Living in Geneva

I'm living in Geneva for the next few months and will share with you the things that tourists and locals do. I'll be updating as time goes on so keep visiting!


Living in Geneva

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by xine on June 26, 2001

Take a stroll along Lake Geneva and see the Jet d'eau.

Listen to over 200 bands play at the Fete de la Musique (Music festival) that takes place at the end of June.

Take the number 12 or 13 bus/tram into Carouge and check out the little boutiques in this bohemian town.

Sunbathe at the Paquis.

Go bar hopping in the Old Town. ${QuickSuggestions} Stores here tend to be open from 9am-6pm with extended hours on Thursday until about 8pm, and are closed on Sunday. Stores tend to be crowded on Saturday since everyone is stocking up for the week.

Eating out is fairly expensive in Geneva so if you want to save money, buy your groceries at Migros, Coop or EPA. Or grab a warm panini from the panini truck across from the Conferderation Centre near the Old Town.

There are over 30 museums in Geneva and most are open on Sundays so save the museums for rainy days or Sundays when nothing else is open.

For anyone interested in studying French, German, cooking, dancing, etc., check out the Migros Ecole Club. They offer a wide variety of classes at reasonable prices.

If you're reliant on your credit card, do your grocery shopping at Migros. They take Visa and Mastercard, but Coop only takes the Eurocard. I believe EPA also takes credit cards.${BestWay} Public transportation is very convenient in Geneva. Buses and trams will take you virtually anywhere in the city from 6 am to about 12 am. The fare is 2.20 SFr for a ticket lasting one hour. You can purchase the tickets at the machine in front of the bus stop. There are also daily passes for 5 SFr. If you're here for the long haul (like me!), it's worth getting a monthly pass for 70 SFr. For under 25 and senior citizens, the monthly pass is a bargain at 35 SFr.

Geneva is also very walkable. The city is quite small and compact so you can walk from one end of the city to the other in less than an hour!

From the airport, you can either take a train (5 SFr) to Gare Cornavin or take the #10 bus (2.20 SFr). Virtually every line passes through Gare Cornavin so transfer here to your final destination.

Cabs are fairly expensive but are abundant around the train station (Gare Cornavin).

You can purchase the monthly pass at the main train station and can pick up a map of the bus routes as well.


L'Accueil

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by xine on June 26, 2001

This is an all-women's dormitory located near the Cantonal Hospital. While it's supposed to be a "residence pour jeunes filles" (residence for young women), over half of the occupants are over 25, and I've seen my fair share of grandmothers waddling around.

Rooms are very basic with a desk (with a small drawer that you can lock your valuables in), twin bed, bookshelf and small table in one part of the room, and a sink, bidet (who would've thought?!), closet and cupboard space in the other half. Showers and toilets are on each floor. There are facilities for cooking and ironing, a laundry room, public telephones, cold drink machine, a breakfast room which doubles as a common room/TV room and another common room on the 1st floor that's open 24 hours and is also a smoking room.

A simple breakfast of bread, jam, butter and your choice of coffee, tea or hot chocolate is included in the rate. Most people staying here it it for the long haul, but there are daily, weekly and monthly rates. If you're here as a student or on an unpaid internship, ask for the student rate.

Refrigerator space is available at a charge of 6 Fr per month. You get a key to your own refrigerator locker.

Staff is friendly, but the other occupants don't seem to be very social.

L'Accueil is about a 5-10 minute walk from Carouge, and is closest to the #1 or 5 bus stop "Hopital", or the #3, 12, 13 stop at Saint Augustins. A Coop, Migros, EPA and other grocery/department stores are nearby so it's very conveniently located for food shopping.

The University of Geneva is also nearby so there are quite a few young people strolling along Rue de Carouge on the weekends.

