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Old Aug 29th, 2016, 10:15 AM
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Planning Advice!

My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe for 13 days this coming May and are so excited!! We will fly into the Netherlands and stay with family there for the first 2-3 days. We are planning on spending several days in Paris and then ending up at Lake Geneva for the last portion of the trip.

We have never traveled to Lake Geneva but it looks gorgeous and seems that it would be a nice, relaxing end to our stay. We would love recommendations about Lake Geneva! Thank you!
JennieR is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2016, 10:41 AM
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Hopefully swandav will see this as she is an expert on that area, having lived there once - but I would avoid Geneva with such short time and ensconce yourselves in say a Vevey and Montreux - nice smaller towns right on the lake - lots of excursions to do and lake boats to take.

As for trains - book the Thalys (www.thalys.com) train months in advance and get tickets a fraction of the price over walk-upfares.

Ditto Paris to Geneva - www.voyages-sncf.com or www.capitainetrain.com. For lots of general info on these trains and such check www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

I'd try to spend three days on the lake - again very easy short excursions like to Chateau Chillon, Gruyeres, mountain tops,etc.
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Old Aug 29th, 2016, 12:20 PM
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topping
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Old Aug 29th, 2016, 12:30 PM
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The lake itself is just a big lake, in French called Lac Léman (good to know when you see signage and to look things up), in English Lake Geneva.

Public boats crisscross it - from the French side to the Swiss side and back, something you might want to do. See www.cgn.ch/en

All along the Swiss side are little towns with names that you might recognize from wine labels.

Aside from Geneva (Genève in French, Genf in German), the only real city is Lausanne up on the hill, with its "port" town of Ouchy down below. There is a funiculaire taking you up and down.

Geneva itself has its charms, but not overwhelmingly so. Read up on it, and don't plan to spend too much time there - the charm of Lake Geneva lies in the places mentioned already - Montreux, Vevey (where Charlie Chaplin used to live), and others.

Montreux has been famous for being a place for the famous, forever, and events like the Montreux Jazz Festival have added to its cachet. Its promenades and Grand Hotels speak for that past. I lived there many decades ago (went to school there...).

Nearby is the castle Château Chillon - reachable by boat or by bus, or on foot even. Read up on it, quite impressive. www.chillon.ch/en/index.cfm

My favorite parts about this neck of the woods are these: Rocher de Naye, and Broc.

Les Rochers de Naye is the top station of the little mountain train that goes up, past the splendid elevated villages of Glion and Caux (nice hotels and terrace-restaurants with million-dollar views across the lake onto the French Alps, Mont Blanc etc.). Les Rochers de Naye is a wildflower paradise.

Take a look at the breathtaking view on this website: www.myswissalps.com/rochersdenaye

A short and scenic train ride away is a double whammy - cheese and chocolate factory visits (all-you-can-eat Cailler quality chocolate, you have been warned...):
www.la-gruyere.ch/en/cheese-and-chocolate.html
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Old Aug 29th, 2016, 03:10 PM
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You would get more responses I think if you put Lake Geneva in your post title - Planning Advice and no more means some folks who may be knowledgeable about Lac LeMan will pass it by - can't see anyone giving a better nutshell rundown than michel however.
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Old Aug 29th, 2016, 09:45 PM
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Hi JennieR,

Oh, lucky you to be going to Lake Geneva! Yes, I lived there once when I was 13 years old going to boarding school -- really hardly counts as experience with the area. But I've been going back every year or every other year since 1996 and usually spend two weeks.

You haven't said what your interests are -- of course most folks want to see Chillon. Here are links to my "reviews" (w/photos) of my favorite things to do there or from there:

Montreux old town
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Lavaux
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Walks through the Lavaux vineyards
http://www.montreuxriviera.com/en/Cu...rekking_Lavaux

Promenade Fleuri
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...reux_Vaud.html

Morges
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...rges_Vaud.html

Gruyeres
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR..._Fribourg.html

Saanen
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...wiss_Alps.html

Gstaad
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...wiss_Alps.html

I don't have a "review" of Vevey, but I strongly, very strongly encourage you to spend at least half a day exploring and getting lost in the winding streets of its old town, right next to the lake.

It sounds like you'll have just a few days for your time at the lake, but May is a nice time to visit. It can still be chilly though.

Do you want hotel & restaurant recommendations? If so, give us your price preference and your criteria (hotel: view/service/location, etc, or restaurant: cuisine/formality, etc.).

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Aug 29th, 2016, 11:33 PM
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What's with the Geneva bashing? It's thoroughly comfortable, not more expensive than elsewhere in Switzerland if you're a bit careful. And the lakefront there has its charms, and ferries and steamers. I was lucky, because I lived there over summer as an artist in residence, so lodging was given to me, and it was in a prime spot. I was really surprised by the city. Interesting contemporary arts scene too
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Old Aug 30th, 2016, 01:46 AM
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How nice, michelhuebeli, that we both went to school in Montreux (sorry, didn't read your post carefully before I posted)!

I went to Monte Rosa; where did you go? Do you get back there often?

s
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Old Aug 30th, 2016, 07:07 AM
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If you are flying trans-Atlantic, you might look into a multi-destination air ticket: Fly into one city, home from another. The major Swiss international airport is Zurich but you might find something flying to Geneva. For instance, fly into Zurich even if it involves changing planes, make your way by land or budget airline to your stops in Switzerland etc., then home from Paris or Amsterdam.Or vice-versa.
Multi-city routes save the time and expense of backtracking to the airport where you arrived. But you must use a multi-destination search; these are not a collection of one-way tickets.
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Old Aug 30th, 2016, 09:34 AM
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Yes Geneva is a really nice city and area but the average tourist I think will enjoy basing in Montreux or Vevey more - more charm but yes do not overlook Geneva for a day trip perhaps.

In Montreux I enjoyed taking the train up the hill behind town (part of the Golden Pass route) and getting off near the top and walking back down to the lake thru vineyards.
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Old Aug 30th, 2016, 10:32 AM
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Lausanne, Vevey, and Montreux are all lovely towns/cities. I like Vevey the best. They each sit on the shores of Lac Leman and are very beautiful. Also easy to get to by train.

Chateau de Chillon, Rocher de Naye tram, the castle at Gruyere, street framer's markets (Tues/Sat Vevey & Fri Montreux), walking the quai (lakeside promonade)... were my favorite things.

I'm not a fan of Geneva myself, it just seems like any huge international business city (not "bashing" I just feel for a vacation trip of a couple weeks the smaller towns are much more interesting... to me).
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 03:01 PM
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I like Vevey best too - actually is on a small piece of land jutting out into the lake - at least part of it does - I sat there a few times and got intoxicated by the views (and local wine).
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 03:11 PM
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I'm pretty sure that's Montreux (not Vevey) PalenQ

See this photo:
http://montreux.ch/
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