Geneva - have I made a mistake

Oct 11th, 2000, 12:50 PM
  #1  
Woody
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Geneva - have I made a mistake

I have booked a short break (4 nights)in Geneva in February, however a friend of mine said 'what on earth do you want to go there for, its a horrible place'

Is there anyone out there who can convince me that I haven't made a big mistake.

I wasn't planning to hire a car but now I'm wondering whether I should, so that I can get out and about to visit other places.

Any information on geneva or places to visit in the area would be apprecaited.

Woody
 
Oct 11th, 2000, 01:18 PM
  #2  
Rex
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Woody,

I am no fan of Switzerland (saying so has gotten me in trouble here before) - - not withstanding the lovely picture that Ed'n'Julie can paint about it.

Even I would not say that Geneva is "horrible" - - but it would be true to say that I like France a lot better than this business-like, worldly (not so much "European") city.

I am guessing that perhaps you are NOT American - - we Americans don't normally say "hire" a car. Are you English? I think a lot depends on what you expected from this short trip. Did you plan to ski? Still a good reason to go to France. Gourmet pursuits? Another good reason - - head to Lyon, Annecy or Talloires - - all close.

Tell us more - - and unless you are bothered by cars with steering wheels on the left, I would say car "hire" (rental) - - and escaping to France has much merit. For what it's worth, you can rent "in France" right at the Geneva airport.

Best wishes,

Rex
Ohio, USA
 
Oct 11th, 2000, 02:05 PM
  #3  
woody
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thanks rex

I am british and having been to the US four time in the last 3 years I thought it was about time I visited Europe. Unfortunately I was a bit impulsive and booked this break.

The person who made the comment is in fact a french collegue I work with and I think her thoughts were the same as yours.

Perhaps the answer is to cancel the hotel booking (I cant cancel the flight)and just get off the plane and travel around for four days and head back to the airport to fly home.

What do you think?

Woods
 
Oct 11th, 2000, 02:13 PM
  #4  
steve
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There are some beautiful areas around Geneva both in France and Switzerland. We were in Annecy last summer and it was lovely--I'm sure it will be quite different in winter. We did not stay in Geneva-only went through there to change trains, so I can't give an opinion on it.
 
Oct 11th, 2000, 02:40 PM
  #5  
Ed
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Rex and I agree that
1) Geneva is hardly horrible (I can't think what someone had in mind when they said that;
2) It's not a prime touring destination, and you'd be better off many other places.

Rex and I disagree on some things, though, certainly whether Switzerland is a desirable destination.

However, Switzerland's best features are its mountains. Unless you're a skier February is not really prime time for a visit there.

Probably committed to the flight, I'd spend the time, or most of it, in Luzern. It's a scenic little city, looking much as many, certainly North Americans, would expect a Swiss city to look. Things of interest to do in the city. Depending on the weather also in the area.

As to whether that's a better option than backtracking to France I leave to those who know France better to say.

Ed
Rome.Switzerland.Bavaria
www.twenj.com


There is a question of timing, though.
 
Oct 11th, 2000, 03:11 PM
  #6  
Patrick
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We've spent a lot of time in Switzerland covering nearly everything there more than once, except for anything west of Bern. Geneva is not "horrible" but it certainly is by far our least favorite place in the entire country. Even the "old city" seemed to lack even a fraction of the charm that nearly every other "old city" in Europe has. Is it too late to switch to something else? On the other hand, as a four night break, you could book me anywhere and I'd be able to enjoy myself.
 
Oct 11th, 2000, 03:35 PM
  #7  
s
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Woody,
Like the other posting above, I'd recommend that you get out of Geneva proper, but you don't have to go far for stunning scenery and great options. I love going to Montreux, and I've got a "canned" speech for activities there; perhaps some of this will grab you:

Spend a morning walking along the 11km flowered (*maybe no flowers in Feb!!-- Yet still scenic w/mountains across the lake & a great promenade**)lakeside promenade from Clarins to Villeneuve, passing the Chateau Chillon along the way; there are plenty of cafes to stop and have a coffee & snack along the way to replenish your strength. Top it off with a wonderful pizza & beer lunch at a lakeside café in Villeneuve, then take the ferry back to Montreux (I think the ferry stops in late Sep/Oct).

Spend the morning in Vevey hunting down the antiques shops in the old town. Then have lunch at the Hostellerie de Geneve on the Pl. Marche (reviewed -- sort of-- in NY Times Travel section. Go to archives of "What's Doing," then find "What's Doing in Vevey" from summer '99).