L'Accueil
8 Rue Alcide-Jentzer
Geneva, Switzerland
(41) 22 320 9277

L'Opera Bouffe

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on August 21, 2001

A bistro/cafe with both indoor and outdoor seating, L'Opera Bouffe is straight out of a scene from Bizet's "Carmen". The lights are just dim enough to make it romantic dinner if you want it to be, but light enough for it to feel comfortable if you're just there with a friend.

The menu is small with about 5 choices for appetizers, 5 entrees (one dish each: vegetarian, chicken, fish, lamb, beef) and 11 desserts-- now that's my kind of restaurant! The menu changes seasonally.

I started with the salmon carpaccio which was out of this world. It was flavored with a hint of lemon and topped with thin slices of cheese. Each sumptuous bite melted in my mouth. One of my friends had the courgettes (zucchini) stuffed with minced veal which was quite tasty. The meat was juicy and flavored with just the right amount of spices.

For my main course, I had the fish which was lightly battered and sauteed in sweet and sour sauce. It was accompanied with rice and a side of mixed vegetables. Another friend had the lamb which turned out to be lamb meatballs cooked in an oriental-style and accompanied with cucumbers in yogurt sauce and rice. Not quite what she expected, but it was still very good.

L'Opera Bouffe is known for its melt-in-your-mouth desserts. They were out of creme brulee which is supposed to be fantastic, but between the three of us, we sampled the the chocolate parfait pie, tarte tatin with gruyere creme sauce and the flan. I can highly recommend all three, but be forewarned, they are very rich!

The waitstaff is very friendly and speak English. They come by often enough so that you don't feel like they've forgotten you, but not so frequent that you feel rushed. Just the perfect pace if you want to relax, unwind and enjoy a good meal and a nice bottle of wine.

Appetizers are about $8-12, entrees $16-22 and dessert $6-8. Wine starts at about $26 a bottle. All means accompanied with french bread.

For more information, see L'Opera Bouffe's website at: http://loperabouffe.pagesjaunes.ch/.

L'Opera Bouffe
av. de Frontenex 5
Geneva, Switzerland
(022) 736 63 00

Le Relais de L'entrocôte

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by xine on December 21, 2001

No worries deciding what to eat here as there's only one option on the menu - salad and steak frites. The salad is basic - greens with walnuts and tangy dressing, but it's quite refreshing. As soon as you finish your salad, the waitperson will bring you a salad-sized plate with the main course - steak and crisp, golden fries. When you look down at , you think, I paid 36 Sfr for this? It's so small! But after cutting into the steak and taking a small bite, you'll realize that you're getting your money's worth. The meat is so tender and melts in your mouth. Fries are thinly sliced and freshly fried to perfection. And trust me, even if you're feeling full, you won't want to resist the seconds that are offered (included in your tab). Before you finish your first plate, you'll be given a second helping of steak and fries. You'll regret saying no.

Make room for dessert if you can. The profiteroles with rich chocolate sauce are simply divine.

Wait staff is friendly and service is quick so if you're in a hurry, you can get in and out in less than an hour -- that is IF you arrive promptly when they open or if you have already made reservations. We arrived right as they opened, but within half an hour the place was completely packed. Though they were busy and we had finished our meal, they allowed us to stay as long as we wanted.

Decor is old Parisian bistro-style - velvety chairs, dark wood and brass.

Relais de L'Entrecôte
49, rue du Rhône
Geneva, Switzerland, 1204
+41 22 310 60 04

Museum of Natural History

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by xine on June 26, 2001

This is the place to go if you're into moth-eaten stuffed animals or if you have kids who are fascinated by animal displays. I wasn't terribly impressed with this museum and did a quick tour of the floors to see what it had to offer (which wasn't much). Mammals and birds are on the first two floors, but then there are also displays of various mollusks and water creatures. There was also a dinosaur skeleton (although I'm not even sure it was real) on the 3rd floor. The natural history museum also has a collection of minerals and a special display on the top floor of rocks, minerals, etc. relevant to Switzerland.

There is currently a special exhibit on Mars going on, but after touring the rest of the museum, I didn't know that it'd be worth my while.

