Welcome to the City of Calvin, more commonly known as Geneva. Here you will find the headquarters of the United Nations, the Red Cross Museum and the Jet d'Eau fountain, which reaches a height of 459 feet (140 m) and is surrounded by a lakefront lined with palaces and banks as far as the eye can see. However, here we are offering you a counter-stereotype. Set your Swiss timepiece for a 48-hour guided tour with unusual and unexpected places, cafes, shops and local secrets, all carefully devised by us; a great guide to follow!
The first 24 hours
When you wake up, let the smell of artisanal coffee carry you to the Boréal Coffee Shop on rue du Stand. Grab a few cookies or other homemade breakfast delicacies to take away and head for the Parc des Bastions on foot. Admire the flourishing nature, the Reformation Wall (on your left) before climbing up to the old city to visit the Saint Pierre Cathedral. 157 steps await you to reach its summit: open your eyes wide, here is My Big Geneva, a unique panoramic view. Sip your delicious coffee and peacefully catch your breath.
The bijouterie Grégoire jewelry shop is a must-see as you stroll along the paved alleys of the old medieval city. It offers a selection of jewelry designed in the workshop as well as watches crafted with elegance and simplicity. Take a small detour to the Maison Tavel, a well-hidden urban museum for nostalgic moments before enjoying lunch on the terrace at Le Barocco, tucked away in the interior courtyard of the Museum of Art and History. Summer is well and truly here, so it's time to relax at the edge of Lake Geneva. Stroll along the Promenade du Lac before you find yourself in the lively neighborhood of Eaux-Vives. Enjoy a little shopping in the concept store Le Labo, where the owner unearths designers from near and far, as well as sensational pairs of glasses just for you. Stroll to the Parc des Eaux-Vives, right next to the Parc de la Grange, because this evening, Musiques en été offers you a free open-air concert. If you prefer the theater, stay in the Parc de la Grange and reserve your seat at the Théâtre de l'Orangerie or dine at its bistro on one of the most unusual terraces in Geneva.
Time for one last drink at the nearby Little Barrel, a rum bar where the cocktails are as exquisite as the service.
The early bird catches the worm...
The Fix Café awaits on the right bank with its local produce, delicious pastries and its retro ambience before you head to the Botanical Gardens, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. In the trendy neighborhood of Les Pâquis, Cowboy Kurt transports you to the Wild West in the authentic Western shop. A few streets away, just around the corner from the lake, you can sample the best burgers in Geneva at the Hamburger Foundation.
To reach the left bank, climb aboard a Mouette Genevoise (line M1), the historic wooden boat that provides the perfect atypical means of public transport for any self-respecting tourist. Take Tram 12 to reach the Plainpalais district, where you can visit the Patek Philippe Museum and enjoy a coffee at Birdie Food & Coffee or Café Paradiso.
In just 10 minutes, the same tram will take you as far as Carouge, a town built in the 18th century on the orders of the King of Sardinia. A change of scenery is guaranteed by taking a seat at the Auberge du Cheval Blanc for an aperitif, followed by dinner at PakùPakù, an excellent modern Japanese bistro. But if you prefer fondue, then you should head to the Vieux Carouge, an authentic local institution. Follow this with a drink at the Bar du Nord - with the largest selection of whiskies, it's great for digestion! Cheers!
A final local secret: Enjoy the twilight or the dawn on Chemin William-Lescaze where you can admire the Jonction viaduct.
Want to know more?