City Centre, the best area to stay in Geneva
The city centre area of Geneva is particularly diverse and has won many admirers for this factor, which surrounds the lake and river and has some of the most awe-inspiring tourist sites that capture the history of the city as well as the modern attractions. One of the most talked about things to see is the Jet d’Eau, which sits in the lake and happens to be the world’s tallest monument and dazzles visitors as it pumps water 140 metres into the air.
The best way to see it is at night when it is lit up and there are a couple of shows that happen most nights but as well as this you can also take a boat cruise out to the fountain too and get right up close. All around the lake there are lovely promenades to walk along and you can relax at one of the lakeside parks or at the Bains des Paquis, which is the ‘beach’ and is where you can have a swim from.
From the lake, it is only a short but uphill walk to the picturesque Old Town that contains a maze of ancient small streets and squares that are filled with authentic cafes, restaurants, museums and art galleries. However, the main attraction is without a doubt is the famous St. Pierre’s Cathedral and cannot be missed as it sits at the highest point of the area. The Cathedral was built in the 12th century and offers magnificent panoramic views of Geneva as well as being the largest archaeological site that is to the north of the Alps.
The centre square of the Old Town, Bourg-de-Four, is the oldest part of the city and was once used by the Romans as a market but today is full of coffee shops, restaurants and marble medieval fountains, which gives it that authentic and unique feeling of tradition.
You will also find many souvenir shops, ice cream places, newsagents and many chocolate stores that are great to munch on whilst taking in the elegant and cultured buildings that you pass by. Another popular place to see is the Travel House, which was built by the Maison family in the 12th century and this makes it the oldest house in the city. It was purchased by the city of Geneva in 1963 and was turned into a museum that focuses on the history of the city and has many artefacts and historical objects on show to the public.
Close by to the Old Town include Geneva’s main shopping street called Rue du Marche, which has everything from clothes to electronics and Rue du Rhone is where you will find many shops that sell world famous branded-watches as well as jewellery. The Reformation Wall is also nearby to the Old Town, which portrays the major reformers in Europe and is located in the gorgeous Bastions Park. Following on from here, you will notice Place Neuve, a square that is bounded by the Grand Opera Theatre, Rath Museum and the Conservatory of Music and come here to the see the amazing architecture even if you don’t see a show.
Other must-sees include the Palais des Nations, which is the European headquarters of the United Nations and acts as a major centre of world diplomacy. A guided tour will take you around the grounds as well as the impressive Assembly Hall, exhibition hall and library. There are many museums to see in the city centre with the pick of them being the International Museum of the Reformation, which looks at the ties between Geneva and the Reformation, the Red Cross Museum provides evidence of their humanity work towards various wars and natural disasters. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is another famous place of interest and holds the works produced by Swiss and internationally known artists.
The city centre in Geneva is spoilt for choice when it comes to international cuisine and even though there are many restaurants that serve traditional dishes like fondues, there is also Japanese, Thai, European and seafood speciality places. For pubs and bars, the Old Town is the best spot as there are many traditional establishments that offer a wide selection of alcohol and at the same time as sipping on a fresh cold beer you have one of the best views of the city at your feet. The centre also has the highest number of hotels and hostels that appeal to every person’s budget and these generally have better facilities than other area in Geneva.