So skiing completed – it was time for some downtime in Geneva. We had opted for a couple of days purely because the Saturday to Saturday flights were so costly. By adding a couple of days – even with the hotel and spends – it was still a more cost effective option. Plus we got to scratch another country off our poster.
When looking for a good hotel we decided we wanted a pool and seeing as I had enough points on my IHG Loyalty Card to get a free night we chose the Intercontinental Geneva so we were a little disappointed when we found out the pool was closed for another couple of months. However, it meant we got to do a bit more exploring.
Now when it comes to a city break I am sure I could start to offer the Top 10 things to do with kids but we really wanted just a snapshot and to chill so sorry you wont get this on my blog.
Oneof the bonuses of the hotel is that they offer you a free travel pass around the city. The transport system of Geneva is really efficient all the trams, buses and some of the boats over the lake are all connected so once you get your head round it all it is a fab way to get around the city. During our stay we were never waiting more than 10 minutes.
On the first day we headed straight to Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) and to see the famous Jet D’eau. With the stunning Mont Blanc in the background it was time for the obligatory phots from a number of angles.
Now we had considered trying to see if there was any thermal spas close to the town and whilst there was one on the far end of the lake we just didn’t feel a full day when we only had a couple of days was worth it so we checked out the Bains des Paquis just on the edge of the Lake. It was a busy area with queues of people eating from the quick service hatch and because of the crowds we assumed it was a good bet. Couple of plat du jours purchased and we sat and shared. We then took a look at the spa facilities but as there was just sauna, hamman and Turkish bath we decided to give it a miss as a dip in the Lake at this time of year wasn’t on the cards and the spa was not that suitable. Ella saw the posters and wasn’t keen if she could see men’s bits (her words).
After a decent lunch we took another stroll along and across the lake and headed towards the town for a wander. A cuppa and a bit of swiss chocolate was on the cards and then we headed back to the hotel.
Nigel checked out some restaurants, just something cheap, cheerful and kiddie friendly. Now don’t get me wrong, as I have mentioned before, we don’t need a kiddie menu with Ella but its always good to know they are family friendly and he happened upon Chez ma Cousine a chicken restaurant. You could say the Nandos of Geneva. It has 3 locations in Geneva – one just down the road from our hotel – but we decided to head to the Old Town restaurant so we could have a mooch around.
The bus dropped us off in near the Parc des Bastions and we wandered around the pretty old town for a little while before heading to the restaurant. It was really busy and had a really good vibe. For Geneva standards it was a fairly cheap place. It offered exactly what it advertised – Chicken – but is was delicious.
The next day was a Sunday and most places we were told were closed but it was a lovely day so we decided another walk was just what we needed. We headed down to the United Nations which was only about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. Took a few snaps and marvelled at the size of the building – HUGE. After that we headed to the botanical gardens and ambled around before grabbing a snack at the gardens café. I briefly mentioned above that the restaurant the previous night was cheap by Geneva standards. Just to point out GENEVA IS EXPENSIVE – RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE!! Even a café in a park strips a lot of cash from the wallet.
After lunch we walked some more, along the lake and then Ella, the crazy kid she is, decided she wanted a swim. We didn’t have a costume, we didn’t have a towel but that didn’t stop our little adventurer. It took a few attempts but she did it – and squealed very loud but she loved it and, it seemed, so did the spectators watching this.
We carried on around the lake just enjoying each other, each others company and the lovely view. We took advantage of the travel pass and hopped on the boats across the lake and back again.
A quick beverage back in the old town before going back and changing for dinner. We’d had such a relaxing day but clocked up a good 10km so we definitely deserved a fondue.
We again researched a good fondue as if you are in Switzerland you don’t want a bad one and we were so lucky that one of Geneva’s best was a cute little restaurant about 5 minutes walk from our hotel. Café du Soleil had great reviews and when we go there it was already busy so were hopeful. We were not disappointed – a nice carafe, a humongous pan of melty cheese and a stack of bread – happy days!!! It beat us though and we couldn’t finish. We were all cheesed out and we almost had to roll back to the hotel when we were done.
So hints for Geneva – take a full wallet and be prepared to spend big. Take to the water and take it all in. If we had been there for longer there would have been a lot more we would have done but the two days did us quite fine.
We had fun, we had fondue and great family time. We will definitely be back to explore more of what Switzerland has to offer so until next time. x