In my youth, I spent three months traipsing around a city of chocolate, clocks, and cows: Geneva, Switzerland. Ostensibly to refine my French, I revelled in my independence abroad. Given that I was almost 16, a “good kid,” and had a total of $400 for frivolous spending, you can imagine how not-crazy I was. Still, I have fond memories of this time and chuckle at how little I knew. So I took the opportunity to revisit Geneva back in April – this time with older eyes, a bigger budget, and most importantly: an empty stomach.
Day 1: Le Chat Botté, The Jetty, Bistrot Du Boeuf Rouge
After the fairly easy trip over the Atlantic, I arrived in Geneva and met up with Endy. We made our way over to the Hôtel Auteuil; conveniently located near the station and a quick walk to the banks. While I’d wandered all over rive gauche, I’d never found myself on this side of the banks often enough to recall it. So everything felt new to me, never mind the fact that it had been over a decade since I’d last loitered in Geneva. After a bit of a rest at the hotel, we decided to take a really slow meander about and enjoy the start of what felt like a very decadent European jaunt.
Most of the day was spent walking along the banks and sitting on the jetty to enjoy the warmth of the sun and soak in sounds of people enjoying their afternoon with friends and family (despite it being Friday).
My first meal back on Swiss soil was lunch at Le Chat Botté, a 1-star Michelin restaurant. It seemed fitting that the hotel view faced Lac Genève and the Jet d’Eau and it was a solid example of what fine-dining is like in European restaurants. Read the full post on Le Chat Botté >
With no fixed plans for dinner, we wandered the city for random inspiration. It was during our meanderings that I discovered that Geneva had a lot of high-end shops (why hello, M. Louboutin!). And more importantly: a Ladurée. With twilight approaching, the burnished gold letters were bathed in the warm glow of the fading sun, a siren call to my sweet-tooth. It was magical.
It was also closed.
After making note of the hours, we continued on our stroll and ultimately, we chose to hit a restaurant we’d scoped out earlier: Bistrot Du Boeuf Rouge. It turned out to be an excellent choice. Really hearty dishes, great flavours, a comfortable room. And a bottle of wine (more on that next week).
Day 2: A Market, Philippe Rochat
Originally, we had planned to visit CERN, but we slept in instead. We did, however, manage to hit a street market. Not the one I had planned on (that had ended hours ago, silly tourists!), but one we happened upon at Place de la Fusterie. I bought some forest berries to munch on, but the romance of the moment *cue images of a rustic Swiss countryside* did not extend into reality. I was sadly disappointed with their mushy texture and sour taste. I had also briefly considered going to a chocolate festival in Versoix (we’d spied the flyer the day before), but in the end, passed.
And in the late afternoon, we boarded the train that would take us around Lac Léman, through idyllic hills, and past a multitude of picturesque lake-side villages and towns. Our destination was Crissier, an hour or so out of Geneva, and ultimately, to have a meal at Michelin three-starred restaurant, Philippe Rochat (more in a couple of weeks).
Day 3: Zurich
Visited some friends in Zurich and toured the city on a quiet Sunday. Had an amusing ride in the cable car as we tried to divine our future meal. Couldn’t quite place it with “has cheese and bacon” but nailed it the second the word “guanciale” was uttered. Our hosts made a delicious Carbonara sided with asparagus.
Day 4: Treats for home
Of utmost importance on the last morning was to hit Ladurée and bring some macarons home to my sister. Not only did I secure the delicate goods, but I also scored two Swiss-themed boxes to ferry the fragile cookies home in. It is my favourite souvenir of the weekend.
A short trip. A good trip.
More Photos From Geneva
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