The Swiss city of Geneva is cramped in between lake Leman and the Alps, near the border with France. It is such a naturally constrained space, that the city cannot grow larger anymore. This puts an upward pressure on the house prices, rent, food prices and in general, prices of anything. On the other hand, the city is home to many global trading companies, but also international and intergovernmental organisations, such as the European section of the UN, High Commissioner for refugees, Red Cross and other. These companies pay decently to their employees and so many can afford to live in this high price environment. And those who prefer savings move across the border to France.
Švajčiarske mesto Ženeva leží medzi jazerom Leman a Alpskými kopcami pri hraniciach s Francúzskom. Je to taká ohraničená plocha, že mesto sa už nemá … pokračujte v čítaní v slovenčine tu.
This is why Geneva more often than not tops the lists of the most expensive cities to live in. I can confirm that. Starbucks cafes are at almost every street, so are the shops of Gucci, Bulgari, Patek Philip and the likes. Besides watches and jewelry Switzerland is famous for, you can also buy the famous Swiss army knives. Make sure you pack it in the checked luggage to avoid trouble.
I would recommend visiting Geneva as a stopover on the way to or from the Alps. The city center is relatively small and you can do most of the sightseeing on foot in a day or two. There a few museums, but bigger attractions are the lake, the geyser, English garden and the flower clock.
Jet d’Eau on Lac Leman
The Jet d’Eau is an artificial geyser, or a water fountain, throwing water 140 meters in the air. It is located on the lake, but near a shore. If you plan to see this, I would recommend to check the maintenance schedule. I visited Geneva three times, but it was twice under maintenance.
Jardin d’Anglais and other parcs
Jardin d’Anglais is a lovely, yet small, park on the lake shore. At its side, there is the famous clock made of flowers. I guess the time must be right as it is a Swiss watch. Another lovely park is Parc des Bastions, a little bit outside of the old town. There are several statues and even a giant chess board.
The international agencies district
A hidden gem is located a little to the north of the city – the international agencies district. Palais des Nations (my blog with more photos from the tour) is the European headquarters of the UN and they regularly offer guided tours for visitors. I can recommend not only the guided visit, but also a short stroll around the area. Maybe you will also find a giant chair. 🙂