Montag, 5. August 2013


Part I Geneva
This post is  part of the SWISS segment of my Travel Picks and Tips from my recent visit to England, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria and Bavaria in the spring of 2013. 
I wish to enlighten and share my recommendations with those who wish to travel to these parts of the world. You won't be disappointed when booking any of my chosen favourites. Guaranteed!

Enjoy the adventure!

Other posts from the SWISS segment of my trip:

One of the lovely things about Europe is that within an hour or so, one can be in another country, another culture and completely different geographical environment. For example, I flew from the rolling green hills of Ireland to the breathtaking, dramatic beauty of the Swiss Alps. The purpose: to meet with the craftsmen who handcraft the products I import for Alpen Schatz and to loose myself in the stunning scenery and their captivating culture.

For this segment of my trip, I flew from Shannon, Ireland into Geneva, located in the French speaking part of Switzerland. I was to meet an old friend of mine who flew out from England to join me for a long weekend exploring Geneva and the magical countryside around Lake Geneva.
Geneva overlooking the impressive fountain, Jet d'Eau
Geneva is a global city known as a major financial hub and worldwide centre for diplomacy - namely due to being the headquarters for both the United Nations and Red Cross amongst many other organizations. It is actually quite ancient as it was originally founded by Celtic tribes, before being taken over by the Romans and subsequently the Christians after the fall of the Roman Empire. 
A city with a rich and colourful past, Geneva is situated at one end of the great Lake Geneva - one of Western Europe's largest lakes, nestled scenically between the French and Swiss Alps.

TRANSPORTATION TIP Geneva Airport :  When planning a visit to Geneva, I highly recommend taking the train from the airport.

A little known fact: One can can pick up a FREE ticket for public transport from the machine in the baggage collection area at the Arrival level. This Unireso ticket, offered by Genève Aéroport, allows you to use public transport in the canton of Geneva free for a period of 80 minutes.


Tor Hôtel 

Tor Hotel, downtown Geneva
 For our one night and day of exploring Geneva, I chose a small, family run hotel in the city centre:

Just steps away from the lake, restaurants and shops, one can access just about everything by foot, although the hotel gives its guests a free travel pass to use if needed.
The Tor Hotel is in a classical old building, with high ceilings and wooden floors. Our room was relatively quiet, clean and of reasonable size.
Continental Breakfast delivered to room
 They include a lovely continental breakfast delivered to one's room each morning, complete with croissants, fruit, juice and delicious freshly brewed coffee or tea.

With its central location, clean, quaint and quiet rooms, not to mention exceptional rates, the Tor Hotel , had everything to offer for our first night in Switzerland.

TOR HOTEL  Rue Ami-Lévrier 3, 1201 Genève, Switzerland
+41 22 909 88 20 
IL LAGO Four Seasons "Hotel des Bergues"

Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues
When travelling, I love to combine simplicity with luxury - just to spice-up things up a bit. From what we had saved by staying at the  lovely family run Tor Hotel, we decided to treat ourselves in booking a lavish dinner at one of Geneva's oldest and most prestigious landmarks, the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues.

With enchanting views of the snow-capped Alps and the blue waters of Lake Geneve, the Hotel des Bergues is indeed one of the most sophisticated and classy hotels Geneva has to offer.

We arrived dressed in our finest and were breath taken by the hotel's palatial lobby. It was like being transported into a royal fairytale spanning centuries. Complete with chandeliers, magnificent floral arrangements, and period décor,  the Hotel Des Bergues lives up to its reputation grandly.

Petal infused bath

Before dinner, we were given a brief glimpse of the elegant rooms the hotel offers, in addition to its brand new SPA they were about to launch - indeed it is the very first hotel in Geneva to actually have an on-site SPA!

I was already dreaming of my next visit and this time pampering myself by staying in one of their luxurious guest rooms and relaxing in the Zen of their fabulous looking spa. Next trip, perhaps? Stay tuned...

“I am convinced that what clients are looking for in a dish is the true taste of the product. My job is to enhance it to ensure it is at its best.” Il Lago Chef, Saverio Sbaragli of Florence, Italy

And enhance, Chef Sbaragli, certainly did! We dined that night in the lap of luxury on a 6 course Tasting Menu perfectly paired with boutique wines from France, Switzerland and Italy. There were at least 4 waiters swarming around us throughout the meal, describing in perfect detail the gourmet dishes and wines that kept coming out.