I would recommend this museum only if you've exhausted every other museum in Geneva or need shelter from the rain. If you have small children, they would probably enjoy this museum, but adults will be bored.

There is a small fee for admission to the special exhibits, but general admission is free for all. Open 9:30 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday to Sunday. For the most part, displays are all in French.

Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle
1, route de Malagnou
Geneva, Switzerland, 1208
+41 22 418 63 00

Horology Museum

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by xine on June 26, 2001

The Musee de l'Horlogerie et de l'Emaillerie is housed in a quaint little green house next to the Museum of Natural History. I actually enjoyed this little museum and learned a few things about watches/clocks while I was there. There are collections of clocks and watches as well as a room on the second floor that displays miniatures.

In the olden days, it was impolite to look at the time in front of others so they created a pocket watch that had a little needle that poked you the number of times it was to indicate the hour. How clever!

Entrance is free. Open 10am to 5pm, Wednesdy to Monday. Displays on the first floor on in French, but there are a few English explanations on the second floor.

Horology Museum - Musee de l'Horlogerie et de l'Emaillerie
15 Route de Malagnou
Geneva, Switzerland

Fete de la Musique

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on June 26, 2001

During the yearly Fete de la Musique that occurs every year for 4 days in July, hundreds of bands play at makeshift stages all over town. Vendors of all different nationalities selling clothing, jewelry, artwork and other trinkets display their wares all over the Old Town and in tents all through the night. (Most were still open at 2 am when I left!) This is also a good chance to sample international cuisine -- kebabs, samosas, curry, Vietnamese egg rolls-- whatever you're in the mood for, you're sure to find it.

The music festival kicked off on Thursday night at Place Nueve. We listened to a Serbian band play, but it was so crowded we couldn't actually see them. People had climbed to the top of the Conservatory to get a better view, but were quickly shooed off by the police.

Bands played from the afternoon until about 1 or 2 am. There was a wide variety of music -- rock, rap, jazz, swing, ethnic, etc. While there were tons of people milling about, no one really reacted to the music and most people either just stood or sat and listened rather than danced to it! A bit surprising, but I've heard that the Swiss can be pretty conversative. That didn't prevent us from dancing the night away though.

Definitely a good time!

Fete De La Musique
All over town, June 21-24, 2001
Geneva, Switzerland

Museum of Art and History

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by xine on July 22, 2001

The Museum of Art & History is perhaps the most famous museum in Geneva. It has over 500,000 paintings, sculptures and archaeological items, but the museum itself is not that large. The first floor contains contains the Fine Arts collection with paintings by Conrad Witz, Corot, Jean-Etienne Liotard, Calame, Diday, Agasse, Valloton and others. Some rooms are dedicated to specific painters. Room 411, 426 and 420 house the works of Ferdinand Hodler, Room 412 contains Valloton, 426 Cezanne and Renoir, and 413 has a wonderful collection of Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Pissaro and Renoir.

The upper ground floor houses the applied arts and has temporary exhibitions, silveware and pewterware and parts of the Castle of Zizers. The temporary exhibition I saw was an interesting display of modern art collages.

The ground floor (main entrance level) also contains applied arts and temporary exhibitions. There's also an armour room and stained-glass windows from the Middle-Ages.

The lower ground floor is the archaeology exhibits with items from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. There's also a coffee bar called "Barocco", a courtyard and a small bookstore if you want to take a break and relax.

The museum is worth a visit if you're in Geneva, but I wouldn't travel across the world just to see it. It was a nice way to pass a rainy day though.

Musée d'Art et d'Histoire
2 Rue Charles-Galland
Geneva, Switzerland, 1204
+41 22 418 34 12

International Rec Cross & Red Crescent Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on July 22, 2001

As a student of human rights and humanitarian affairs, I really enjoyed visiting the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, and would encourage anyone interested in such issues to visit the museum. Even if you don't know much about humanitarian affairs, you're bound to learn a lot by the end of your visit. The subject matter is a bit depressing, but I found the visit quite informative and thought-provoking even though it's not exactly an up-lifting experience.

