The postcard-perfect European town of Geneva is rightly famous for its watches and chocolates.
Geneva is Switzerland’s second biggest city, after Zurich, and the biggest in Romandie, the country’s French-speaking region. Switzerland may be synonymous with banks and international diplomacy, but Geneva’s location on one of the largest lakes in Europe makes it a stunningly beautiful place as well. You can even see the Mont Blanc on clear days. You’ll find the must-see attractions easily enough (see Must Sees) but more importantly, we want to make sure you step indoors, too, for a fix of high-end chocolate and watches.
Jardin Anglais, Quai du General-Guisa Road
This iconic must-see park was first built in 1951, and has been decorated with flowers ever since. The floral arrangements change with every season but the clock never skips a beat. As a symbol of Swiss craftsmanship, it has never stopped ticking nor been out of order in 60 years.
Place de Molard
Cross the street to touch Geneva’s historic clock tower. It was built in the 14th century as part of a defensive wall to protect the city’s port. 600 years later, Place de Molard is where the city’s high-end shops and fine restaurants can now be found.
Passage Malbuisson, Rue du Marche
Edouard Wirth, a local watchmaker, created this clock in 1962 as a tribute to the city. The excitement about this wall clock happens every hour when the 16 bronze carillons chime out a nice melody accompanied by 13 chariots and 42 bronze figures parading out one little door and in through another.
Watch Shopping Street
Nowhere else in Switzerland will you find expensive watch boutiques in such numbers as Geneva’s Rue du Rhone. Lucerne’s Bucherer (45, Rue du Rhône, +41-22319-6266, open Mon–Fri 9am–7pm, Sat 9am-6pm) and Gubelin (Place du Molard, +41-22-365-5380, open Mon-Fri 9am-6:30pm, Sat 9am-5pm) are two highlights for watch fanatics. Salon Patek Philippe (Rue du Rhone +41-22-809-5050, open Mon–Fri 9am–6:30pm, Sat 9am-5pm) is an equally impressive showroom. For those of us who can’t afford one million baht watches, there is the Patek Philippe Museum (Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 7, +41-22-807-0910, open Tue-Fri 2pm-6pm, Sat 10am-6pm). The entrance fee is CHF10 (B340) and you can’t take any photos.
Done with the watches? Now get ready for some instant gratification. Geneva’s chocolate specialty is the Pavé de Genève (also know as Mocca Glace or Pave Glace). Created in 1936, these rich creamy chocolate cubes dusted with cocoa powder remain wildly popular today, with fancy additions like truffles. Find them here:
4 Rue de Rive, (+41) 22-311-4286, open Mon 10am-6.45pm, Tue-Fri 8:30am-8:45pm, Sat 9am-5:30pm, www.chocolat-auer.ch
12 Place du Bourg-de-Four, (+41) 22-310-4094, open Mon-Fri 7:45am-6:30pm, Sat 8:30am-5:45pm, www.swisschocolates.ch
Du Rhone Chocolatier
3 Rue de la Confédération, (+41) 22-311-5614, open Mon-Fri 8am-6:30pm, Sat 8am-5:30pm, www.du-rhone.ch
3 Place du Molard, (+41) 22-311-6303, open Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-6pm, www.rohr.ch
11 Rue de Rive, (+41) 22-311-6196, open Mon-Fri 9am-6:30pm, Sat 9am-5pm, www.bonbonniere-geneve.com
49 Avenue Blanc, (+41) 22-738-1720, open Mon-Fri 9am-6:30pm, Sat 9am-5pm, www.chocolaterie-stettler.ch
This symbol of Geneva can spray water at a speed of 200 km per hour, firing it as high as 450 feet.
St. Pierre Cathedral
This holy building isn’t just a historic place in the old town. Walk up to the top and see a stunning panoramic view of Geneva.
It was erected in 1909 to pay tribute to the Protestant reformists. The wall is in the University of Geneva campus where you will love the greenery, atmosphere and giant chessboard.
United Nations Building
This is where 25,000 delegates from all over the world meet annually to negotiate for world peace. Don’t miss the Palais des Nations where a giant chair stands to remind you about the victims of landmines around the world.
This tiny zone is dubbed as a vacation area for Genevians. Whenever they want to have a casual day, this Mediterranean-style district offers trendy boutiques, restaurants and bistros in a cool ambience.
Thais need to call 1900-222-340 (B9 per minute) to get an appointment with the Swiss Embassy. For your appointment, bring EUR60 worth of Thai baht (B2,040), as they don’t give change. If you need to go in the summer time, book the appointment at least two months in advance. After submitting your full application, allow seven days for them to process it.
CHF1 (Swiss Franc)= B34
There’s no direct flight from Bangkok to Geneva, so your options are: Swiss Airline International, www.swiss.com, the cheapest and fastest (14.1 hours), via Zurich, starting at B21,465 roundtrip. Other alternatives include Air France (via Paris, B24,545, www.airfrance.com), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt, from B41,310, www.lufthansa.com), KLM (via Amsterdam, B39,510, www.klm.com), Finnair (via Helsinki, from B36,735, www.finnair.com, Etihad (via Abu Dhabi, B39,175, www.etihad.com) and Austrian Airlines (via Vienna, B36,327, www.austrian.com).