Geneva | A First Glance

One of the most picturesque final approaches in Europe is the one into Geneva airport, which mostly lets you enjoy a wonderful mountain panorama combined with fantastic lake views as the plane smoothly glides towards the runway. Astonishingly, I had never had a layover here in the past 20 years. But that was just about to change.

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Up to five flights a day from my home base Munich makes it easy to reach

It was the third overnight during a four nights Early Bird pattern, yet getting up at 3:30 am would not prevent me from exploring one of the few European cities that I had never really been to (except going back and forth). And since the cabin crew went along quite well, it was the three of us heading out together.

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Most of our hotels are normally well located in or close to the city centers. Here in Geneva, we stay close to the airport. But with a fab gym and huge indoor pool as well as a close-by bus stop, it was actually a great compromise which also came with a free bus ticket to use the entire day. How wonderful is that?

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So we did not lose much time after our arrival to the hotel at early afternoon, got changed and just moments later found ourselves already aboard Bus 5 with direction towards the city center. A good place to exit is Place de Cornavin which is right in front of the main train station.

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From here it was just a 10 minutes walk down Rue des Alpes towards the lake. The famous Jet d´Eau (water fountain) is probably the most prominent site and a landmark for Geneva.

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The fountain was originally built as a pressure relief valve for the water pipes that supplied the jewelry makers´machines and reaches around 140 meters in height. In 1891 it was transferred into the lake basin to become one of the city´s most photographed site.

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From the Pont du Mont-Blanc you can take a beautiful 180 degree panorama of the city and the lake inlcuding the fountain.

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Jardin Anglais is a beautiful public park right at the lake´s shore where people gathered to enjoy this beautiful and sunny winter´s day. From here, it was only a short hop over to the main shopping pedestrian zone called Rue de la Croix-d´Or. Switzerland is one of Europe´s most expensive countries and you can find all the big luxury brands, as well as main stream shops such as Zara, H&M and others all around this area.

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Towering above the elegant scenery is the massive cathedral up the hill. This is where you will find the historic part of town of Geneva. Very reminiscent of a traditional French town.

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The beautiful square Bourg-de-Four came just at perfect timing for a café au lait in the warm winter sun. The terrace of cafe La Clémence was so inviting and the hip and international crowd was absolutely fun to watch.

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As it was already 3 pm, there was not much time left to walk these historic side streets before it would get dark again.

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So without looking at a map, we decided to just stroll through the picturesque scenery, soaking up the beauty of each moment that was waiting behind each corner.

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We made a quick stop at the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre Genève, which I found to be rather unspectacular from the inside though. I have to admit, that Gothic architecture is just partly my thing.

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The Old Arsenal displays a series of canons decorated by mosaics portraying Caesar’s arrival in the city in 58 B.C. .

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The Promenade de la Treille offers great views over the university and the mountain ranges in the background.

Unfortunately, it was already time to head back to the hotel. I would have loved to see a bit more of this beautiful Swiss city, but it looked like I needed to come back another time. At least, I could snap a few more photographic impressions on the way back towards the main station.

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So, I would say a pretty neat destination for a romantic getaway combined with (expensive) shopping and French inspired cuisine, don´t you think? If you want to know more about what you can explore in town, click here.

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