When you think about Geneva, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Be honest. Banks? United Nations and Red Cross? Watches? Chocolate? Truth is, for the longest time, so did I. And it wasn’t a destination high on my list. I found it a little subdued and boring. And atrociously expensive for the budget-conscious nomad.
But, as it turns out, the most famous city in Switzerland has some hidden fun power. And the only way to discover it, is to do Geneva with someone whom grew up there and know the city like the back of her hand. On a warm August week-end, she took a bunch of us to see HER Geneva. And she did well.
Geneva by the lake, Geneva by the river
On a hot summer day, all we’re looking for is a body of water. Turns out, Geneva has several. We are all very familiar with the Lake Geneva (which oddly enough is called Lac Léman in French). But less known is the second main river of Geneva: the Arve which flows into the Rhône just west of the city centre. And this is where some of the magic happens, in this neighborhood called Junction.
All the way at the end, where the two rivers meet is the best swimming spot in town. And it has a cosy little bar, with great music and “cheap” (we’re still in Switzerland) beers. Good times guaranteed!
According to my friend Cécile, once you had your fun in the sun, there’s nothing like going for fondue in August. Wait what? Fondue, like in the creamy-cheesy goodness that you generally devour after a day of skiing your legs out? Yes indeed! To be honest, it was not the first time for me. I did have fondue in August, in Gruyère, the year before, on our way to Bernese Oberland.
Now, I’m going to let you in on a little insider tip: the best place to have fondue in Geneva has a very mediterranean-sounding name. It’s called the Café du Soleil. There, for a mere 23 CHF (remember, we’re still in Switzerland), you can eat your heart out of cheesy melty goodness. You’ll have to take a bus, you’ll probably have to look for it a little bit, but it’s all worthwhile. The staff was very friendly and the food delicious (and yes, for the non-cheese-crazy, there are other options).
No banks. No NGOs. No watches. No chocolate. Just a different face of Geneva. A face that shown a simpler life, and a face that I’d love to see more of.
And, I lied.
Of course, there was chocolate.
My friend Jade from ChillInLyon was part of the trip, for a french version of our adventures that weekend, it’s here!