My City: Melissa on Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva is a world class cosmopolitan known for being one of Europe’s most polished and priciest cities. If you’re on the hunt for opportunity then Geneva may be a place to consider as it holds over 200 international organizations with powerful authority in world affairs. This (along with the excitement of living abroad) is exactly what made it the perfect fit for Melissa, an ambitious masters student studying Journalism at Columbia University. In our interview, Melissa gives us the details on Geneva’s hidden attractions that will have you dreaming of a luxury vacation filled with diversity, gorgeous scenery, divine international cuisine, and old heritage paired with booming modernization.

1. What city are you in right now? – Geneva, Switzerland

2. What’s the best kept secret about your city? – It’s extremely expensive…(shhhh!) Go to Carouge for the day, which is just across from Geneva over the L’Arve River. Here, you can listen to some live music, enjoy a quaint coffee shop after having found a new book to read at one of the adorable bookstores, go to Le Chat Noir for a drink. I think a lot of people overlook Carouge, but it’s a hidden treasure that is not to be missed.

3. Describe your city in 10 words. – Charming, international, expensive, central, progressive, clean, maneuverable, simple, cheese heaven.

There is one small and cozy creperie in the vieille ville or “old city” called Creperie St-Pierre. It’s dangerously good.


4. Favourite place to catch up on some emails? – Wherever I can get my hands on an espresso. There is one small and cozy creperie in the vieille ville or “old city” called Creperie St-Pierre. It’s dangerously delicious.

5. Best place to relax and enjoy some quiet? –  Anywhere on Sundays, as most stores/restaurants are closed. (Another secret about the city: The train station grocery store remains open on Sundays if you are in need of a baguette and/or a bottle of wine…) I highly recommend going on a walk or bike ride along Lake Geneva—if there isn’t a foot of snow on the ground, that is—or taking a hike or gondola up to Saleve mountain for breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings.

6. Best restaurant that offers atmosphere and good prices? – There is a huge outdoor flea market in Plainpalais every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. where local, delicious foods are sold at relatively reasonable prices! I am also a fan of a restaurant and bar called Brasserie des Halles de L’lle, which is a great place for an after-work drink—or two.

Be prepared to exercise some serious willpower here. Window-shopping is a life skill. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise!


7. Best shopping neighborhood and favourite store? –  The most well-known shopping streets in Geneva are Rue de Rive and Rue du Rhone. Be prepared to exercise some serious willpower here. Window-shopping is a life skill. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise!

8. Tell us about your perfect weekend? –  At the risk of sounding cliché, my perfect weekend would be one that was spent in good company, food and wine. One of Geneva’s most redeeming qualities is its centrality. My perfect weekend would probably involve taking the train t0 Lausanne, which is about a 40-minute ride from Geneva, for a wider selection of bars and a fulfilling trip to the Art Brut museum. From there, it’s pretty easy to get to the vineyards for a wine tasting in Lavaux.

9. What hotel would you recommend for women business travelers? –  I would recommend the following hotels: InterContinental Geneva, Hotel Auteuil, Le Richemond, and if you’re feelin’ extra fancy, The Four Seasons.

10. Where is the best place to meet new people in your city? – My best piece of advice with regard to meeting new people in Geneva (and anywhere else, really!) is to get out. As tired as you might be after work, fight the urge to climb into bed all of the time and, if the weather is nice, have a drink outdoors and people watch at Café Remor, for instance.

11. What are the top places you would take a visitor? – The old city, the United Nations, the jet d’Eau, Bain de Paquis for fondue, Parc des Bastions for a scenic stroll, Carouge, Saleve, Lausanne.

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Isabella Oliver Ltd. (Canada)

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