the most expensive and I like to live beyond my means) but it completely stole my heart and I can’t wait to return.
As I’m planning to do that this year, I thought I’d write a little pre-visit post, both serving as a reminder to myself of how beautiful it is, but also to show you all and hopefully convince you to visit this amazing city!
A couple of years ago I visited Geneva for work experience at the United Nations offices. Whilst there, I spent time with the UNHCR, ILO, WIPO, WMO, UNEP (the UN like their acronyms) and I also went for a presentation and chat with the ICRC and Médecins Sans Frontières.The United Nations does offer a tour around the Palais des Nations for around 12CHF, but it’s worth checking here for times and opening dates before you visit. It’s well worth it. Probably the most beautiful location (You can see Lake Geneva). The ICRC and Red Cross have a museum as well. which is worth a visit!
If you do like shopping then Geneva is your city. Especially if you’re in to your watches. Geneva is home to many of the world’s most famous brands, and it’s worth visiting their shops (often with small museums close by), even if only to stare at the beautiful products on sale. Patek Phillipe, Piaget are found on the Rue du Rhone, along with many other shops!
There was a standing joke in Geneva that I heard a number of times, and have to share with you.
Why should I buy this $100,000 watch?
Because you can’t take a yacht to a restaurant.
Very true, and a I stand by my fact that a good watch can set off any outfit perfectly. Mine was nowhere near £100,000 though!
Rue du Rhone and Rue du Marche make up the main shopping streets and you’ll find both designer and non designer shops here… and yes, beauty bloggers, there is even a Lush!
The Old Town is beautiful as well, and full of small quirky shops, art and antiques.
There are so many parks, it’s so easy to hop on and off the trams and it’s so, so beautiful. I went in Autumn, when all the leaves were turning.
Restaurants are everywhere, serving a variety of foods, including fondue (yes, please) but one thing to be aware of if is that Geneva is a very expensive city. Service is included in prices but for 2 people to eat in the evening, expect to pay a minimum of around 50-60 CHF. We ate at lunch mostly as many places offer special deals, and then grabbed food at a supermarket in the evening.
Even a standard Mcdonald’s meal is about 15 CHF (£10)
Personally, I can’t think of anything worse than visiting a beautiful city and eating Mcdonalds, but if you are that way inclined then be prepared for the cost.
Montreux, home of the world famous jazz festival, lyrics from smoke on the water, home of Mountain Studios, home of the Freddie Mercury Memorial Day and also the Freddie Mercury statue.
As some of you will know, I am a huge Queen fan. Huge. Massive. So when I had a free afternoon, I hopped on the train to Montreux. It took an hour from Geneva and cost 15 CHF. This price included free entry to the castle. The train was clean, spacious and better than anything in the UK. (as a comparison, for me to make the 1hr trip from Eastleigh to London it’s about £40)
I got a little bit emotional, but it’s ok, I wasn’t alone in this!
Freddie Mercury loved Montreux so much that he moved here and made the last Queen Album here. He once famously said “If you want peace of soul, come to Montreux”