I spent about 2 hours at the museum, but you could easily spend more time if you watch every single video. There was also a concert right outside the entrance the day I was there.

The museum is divided into eleven areas which I've summarized from the museum's guide:
1 - Preserving life by the written word: Founded by Henry Dunant, the Red Cross is concerned with preserving human life. Six panels with text from the Bible, Koran, Islam, etc. represent the need to preserve human life.

2 - Preserving life by acts of mercy: Background on Florence Nightingale and Nikolai Pirogov who tended to those wounded in the Crimean War. Background on Clara Barton who cared for those wounded in the Civil War.

3 - The Battle of Solferino (24 June 1859): A panoramic slide show/film that reconstructs the Battle of Solferino. After the show ends, the screen lifts up and takes you into Area 4, the Foundation of the Red Cross: Background on Henry Dunant and drafting of the First Geneva Convention.

5 - Towards universality (1864-1914) - Film to show the Red Cross' involvement in armed conflicts.

6 - The First World War and prisoners of war (1914-1918) - Files of over 2 million prisoners of war are housed in the museum. They are still referred to today.

7 - The First World War (1914-1918) - Video depicting Red Cross assistance during WWI.

8 - Between the wars (1919-1939) - Film showing the Red Cross' activities in providing social assistance and disaster relief during peacetime.

9 - The Second World War (1939-1945) - Film clips showing Red Cross assistance during WWII.

10 - From 1945 to the 1980s

11 - Today: Displays of the latest news from the field and more films and interviews.

There are computers in the main entrance near the Cafe Dunant which allow you to learn more about the Red Cross through their interactive program.

The museum is every day except Tuesday from 10:00 to 5:00 pm. Free for children under 12. To get there from Cornavin (the main train station), take the 8 or F bus to Appia or the V or Z to Ariana.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
17 Avenue De La Paix
Geneva, Switzerland, 1202
022 748 95 11

Alhambar

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by xine on July 22, 2001

The Alhambar is one of my favorite bars to go to in Geneva. It's a great place to grab a drink after work and during the weekends. There's a DJ playing music and the velvet couches are comfy if you can get a seat. On the weekends, it gets quite crowded (some guy burned me with his cigarette!) and the guy to girl ratio is along the lines of at least 5:1.

If you stick with the beer on tap, you won't go broke - Kronenberg, a French beer, is pretty good and only Sfr 3.5. Mixed drinks can get quite pricey though, but I recommend getting the strawberry daquiri with vodka. It's very fruity and refreshing. If you don't like the taste of alcohol, definitely go with the vodka as the strawberry daquir with rum is very strong and tastes medicinal.

The decor can be described as either swanky or cheesy -- feathers hanging from the ceiling, zebra print lampshades, velvet couches, vintage furniture.

Like all bars in Geneva, the Alahambar closes at 2 am. It's closed Mondays, but open every other day. Check out its website at www.alhambar.ch.

Alhambar
10 Rue de la Rotisserie
Geneva, Switzerland

American Library

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by xine on July 22, 2001

If you're living in Geneva and craving English-language books, you might want to consider getting a membership at the American Libary. Located inside a church at 3 rue de Monthoux, the American Library has a collection of over 20,000 English books. It's staffed by volunteers so in order to borrow books, you need to get a membership. Family, single and student memberships are available for 6 months and 1 year. A 6 month student membership is Sfr 40, 1 year Sfr 60; 6 month single member is Sfr 65, 1 year Sfr 90; 2 family members 6 months Sfr 75, 1 year Sfr 105, and a family membership which included dependent children and au pair is Sfr 85 for 6 months, Sfr 130 for a year. A one month membership is Sfr 25 per month, but you need to put down a deposit of Sfr 50 which will be refunded at the end.

For more information, check out their website at American Libary or email amlib@amlib.ch or call (022) 732 80 97.


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