Take the train from Vevey to Puidoux/Chexbres, then spend a morning walking the vineyards down to the lake, hitting Rivaz & St. Saphorin. For lunch, find the Auberge du Rivaz with a terrace lake view or see if any of the cellars are having a cheese/wine tasting. Cully (esp. the Auberge du Raisin) and Lutry's well-posted tour of ancient sites are worth a trip as well.

Spend a day in the mountains, taking the train to the jet-set resort of Gstaad. On the way back, stop at Chateaux d'Oex, where the only successful round-the-world-by-hot-air-balloon trip was launched. Or stop at Glion for lunch at the Hotel Victoria with its panoramic views of the lake; then walk the rest of the way down to Montreux on a stair-step path through the forest (or take the train or the funicular to Territet).

Spend an afternoon in the medieval village of Gruyeres, making sure to sample the berries in creme-double.

Spend an afteroon in Nyon at the Roman museum and the Caesar's columns nearby. Then go up to Ste Cergue, supposedly the last residence (and resting place) of actor Richard Burton.

Spend a morning walking up to Montreux's old city & the museum & the old church. Fantastic views from the old church (can't remember the name -- but it's prominent in the old city). Have lunch at the restaurant at the museum.

Here are the websites:
www.montreux.ch (find their picture gallery)
www.vevey.ch
www.lake-geneva-region.ch
www.gruyeres.ch
www.nyon.ch
www. lutry.ch
www.concierge.com (type in "Switzerland" as a
destination, then go to "Lausanne & the Alps").
www.myswitzerland.com


E-mail me if I can help with other information --
s
 
Oct 11th, 2000, 10:10 PM
  #8  
Florence
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I have been living in Geneva for the last 35 years, I wouldn't call it a horrible city ...

However, February is by far not the best time of year to visit. As some of the other posters, I'd advise you don't spend more time that is necessary to visit the old town, the more interesting museums (old musical instruments or watches), maybe the parks (legated by British residents at the turn of the 19th Century), and then head to other places as suggested by S.
 
Oct 11th, 2000, 11:52 PM
  #9  
Florence
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This is about January in Geneva, but it applies to February as well...

From the "Annals of Improbable Research"

http://www.improb.com/airchives/paperair/cern.htm
"Scientific Dining: Reviews of research institute cafeterias
The CERN Cafeteria, Geneva Switzerland
by Lois Malone
[This is an abbreviated version of the original review. The full text appears in AIR 2:4, July/August 1996.]
Autumn in New York!
April in Paris!
January in Geneva! The winter destination of choice for the high-energy physicist. Only the most discriminating mind can appreciate the delicate shadings of the gray skies, the nuances of a weather pattern that daily promises rain but delivers instead a damp so intense you can hear the moss grow. Day’s end brings the spectacle of Geneva’s night life: on the Rhone’s Left Bank neon spells out the names of Switzerland’s glorious national heroes: Patek-Philippe, Rolex, Piaget, Baume et Mercier, while along the avenues sounds the pounding, sensuous rhythm of doors being shut and bolted so the streets can be properly empty by 8:30.
In the face of all these distractions, the physicist seeks refuge among his peers—and inevitably finds himself at mealtimes jostling happily along amid thousands of colleagues, staff and miscellaneous hangers-on, at the Main Cafeteria at CERN [Centre Europeén des Recherches Nucleaires]."
 
Oct 12th, 2000, 03:01 PM
  #10  
woody
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Thanks for the replies...I get the message

I've decided to fly to Geneva (dont have any other choice) but I'm going to catch the first train from the airport and travel to Luzern. Any suggestions on conveniently located accomadation of mid range price range in Luzern.

Thanks again.

Woods
 
Oct 12th, 2000, 03:29 PM
  #11  
Ed
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So, Luzern it is.

Some ideas on sights at www.twenj.com/swissdest and hotels at www.twenj.com/swisshtl.htm

You'll enjoy yourself!

Ed
 
Oct 12th, 2000, 11:28 PM
  #12  
Phil
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Woody:

Glad you have chosen Lucerne over Geneva to spend a few days! You talked about hopping on the first train after arriving at Geneva.

Well... Geneva-Lucerne is not one of the main lines of the Swiss railway system.
There are, however direct (i.e. no-change) trains from Geneva airport to Lucerne leaving every second hour from 7:31 am to 5:31 pm. the trip will take 3 1/2 hours and there are about 12 stops in between.

Express trains run more frequently, but you would have to change trains once or even twice and you would save five minutes at the most (not to talk about missed connections;-)).

Check out the Swiss Federal railways' english language website at http://www.sbb.ch/index_e.htm.

Enjoy your trip.

Phil
 

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