Sorry this post has been so long coming, I’ve been super duper busy, but that’s no excuse!
At the beginning of this month, I stayed with my family in the outskirts of glamorous Geneva, Switzerland. The city is magical, scenic and stylish, and is especially wonderful when achieved in an affordable way. This was the lucky case for us as we have family friends who live in a newly renovated, modern house overlooking both the lake and the French Alps (including the tip of Mont Blanc… incredible!) We were hugely lucky to be offered the opportunity to house- and dog-sit (for the lovely Keeley dog) while our friends were away, and what a time we had!
The outskirts of Geneva, Coppet to be specific, provides the perfect location for a vast range of activities and adventures. Indeed we spent time in the city centre, on the lake and its beaches, and even made several trips over the nearby borders to France!
Our visit coincided with Fêtes de Genève, the 10 day ‘Geneva Celebrations.’ A visit to the city centre one evening meant dinner at the most amazing burger restaurant in the world: Holy Cow!
This was followed by a wander around a huge fair and live music along both sides of the lake. The size of my candy floss reflected the enormity of such an event. Over the next few days, there was a definite festive atmosphere around the city, erupting into fireworks which we watched from our exclusive balcony view!
Despite the temptation to lounge by the pool, in the hot tub or on the hammock, in front of such a killer view, we did leave the house every now and then. But a glass of rosé in the hot tub never went amiss!
European food shopping holds a nostalgic and warm place in my heart as a memory of exciting childhood times where numerous new and foreign yoghurts, crisps, and the compulsory jar of Nutella were bought as treats! We relished trips to the French supermarkets, farmers markets and even found the Swiss version of Waitrose: ‘Manor’ (a definite highlight for me!)
Divonne-les-Bains market could have been the inspiration for any French romance novel, located in the traditional and quaint streets; stalls offer cheese, salami, fresh fruit and veg, clothes of cream, beige and white, breads, wines, you name it! The town becomes buzzing with shoppers every Sunday who spend a fortune in the morning and replenish their energy with a typically French long lunch, served with wine from the late morning and into the early evening.
We spent some time in Nyon, a lovely town just down the coast, home to THE most amazing ice cream parlour!
I finally made my selection after much deliberation… Cookie Ice Cream! I have since tried the Profiterole and it was life changing.
We also so spent a glorious day on a quiet beach by the lake.
I tried my hand at paddle boarding, finding myself a natural, if I may say so myself! We made a classic French picnic of baguette, brioche, cheese, salami and salad and munched it up, soaking in the scorching sun. We soaked up too much as it turned out, as we all returned home as red as the Swiss flag or the tomatoes we had consumed at lunch!
Geneva may well be costly, but if you can find a way round such a barrier, it is a truly remarkable city: clean, punctual, safe and elegant. Not only is the city a must-visit-location, but also the landscape surrounding it: the lake-beaches offering sun, water and even sports, the French Alps or Swiss Jura, and the nearby beautiful towns of France and the border.
Like the lovely Nyon, complete with castle and beautiful view.
But yes, there’s no doubt Geneva is an affluent city…
…but also a wonderfully proud one, as their apples suggest!
Either way, I dream of living here one day.
P.s. If you are ever in Geneva, please please give Holy Cow a visit, you absolutely will not regret it!