Travel & Life Digest

Geneva in Two Days - Vielle Ville, Fondue and Burgers


Early morning flight from London, it's all worth it just to catch the sun rising over the Alps!

Attention, sil vous plais! This post contains cheesy pictures of fondue and stringy shots of melted gruyer!

Geneva is usually a gateway to the Alps and rightly so - the airport has excellent train connections to all of Switzerland, France and Germany. But if you make time for Geneva itself, you won't be disappointed. That's what we did, we caught a Swiss Air flight to Athens and stopped over for two nights.
Two days are plenty: one to see the Vielle Ville and Plainpalais and the second to tour around the UN and WTO Headquarters, finishing off in the colourful Carouge, an Italianised suburb.
Plenty of cheese involved around every step!

We stayed in Hotel N'vY, an excellent boutique hotel, two blocks away from Lac Leman and closer to Nation, where the UN, Jardin Boanique and the WTO sites are located.
It is filled with art pieces and ladies who lunch; the bar gets quite busy in the evenings too.
However, what we also soon realised is that this is not the reputable part of town, if you catch my drift. Never thought I'd say that about any neighbourhood around Geneva, especially so close to the lake, but here we are. Paquis is where the immigrant community has settled and as a result, there are loads of Indian, Turkish and Chinese restaurants, a good compromise.
On the upside, the rooms in N'vY are gorgeous, very modern, fresh and spacious, with massive comfy beds. All of your USB-wiring has been taken care of, so that we even plugged in our Chromecast to watch movies from our Netflix account.
And last but not least: our room came with free transport cards for the whole of our stay so that we didn't spend a penny on taxis. Bearing in my mind that my husband "doesn't do public transport" as he puts it, imagine how good the tram and bus system is!

Our first attempt for a good fondue was in les Armures, in the the old town.
After exploring the old town, we needed a good, traditional setting to chill at and enjoy the very reason we were in town for: fondue! This place was perfect, it had a medieval cellar feeling.

The fondue payssaine, included lardons and mushrooms in the pot, for flavour.
One pot will do nicely for two people, provided you get one more dish, like traditional sausage with Rosti, for example. We actually left very content and not full at all. Maybe the bottle of Pinot Noir helped, or the fact that we had walked up and down the entire old town beforehand.
When tackling fondue, forget about the water, you need black tea, red wine or kirsch to get things going, otherwise you'll end up with a heavy, heavy stomach.
Do you know your fondue etiquette?
- No double-dipping!
- No liking your fork!
- Clean the sides of your fondue pot first!
- Dip your bread in the pot and tap to get rid of excess cheese. Nothing worse than a fondue hogger!
A note on service around patient.
They are quick with your order but the rest of the time you might feel ignored. It's part of the setup, restaurants don't seem to have an army of waiters like in UK for example, but that's fine, eating all around Europe is a relaxed and pleasurable affair, not a business deal. And make an effort with your French, they'll be as helpful as possible after that!
The Old town is gorgeous, although very quiet! Bus No36 does a round-trip from the main shopping area all around the old town, so if you don't like slopes use that instead.

A very unexpected setting - the Hamburger Foundation

We took a break from the fondue and popped into a retro place for burgers, around Paquis.
The Hamburger Foundation offers three things: burgers, cheeseburgers and loaded burgers, oh there is a veggie burger too. Everything comes with salad and fries and trust me when I say that you'll be happy to have some salad at this stage!
This is a gorgeous little retro dinner-turn-east-London-cool spot!  
Colourful Carouso

On Sunday afternoon, we headed to Carouge, a village straight out of the Nutcracker.
This is a colourful, vibrant little quarter, built by the Dukes of Savoy to rival Geneva. It has an Italian feel, it's packed with little cafes and so many patisseries! Everywhere you look there are sweets, tarts, pastries, it's chocolate and chantilly galore! 

Our second attempt at fondue at Cave Valaisanne et Chalet Suisse

On Sunday night we went for yet another fondue. Unfortunately some of the restaurants were closed, so bear that in mind. One of the most popular fondue places, is this little spot called Gruyerien, with a red cow outside, in Village Suisse, but being Sunday, it was closed too.
We went to Cave Valaisanne et Chalet Suisse instead; it looks like a Suisse chalet with wooden panelling and red checked tablecloths. It's more commercial than the Gruyerien, but we heard quite a few locals around us, so that encouraged us to stay.
We had fondue fines herbes this time around, a simple fondue spiced up with very light and aromatic herbs. We had cold meats alongside our cheesy adventure, in an attempt to cut back on bread.
It worked!
Outdoors Chess in Pac des Bastion, on a chilly Sunday December afternoon   

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