March 26, 2010 / 1:12 PM / 9 years ago

Travel Postcard: 48 Hours in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters Life!) - Cosmopolitan and diverse. Got 48 hours to spare in the city of diplomacy, luxury and money? The United Nations, humanitarian organizations, the watchmaking industry and a major financial center all live alongside one other in the Swiss city of Geneva.

The buildings of the European headquarters of the United Nations are seen in front of the city of Geneva with Lake Leman and the Jet d'Eau fountain August 1, 2009. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors to get the most out of a short stay in a City of Peace.


1 p.m. Jump on the bus to the Palais des Nations for a guided visit of the U.N.’s European headquarters. Visits are organized in more than 15 languages ( Go next door afterwards to the International Red Cross and Crescent museum, which offers permanent and temporary exhibitions. You will see photos, films, objects and documents on the history of the Red Cross and on their previous and current activities around the world (

5 p.m. Walk back to the city center along Rue de Lausanne, pass by the building of the well known humanitarian organization Medecins sans Frontieres ( and next door see the prestigious Ferrari and Maserati car dealership. If you do not feel like walking take the tram to the train station.

5.30 p.m. Stroll around from the train station to the Leman Lake through streets with windows full of Cuckoo Clocks, Swiss knives, watches and souvenir shops. One of Switzerland’s biggest department stores is located in this neighborhood. Manor on 6 rue Cornavin is chock full of gifts, fashion, homeware, beauty and food (

7 p.m. Start Friday evening in the Paquis neighborhood, lively at night and full of bars and restaurants of all sorts of ethnic origins. Facing Lake Geneva, the quarter also has some of the city’s most expensive and elegant hotels.

For a traditional Swiss dinner with traditional Swiss music and entertainment go to the Edelweiss restaurant. Book a table before going though ( If cheese-based dishes are not for you, Paquis also has a wide range of restaurants offering all sorts of international cuisines.

10 p.m. Continue your night at the Palais Mascot on 43 rue de Bern for live music in their cabaret and stay on for clubbing in their Zazou club (


10 a.m. After breakfast in your hotel start the day with a breath of fresh air in front of the Jet d’Eau on Lake Geneva and start walking toward the Jardin Anglais to discover the famous Flower Clock symbol of the watch making industry of Geneva. With the largest second hand of the world more than 2.5 meters (yards) long, made with over 6,500 flowers it is maintain by the talented gardeners of the Service of Green Spaces and the Environment of Geneva. Then keep walking to L’Ile Rousseau between Pont du Mont-Blanc and the Pont des Bergues for another panoramic view of Geneva.

Rest and contemplate the state of nature next to the statue of Genevan writer and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau made by the sculptor James Pradier in 1834.

11 a.m. Interested in seeing an impressive number of luxury watches and jewelry shops selling the most expensive brands? Just cross the road from L’Ile Rousseau to Rue du Rhone for the most luxurious street in Geneva.

12 a.m. Go for lunch at Molino on Molard Place, a Swiss chain offering a wide range of Italian dishes. They have opened restaurants in several cities all around Switzerland, the restaurant is big enough that you should not have to book a table.

1 p.m. Start your afternoon and catch a tram or walk to the Plaine of Plainpalais for the largest outdoor flea market of Geneva where locals go to sell their old and often valuable “junk’, you will find furniture, dish sets, antiques or vintage clothing.

3 p.m. Head across the Plaine to Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers to visit the museum of the Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe ( for an impressive collection of luxurious watches and the history of the Swiss watchmaking industry. Next door, the Modern and Contemporary Art museum ( will offer you a broad range of videos, paintings, photographs, and sculptures from public and private collections and temporary exhibitions.

6 p.m. In the Plainpalais neighborhood there are several possibilities for drinks, dinner and music. Try the young and friendly atmosphere of Le Calamars ( or Le Cirkus ( Each have a bar area and restaurant and if you don’t want to move on to somewhere else they have DJs playing later in the evening.

For a quieter evening the Café-Glacier Remor ( will offer you a relaxing “Brasserie” style atmosphere for drinks and dinner offering Swiss, French and Italian dishes.

Or right opposite the Unimail University there is a lively Anglo-Saxon Pub Le Lady Godiva ( If you are lucky you may see a few Swiss soldiers in uniform. There is a Swiss Army barracks not far from the pub. Drinks, pub grub TV screens for top sports events and parties are feature with occasional appearance of disc jockeys during the year.


11 a.m. Head to the charming Carouge quarter — granted to the King of Sardinia during the 18th century. Start your day with a brunch at Le Cheval Blanc for a buffet of brioches, quiches, salads, cheeses, chocolate cakes and jams ( With a full stomach stroll around Carouge to enjoy the stylish and artistic atmosphere of this village with artist studios, tiny boutiques, bistros and restaurants.

2 p.m. Cross the Arve river walk back toward Place Neuve or take the tram and stop at the Parc des Bastions to see the locals playing chess and the Reform wall. The 100 meter-long wall, constructed from 1909 to 1917 holds four statues of the four protagonists of Protestant reform John Calvin the leader of the Reformation movement and the spiritual father of Geneva, Guillaume Farel the first to preach the Reformation in Geneva, Theodore Beza Calvin’s successor and John Knox Scottish preacher and founder of Presbyterianism in Scotland.

3 p.m. Walk up to the delightful Old Town to discover pedestrian streets, see the Town Hall and discover the Saint Pierre Cathedral, a 12th century Romanesque-Gothic church with a Neoclassical facade and an eclectic design from centuries of restorations and reconstructions. Take the time to walk up the 157 steps to get a superb panoramic view overlooking the city and Lake Geneva.

4 p.m. Go to the Tavel House, the oldest mansion of Geneva, dated 1334. It is now a museum on the daily life of the Genevan population from the 14th to the beginning of the 20th century and also a host for temporary exhibitions.

5 p.m. Make a visit to the fabulous Byzantine-style Russian Orthodox Church. The Grand Duchess Anna Fyodorovna, a long-time resident of Geneva, funded its construction. It was completed in 1866, its golden domes illuminate the area and will be easy for you to spot.

6 p.m. Walk back to Place Bourg-de-Four in the Old Town for drinks in one of Geneva’s traditional bars or restaurants, the Demi-Lune has a bar area and offer international cuisine in their restaurant next door (

8 p.m. Or go back near the Town Hall for dinner at Hotel de Ville restaurant and café on 39 Grand-Rue for local and international food in a warm atmosphere or next door go to Les Armures restaurant for Swiss and French cuisine with Middle Age style decoration

Editing by Paul Casciato

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