An insiders view of Geneva

The Wanderers in conversation with Kristelle Gentina

Everything the guide books or tourism websites won’t tell you about the place.

One little known fact/trivia that everyone should know about when travelling to Geneva..

The Geneva Transport Card is your free passport to Geneva’s transport network, which means that taking the tram, the bus and the train within Geneva, will not cost you a penny.  You even can cross the lake with the yellow taxi-boats for free. If you stay in a hotel, a youth hostel or at a campsite, you receive the Geneva Transport Card free of charge.  This personal and non-transferable card is offered to you at arrival. During your stay in Geneva, you can use the entire Geneva transport network (UNIRESO) bus and tram (TPG), train (CFF) and taxi-boats (Mouettes Genevoises).  If you arrive at Geneva International Airport, you can get an 80-minute ticket free of charge for a ride to the place of your accommodation. The ticket machine is in the luggage retrieval hall at the airport.

One take-away after a visit to Geneva..

A box of Favarger chocolates – This delicate, high-quality chocolate is a world-famous Geneva speciality. The company, founded in 1826, was initially located on the Pont de l’Ile (in order to use the waters of the Rhone to drive the machinery), but in 1875 it moved to Versoix. Specialities include ‘Avelines’, ‘Nougalines de Genève’ and chocolate fondue.

What is your advice to first time travellers?

Once you check in at your hotel, go straight to the shore of the lake and enjoy the beautiful view of our Geneva’s Water Fountain (Jet d’eau) and the Mont Blanc in the backdrop (Europe highest summit).

One thing to definitely pack when travelling to Geneva.

A pair of sunglass and extra luggage space to bring all your souvenirs and chocolates back with you.

One activity anyone travelling to Geneva should not miss.

One of Geneva Tourism new product:  the Geneva Mystery – a great discovery of the Old Town where you are the hero of your own story.

Where should anyone, travelling to Geneva, definitely get their picture taken.

In front of the Jet d’Eau or in front of the flower clock!

Which is the best place to get a panoramic photo?

At the top of St Peter Cathedral North tower!

After climbing the 157 stairs of the tower, you can enjoy a 360° view of Geneva.

Best place to enjoy sunset/sunrise?

Les Bains des Pâquis – All year round; the Bains des Pâquis is for those who know how to relax.
The ‘city beach’ lies just across from the Jet d’Eau. Visitors can enjoy a splendid view of the lake. Every season has its own activities, but it’s one of the coolest place to enjoy the sunrise.

Most romantic place to take a special someone to..

I would suggest the Rose Garden of the Parc La Grange!
The Parc La Grange has the most beautiful rose garden in Geneva with more than 200 varieties of roses. Adjacent to the Parc des Eaux-Vives, the Parc de la Grange has a splendid view of the lakeside. In summer, the Théâtre de la Verdure organises free concerts here. The Parc de la Grange is one of Geneva’s lakeside parks where you can relax without leaving the city and is a legacy from the Favre family in Geneva who gave it to the city in 1918 and opened it to the public. At the lower end of the park is a gate which leads to the Parc des Eaux-Vives. A manor house with fountains and beautiful flower gardens dominates the gentle slope leading to the lake.

Best place to have local food?

Definitely the Brasserie de l’Hotel de Ville : Grand-Rue 39, 1204 Genève!

Your favourite local dish and drink that you would recommend.

Anyone travelling along the sunny side of Lake Geneva will notice them time and again on menus – freshly caught “filets de perches” (perch fillets), served fried, à la meunière, or in a fine white-wine sauce!

Professional fishermen sail out onto the lake early in the morning to collect the perch from their nets. Their glittering catch can be bought at the harbours in Lausanne, Montreux and Vevey, as well as at the region’s markets. Or you can simply head out onto a breakwater with your rod and try your luck.

One place only the locals would know.

During summer, trendy locals would invade a private beach (normally reserved for a windsurfing school) and enjoy DJ music and freshly squizz juice at LE TROPICAL CORNER.

The best pub and best place to catch up for a drink..

One of my favourite pubs in town is La Clémence. Located in the Old Town, this bar/café is the meeting point of local Genevean. Enjoy our local beer: the calvinus. This beer is an unfiltered organic beer
that has been brewed by the Papinot brothers for 10 years now. It is made from spring water and organically grown barley, hops and yeast; it’s fresh and tasty. There are three types: light, wheat and dark.

La Clémence : Place du Bourg-de-Four 20, 1204 Genève

A local festival you feel more travelers should come and see

The Geneva Festival – Imagine a month of festivities taking place, and to crown it all, one of the world’s most spectacular musical firework displays. A city celebrating!

Hundreds of concerts and activities, a huge funfair, more than 200 food stalls, as well as arts and crafts stands… The whole world seems to be attending the Fêtes de Genève.

Things guide books will not tell anyone about Geneva?

During summer, enjoy a free private transfer on a luxury motor boat to one of the best five stars hotel in town, La Réserve  – Only few people know that this free ride exist and is allowed to anyone (hotel resident or none resident).

At la Réserve, enjoy a beautiful view of the Alps and pamper yourself in their beautiful garden.

Is there any particular month you would not recommend travel to Geneva and what would that reason be?

I think that the month to avoid travelling to Geneva is November.

The weather is not the best, very cold and windy and the city is very calm. People are not buzzing anymore as it is the end of summer and are not ready yet for the Christmas shopping fever.

What is the best month to visit Geneva?

To me the best month to come is June-beginning of July. The weather is as its best, the sun sets late, so you can enjoy a typical summer day. You can enjoy a swimming session in the lake, or just a sunbath in one of Geneva’s park and garden, and enjoy Geneva’s best quality of life.

 In one sentence, Geneva is… A world on its own!

Kristelle is the PR & Media Relations Manager for Tourism Geneva and  in charge of the overseas markets including India. She feels her multi-cultural background is what has made me fall in love with the travel industry!

Born and raised in Geneva, she started her career in Paris and London.  She always loved travelling and loves to be connected to people. Working in Travel PR has helped her unite her two passions. 

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