48 Hours in Geneva: Part I

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48 hours in Geneva. Where to go? What to do? Those are the exact questions I found answers to during a recent whirlwind trip to this beautiful city two weeks ago. In collaboration with Swiss Air and the Geneva Board of Tourism, I was treated to perfect weekend exploring Geneva along with a group of fellow travel bloggers from the UK. It was my second time visiting Switzerland and my first time visiting their French city, so I couldn’t wait to find out just what it had to offer…

I’m sure some of you find yourself in Geneva for work, meetings or maybe on your way to a ski resort. If you have only a short stop over, make sure you spare some time for Geneva, you won’t be disappointed. We were lucky enough to have a lovely guide from the tourist board, Pascal, to show us around. He allowed us to see the city through Genevese eyes, away from the tourists hotspots, and instead where the locals spend their time. In today’s post I’m going to talk about my first 24 hours in Geneva and hopefully inspire you to come visit the city yourself one day…

A R R I V E   I N   G E N E V A

We took an early Swiss Air flight from Heathrow to arrive in Geneva mid-morning, perfect timing to maximise our day. Now Londoners will appreciate my excitement on this point, but when we had arrived at the airport we took at FREE SEVEN MINUTE train journey to city centre. 1) Seven minutes??!! (nothing in London takes seven minutes) 2) Free?? (you can pick up your free ticket before you leave the baggage collection area). As soon as we arrived at the central station, we were greeted by warm sunshine and Pascal, who took us on our short walk to the hotel. Our home for a few nights was to be the Mandarin Oriental… to say I felt spoilt was an understatement! We checked-in, freshened up and headed out to the city.

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Fly in style with Swiss Air

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T A K E  A  S T R O L L

Following check-in (with the most smiley and polite staff) and our cameras, sunglasses and Geneva City Passes in tow, we were ready get out and start exploring. Our first point of call was the old town. I’m a sucker for European architecture, the narrow winding streets, colourful shutters etc, so this was exactly my kind of stroll. It was tranquil, beautiful, and according to Pascal, very, very exclusive amongst Genevese. One of the most interesting things we spotted was a little room that almost jutted out, like an overhang. It turns out that these rooms are called cabinotier (below left) and are where the watchmakers used to work. They were constructed to stick out of the building, so the watchmakers could have access to as much as natural light as possible. Of course, being in the country of most beautiful watches, this gave us a little bit of insight into where it all began…

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G E T   C L I M B I N G

Making our way through the city we passed La Treille, the world’s longest wooden bench and the St Pierre Cathedral. Climbing to the top of the cathedral is one of the best ways you can see the city, so on that beautiful day it was a must-do. We were blessed with a stunning afternoon of crisp air and blue skies, making for wonderful photographs. Listening to the bells chime, we took in the beauty of Geneva. From the top, you can see exactly where Switzerland ends and France begins…

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The view from the cathedral – France is the mountain on the right!

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C O F F E E  B R E A K

After our long stroll, it was time for a much needed coffee break (i.e. some caffeine after the early flight). Now knowing we were from London, where nowadays there tend to be a lot of coffee snobs, Pascal took us to this sweet little latte hideout with some of the best coffee in town, Birdie. He told us they did fabulous flat whites (my preferred potion) and he wasn’t wrong. This is a great place if you love a good brew and cheeky piece of cake – but don’t expect to do any work there as they have a no-laptop policy, which isn’t a bad thing to be honest, says the girl who goes everywhere with her laptop.

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A  V I E W  F R O M  T H E  T O P

After fuelling up on caffeine and snacks, we headed off for our next mini-adventure – taking a cable car to the top of Mont-Salève. We took a city bus to the summit and you’ll be pleased to know that all tourists receive a free public transport card at their hotel. This lets you travel wherever you want throughout the city for free (this could only exist in Switzerland!) Following the short cable car ride up the mountain, we met with a fellow group of bloggers also visiting the city, but who had a slightly different itinerary to ours… They would be taking the cable car up and paragliding down….! Needless to say I was in awe of the view, but glad to be keeping my feet on the ground (though when we met them later on, they said it was one of the best experiences of their life) The air was so fresh at the top and we had a stunning view of the biggest lake in the Europe, Lake Geneva. For those of you who love a good hike, you can carry on walking further up for 20 minutes and get a perfect view of Mont Blanc.

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Take a cable car up Mont- Salève for a perfect view of the city…

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W I N D I N G   D O W N 

Descending back into Geneva, I was in awe of just how much of this beautiful city I’d seen in one day. With the amazing weather and friendly people, Geneva was getting a big thumbs up so far… We made our back way to the Mandarin, ready for dinner and cocktails at La Riviera, their French restaurant inspired by the Cote D’Azur. I enjoyed a delicious piece of fresh fish, accompanied with a gorgeous white wine made only a few miles from Geneva. What a way to finish a fabulous 24 hours… Stay to tuned to find out what the next 24 had in store…

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A gorgeous dinner at La Riviera, Mandarin Oriental

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