Course after course, from the amusée  of Scallops with glazed Jerusalem artichoke to their signature Lobster Risotto to our main course with a choice of Wild Sea Bass or Glazed Goat Kid (I did not even know a dish out of a baby goat could exist!), we were amazed by the savory creations Chef Sbaragli artistically prepared.

Revisited Black Forest Cake
Indeed, each course was like an exceptional work of art - and tasted just as good as it looked. 

Towards the end of the meal, we were presented with a vast selection of cheeses and chocolates AFTER the scrumptious dessert we were served consisting of Revisited Black Forest cake w cherry sorbet.

In addition, we were greatly impressed by the professional, courteous and knowledgeable waiters who attended to us without flaw.
Santé to a lovely dining experience at IL LAGO
Planning at least one dinner out at Il Lago should be a must for any visit to Geneva. A little on the pricey side, but it is worth every penny and you will not be disappointed.

IL LAGO - Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Quai des Bergues 33, 1201 Genève, Switzerland 
+41 22 908 70 00


Having only a morning to discover Geneva before continuing on our travels, we decided to soak in the Geneva of yesteryear by paying a visit to Maison Taval, the oldest private residence, built in the late 13th century and named to this day after the Taval family, its original owners.

Maison Taval

Since 1986 this fine historical example of 13th century Swiss civil architecture has become home to Musée d'histoire urbaine et de la vie quotidienne (Museum of Urban History and Daily Life).

The Maison Taval houses a fine collection of engravings, paintings, furniture, maps, models and antiquities and evokes Geneva's past and its inhabitants from the Middle Ages through to the 19th Century.

The tour begins in the top floor attic under 14th century beams, with a rather impressive relief map (the largest in Switzerland) of Geneva in 1850. This map gave us an idea of the core layout of Geneva spanning centuries and a perspective of how Geneva has since expanded.

Relief of Geneva in 1850
It was fascinating learning about how the bourgeois lived in the middle-ages, from their baby cradles imported from Italy through to their elaborately carved water closets - now I know why loo's are sometimes referred to as "thrones"!

Medieval Toilet 
Venetian cradle
One painting that our host took pleasure in showing us, was that of a 18th century mustached lady. He said there was no shame in it to the extent that her portrait was painted by an established painter of the time.
Portrait of a Mustached Lady
MAISON TAVAL Rue du Puits-Saint-Pierre 6, 1204 Genève, Switzerland   +41 22 418 37 00

BRASSERIE PICK:  Brasserie de l'Hotel de Ville

Situated in the "oldest quarter" of Geneva and just steps away from Maison Taval, the Armory and Geneva's Cathedral, is a cozy café: Brasserie de l'Hotel de Ville.

We popped in for a quick coffee and to soak in the ambiance before our departure from Geneva and our drive to Monteux. The café was full of fine Swiss gentry and businessmen having their lunch.

A simple coffee is presented like a work of art
Even at lunchtime, it had an air of "To see and be seen". The restaurant is known for its fine Swiss cuisine, to include traditional favourites such as Swiss Fondue and Raclette.

Brasserie de l'Hotel de Ville is cratively decorated with period furnishings and  Swiss military memorabilia, from heroic flags to period helmets and caps.

Antique Military Hat collection
Although we did not have time to  indulge in the aromatic dishes that kept coming out of the kitchen, I vowed the next time in Geneva to pop in for lunch in this atmospheric Swiss restaurant.

Brasserie de l'Hotel de Ville  39, Grand rue, Geneva CH-1204

Other posts from the SWISS segment of my trip:

Also see ENGLAND:  London, OxfordChester / IRELAND GalwayDingle
AUSTRIA: Tyrolean Alpbachtal 
Check out all pictures of my trip on


ME! In a pre-historic
Irish Bee Hive Hut
Life is a book, and those who don't travel read only one page."
Enjoy your visit to Switzerland and please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions when planning your own trip to England, Ireland or Europe! After living in and travelling to Europe for almost 30 years, I love to help and recommend as and when I can!

Read a little bit more about me and my travel style HERE

Enjoy the adventure!
Mary Dawn DeBriae
European Tips and Picks
Alpen Schatz Style

Keine Kommentare: