The Zermatt Alpine Center, which houses both the Bergfiihrerbiiro (Mountain Guide’s Office; 966 24 60) and the Skischulbiiro (Ski School Office; 966 24 66), is located past the post office from the station; the Bergfiihrerbiiro provides ski passes, four-day weather forecasts, and info on guided climbing. (Open July-Sept. M-F 8:30am-noon and 3:30-7pm, Sa 3:30-7pm, Su lOam-noon and 3:30-7pm; late Dec. to mid-May daily 5-7pm.) Rental prices for skis and snowboards are standardized throughout Zermatt (28-50SFr per day, 123-215SFr per week). Fre-eride Film Factory (213 38 07) offers custom hiking, biking, and climbing expeditions (160-250SFr) that come with a videotape of your trek. EThe Pipe Surfer’s Cantina, on Kirchstr. has the craziest beach parties” in the Alps. Don’t leave without downing a shot of Moo (6SFr), their specialty caramel vodka, (www.gozer-matt.comthepipe. Happy Hour daily 7-8pm. Open daily 3:30pm-2:30am.)
To preserve the Alpine air, cars and buses are banned in Zermatt; the only way in is the hourly BVZ (Brig-Visp-Zermatt) rail line, which connects to Lausanne (73SFr). The tourist office, in the station, sells hiking maps for 26SFr. (966 81 00. Open mid-June to mid-Oct. M-F 8:30am-6pm, Sa 8:30am-6:30pm, Su 9:30am-noon and 4-6:30pm; mid-Oct. to mid-Dec. and May to mid-June M-F 8:30am-noon and l:30-6pm, Sa 8:30am-noon; mid-Dec. to Apr. 8:30am-noon and l:30-6:30pm, Sa 8:30am-6:30pm, Su 9:30am-noon and 4-6:30pm.) Hotel Bahnhof , on Bahnhofstr. to the left of the station, provides hotel housing at hostel rates. (967 24 06. Dorms 30SFr; singles 59SFr, with shower 71SFr; doubles 86-96SFr. MCV.) Treat yourself to filling Swiss fare at Walliserkanne , on Bahnhofstr. next to the post office. (Open 9am-midnight. AmExMCV.) Pick up groceries at the Co-op Center, opposite the station. (Open M-F 8:15am-12:15pm and l:45-6:30pm, Sa 8:15am-12:15pm and l:45-6pm.) Postal Code: CH-3920.
All around Lac Leman, hills sprinkled with villas and blanketed by patchwork vineyards seem tame and settled until the haze clears. From behind the hills surge rough-hewn mountain peaks with the energizing promise of unpopulated wilderness and wide, lonely expanses.
A stay in Geneva will likely change your definition of diversity. As the most international city in Switzerland, Geneva is a brew of 178,000 unlikely neighbors: wealthy businessmen speed past dreadlocked skaters in the street while nuclear families stroll by artists squatting in abandoned factories; only one-third of the city’s residents are natives of the canton. Birthplace of the League of Nations and current home to dozens of multinational organizations (including the Red Cross and the United Nations), Geneva emanates worldliness.
Flights: Cointrin Airport (GVA; 717 71 11, flight info 799 31 11) is a hub for Swiss Airlines ( (0848) 85 20 00) and also serves Air France (827 87 87) and British Airways ((0848) 80 10 10). Several direct flights per day to Amsterdam, London, New York, Paris, and Rome. Bus #10 runs to the Gare Cornavin (15min. every 5-10min. 2.20SFr). The train provides a shorter trip (6min. every lOmin. 4.80SFr).
Trains: Trains run approximately 4:30am-lam. Gare Cornavin, pi. Cornavin, is the main station. To: Basel (23Ahr. every hr. 7ISFr); Bern (2hr. every hr. 47SFr); Interlaken (3hr. every hr. 63SFr); Lausanne (40min. every 20-30min. 19SFr); Montreux (lhr. 2 per hr. 29SFr); Zurich (3Vhr. every hr. 76SFr). Ticket counter open M-F 8:30am-6:30pm, Sa 9am-5pm. Gare des Eaux-Vives (736 16 20), on av. de la Gare des Eaux-Vives (tram #12 to Amandoliers SNCF), connects to France’s regional rail through Annecy (lVihr. 6 per day, 14SFr) or Chamonix (2V2hr. 4 per day, 24SFr). Ticket office open M-F9am-6pm, Sa llam-5:45pm.
Hitchhiking: Those headed to Germany or northern Switzerland take bus #4 to Jardin Botanique. Those headed to France take bus #4 to Palettes, then line D to St. Julien. Let’s Go does not recommend hitchhiking.
Carry your passport with you at all times; the French border is never more than a few minutes away and buses frequently cross it. Ticket purchasing is largely on the honor system, but you may be fined 60SFr for evading fares. Much of the city can be explored on foot.
Public Transportation: Geneva has an efficient bus and tram network. Transport Publics Genevois (308 34 34), next to the tourist office in Gare Cornavin, provides Le Reseau (a free map of bus routes) and inexpensive timetables. Open M-Sa 7am-7pm, Su 10am-6pm. Day passes 6SFr-12SFr. Stamp multi-use tickets before boarding. Buses run roughly 5:30am-midnight; Noctambus (3SFr, l:30-4:30am) runs when the others don’t. SwissPass valid on all buses; Eurail not valid.
Taxis: Taxi-Phone (331 41 33). 6.80SFr plus 2.90SFr per km. Taxi from airport to city 30SFr, max. 4 passengers (15-20min.).
Bike Rental: Geneva has well-marked bike paths and special traffic lights for spoked traffic. For routes, get Itineraires cyclables or Tours de ville avec les veos de location from the tourist office. Behind the station, Geneve Roule, pi. Montbrillant 17 ( 740 13 43), has free bikes available (50SFr deposit; hefty fine if bike is lost or stolen). Slightly nicer neon bikes from 5SFr per day. Open daily 7:30am-9:30pm.
ORIENTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION
The labyrinthine cobbled streets and quiet squares of the historic vieiUe ville, around Cathedrale de St-Pierre, make up the heart of Geneva. Across the Rhone River to the north, banks and five-star hotels gradually give way to lakeside promenades, International Hill, and rolling parks. Across the Arve River to the south lies the village of Carouge, home to student bars and clubs (take tram #12 or 13 to pi. du Marche).
TOURIST, FINANCIAL, AND LOCAL SERVICES
Tourist Offices: Main office, r. du Mont-Blanc 18 (909 70 00), in the Central Post Office Building. From Cornavin, walk 5min. toward the Pont du Mont-Blanc. Staff books hotel rooms for a 5SFr fee, leads walking tours, and offers free city maps. Open July-Aug. daily 9am-6pm; Sept.-June M-Sa 9am-6pm. During the summer, head for Centre d’Accueil et de Renseignements ( 731 46 47), an office-in-a-bus parked in pi. Mont-Blanc, by the Metro Shopping entrance to Cornavin Station. Lists free performances and makes hotel reservations. Open mid-June to mid-Sept. daily 9am-9pm.
Consulates: Australia, chemin des Fins 2 (799 91 00). Canada, av. de I’Ariana 5 (919 92 00). New Zealand, chemin des Fins 2 (929 03 50). South Africa, r. de Rhone 65 (849 54 54). UK, r. de Vermont 37 (918 24 26). US, r. Versonnex 7 (840 51 60; recorded info 840 51 61).
Currency Exchange: ATMs offer the best rates. Gare Cornavin has good rates with no commission on traveler’s checks, makes cash advances on credit cards (min. 200SFr), and arranges Western Union transfers. Open M-Sa 6:50am-7:40pm, Su 6:50am-6:40pm. Western Union desk open daily 7am-7pm.
Bi-Gay-Lesbian Resources: Diologai, r. de la Navigation 11-13 (906 40 40). From Gare Cornavin, turn left, walk 5min. down r. de Lausanne, and turn right onto r. de la Navigation. Resource group with programs from support groups to outdoor activities. Mostly male, but women welcome.
Laundromat: Lavseul, r. de Monthoux 29. Wash 5SFr, dry ISFr per lOmin. Open daily 7am-midnight.
EMERGENCY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Emergency: Police: 117. Ambulance: 144. Fire: 118.
Medical Assistance: Hdpital Cantonal, r. Micheli-du-Crest 24 (372 33 11). Bus #1 or 5 or tram #12. Door #2 is for emergency care, door #3 for consultations. For info on walk-in clinics, contact the Association des Medecins (320 84 20).
Internet Access: Point 6, r. de Vieux-Billard 7a, off r. des Bains (800 26 00). 5SFr per hr. Open daily noon-midnight. Connections Net World, r. de Monthoux 58. 3SFr per 30min. 5SFr per hr. Copier available. Open M-Sa 9:30am-2:30am, Su lpm-2am.
Post Office: Poste Centrale, r. de Mont-Blanc 18, a block from Gare Cornavin. Open M-F 7:30am-6pm, Sa 8:30am-noon. Address mail to be held: Firstname SURNAME, Poste Restante, Geneve 1 Mont-Blanc, CH-1211, Geneva, SWITZERLAND.
Geneva is a cosmopolitan city, and its 5-star hotel system is geared toward the international banker. Luckily for the budget traveler, the seasonal influx of university students and interns has created a second network of hostels, pensions, and university dorms moonlighting as summer hotels. The indispensable Info Jeunes lists about 50 options; Let’s Go lists the highlights below. The tourist office publishes Budget Hotels, stretching the definition to 120SFr per person. Even for short stays, reservations are a must.
City Hostel Geneva, r. Ferrier 2 ( 901 15 00). TV room and kitchen. Sheets 3SFr. Internet 8SFr per hr. Reception daily 7:30am-noon and lpm-midnight. Check-out 10am. Single-sex dorms 25SFr; singles 55SFr; doubles 80SFr. MCV.
Auberge de Jeunesse (HI), r. Rothschild 28-30 (732 62 60). Restaurant, kitchen facilities (ISFr per 30min.), TV room, lockers, and library. Breakfast included. Laundry 6SFr. Internet 7SFr per hr. 6-night max. stay. Lockout 10am-3pm. Reception June-Sept. daily 6:30-10am and 2pm-midnight, Oct.-May 6:30-10am and 4pm-midnight. Dorms 25SFr; doubles 70SFr, with bath 80SFr; quads llOSFr. MCV.
Cite Universitaire, av. Miremont 46 (839 22 11). Take bus #3 (dir.: Crets-de-Champel) from the station to the last stop. TV rooms, restaurant, disco (Th and Sa, free to guests), and a small grocery shop. Hall showers. Reception M-F 8am-noon and 2-10pm, Sa 8am-noon and 6-10pm, Su 9-1 lam and 6-10pm. Check-out 10am. Dorm lockout llam-6pm. Dorm curfew 11pm. Dorms (July-Sept. only) 20SFr; singles 49SFr; doubles 66SFr; studios with kitchenette and bathroom 75SFr.
Hotel de la Cloche, r. de la Cloche 6 ( 732 94 81), off quai du Mont-Blanc in a converted mansion. Breakfast included. Reception daily 8am-10pm. Singles 65-70SFr; doubles 85-95SFr; triples 110-140SFr; quads 140SFr. AmExMCV.
H6me St-Pierre, Cour St-Pierre 4 (S310 37 07; email@example.com). Take bus #5 to pi. Neuve or walk from the station. This 150-year-ol,d home has comfortable beds and a great location. Beware, though, that the church bell rings every 15min. Breakfast M-Sa 7SFr. Showers free. Lockers 5SFr. Reception M-Sa 9am-noon and 4-8pm, Su 9am-noon. Dorms 23SFr; singles 36-45SFr; doubles 50-60SFr. MCV.
Camping Pointe-a-la-Bise, Chemin de la Bise ( 752 12 96). Take bus #8 to Rive, then bus E north to Bise and walk lOmin. to the lake. Reception daily 8am-noon and 2-9pm. Open Apr.-Sept. 6.20SFr per person, 9SFr per site. No tents provided. Beds 15SFr. 4-person bungalows 60SFr. O
You can find anything from sushi to paella in Geneva, but you may need a banker’s salary to foot the bill. Do-it-yourselfers can pick up basics at bou-langeries, patisseries, or at the ubiquitous supermarkets. Many supermarkets also have attached cafeterias; try the Co-op on the corner of r. du Commerce and r. du Rhone, in the Centre Rhone Fusterie. (Open M 9am-6:45pm, Tu-W and F 8:30am-6:45pm, Th 8:30am-8pm, Sa 8:30am-5pm.) There are extensive dining options in the old city near the cathedral, but you’ll pay for the location. In the Les Paquis area, bordered by the r. de Lausanne and Gare Cornavin on one side and the Quais Mont-Blanc and Wilson on the other, are a variety of relatively cheap ethnic foods. Around pi. du Cirque and plaine de Plainpalais are cheap, student-oriented tea rooms. To the south, the village of Carouge is known for its cozy pizzerias and funky brasseries.
Chocolaterie Micheli, r. Micheli-du-Crest 1 (329 90 06). Take tram #13 to Plainpalais and walk up bd. des Philosophes until it intersects r. Micheli-du-Crest. Confectionary masterpieces abound in this chocolate store and cafe par excellence. Open Tu-F 8am-7pm, Sa 8am-5pm. MCV. O
Le Rozzel, Grand-Rue 18. Take bus #5 to pi. Neuve, then walk up the hill past the cathedral on r. Jean-Calvin to Grand-Rue. Large dinner crepes (4-18SFr). Dessert crepes (5-9SFr). Open M 7am-4pm, Tu-W 7am-7pm, Th-F 7am-10pm, Sa 9am-10pm.
Restaurant Manora, r. de Cornavin 4, to the right of the station in the Placette department store. This huge self-serve restaurant has a varied selection and free water (rare in Switzerland). Entrees from 8SFr. Open M-Sa 7:30am-9:30pm, Su 9am-9:30pm.
Les Armures, r. due Puits-St-Pierre 1, near the main entrance to the cathedral. Elegance in the heart of the Altstadt. Fondue 24-26SFr. Pizza 14-17SFr. Entrees run to 45SFr. Open M-F 8am-midnight, Sa 1 lam-midnight, Su 1 lam-1 lpm.
Les Brasseurs, pi. Cornavin 20. Go left from the station. Serves flammekuchen, an Alsatian specialty similar to thin crust pizza but topped with cream and onions (11.60-23SFr), and home-brewed towers of beer (31SFr for 2L). Kitchen open ll:30am-2pm and 6-10:45pm. Open M-W llam-lam, Th-Sa llam-2am, Su 5pm-lam.
La Crise, r. de Chantepoulet 13. Small but popular snack bar dishes out tasty quiches and soups at reasonable prices. Open M-F 6am-3pm and 5-8pm, Sa 6am-3pm.
Auberge de Saviese, r. des Paquis 20. Take bus #1 to Monthoux. Sip coffee (2.30SFr) with an older crowd in this touristy English-speaking restaurant. Excellent fondue au cognac (20SFr), Raclette with all the trimmings (3ISFr), and regional perch (28SFr). Open M-Sa 10:30am-3pm and 5pm-12:30am, Su 5pm-12:30am. AmExDCMCV.
The city’s most interesting historical sites are in a dense, easily walkable space. The tourist office offers 2hr. walking tours. (Mid-June to Sept. M-Sa 10am; Oct. to mid-June Sa 10am. 12SFr, students and seniors 8SFr.)
VIElLLE VILLE. From 1536 to 1564, Calvin preached at the Cathedrale de St-Pierre. The north tower provides a commanding view of the old town. (Open June-Sept. daily 9am-7pm; Oct.-May M-Sa lOam-noon and 2-5pm, Su llam-12:30pm and l:30-5pm. Tower 3SFr.) Ruins, including a Roman sanctuary and a 4th-century basilica, rest in an archaeological site below the cathedral. (Open June-Sept. Su 10am-5pm, Tu-Sa llam-5pm; Oct.-May Su lOam-noon and 2-5pm, Tu-Sa 2-5pm. 5SFr, students 3SFr.) At the west end of the vieille ville sits the 14th-century Maison Tavel, which now houses a history museum. (Open Su and Tu-Sa 10am-5pm. Free.) Across the street is the Hotel de Ville (town hall), where world leaders met on August 22, 1864, to sign the Geneva Convention that still governs war conduct today. The Grand-Rue, which begins at the Hotel de Ville, is lined with medieval workshops and 18th-century mansions; plaques commemorate famous residents like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who was born at #40. Below the cathedral, along r. de la Croix-Rouge, the Parc des Bastions stretches from pi. Neuve to pi. des Philos-ophes and includes Le Mur des Reformateurs (Reformers’ Wall), a sprawling collection of bas-relief figures of the Reformers themselves. The park’s center walkway leads to the liPetit-Palais, Terrasse St-Victor 2, a beautiful mansion containing art by Chagall, Gauguin, Picasso, and Renoir, as well as themed exhibitions. (Bus #36 to Petit Palais or#l, 3, or 5 to Claparede. Open M-F 10am-6pm, Sa-Su 10am-5pm. lOSFr, students 5SFr.)
WATERFRONT. As you descend from the cathedral to the lake, medieval lanes give way to wide quais and chic boutiques. Down quai Gustave Ardor, the Jet d’Eau, Europe’s highest fountain, spews a spectacular 7-ton plume of water 440ft into the air. The floral clock in the nearby Jardin Anglais pays homage to Geneva’s watch industry. It’s probably Geneva’s most overrated attraction and was once the most hazardous the clock had to be cut back almost lm because tourists, intent on taking the perfect photograph, repeatedly backed into oncoming traffic. On the north shore, the beach Paquis Plage, quai du Mont-Blanc 30, is popular with locals. (Open 9am-8:30pm. 2SFr.)
INTERNATIONAL HILL. The International Red Cross building contains the moving International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Av. de la Paix 17. (Bus #8 orFtoAppia or bus VorZ toAriana. Open M and W-Su 10am-5pm. lOSFr, students 5SFr.) The nearby European headquarters of the United Nations is in the same building that sheltered the now-defunct League of Nations. The constant traffic of international diplomats (often in handsome non-Western dress) provides more excitement than the dull guided tour. (Open July-Aug. daily 10am-5pm; Apr.-June and Sept.-Oct daily lOam-noon and 2-4pm; Nov.-Mar. M-F lOam-noon and 2-4pm. 8.50SFr, seniors and students 6.5OSFr.)
ENTERTAINMENT AND NIGHTLIFE
Geneve Agenda, available at the tourist office, is your guide to fun, with event listings ranging from major festivals to movies (be warned a movie runs about 16SFr). In July and August, the Cinelac turns Geneve Plage into an open-air cinema screening mostly American films. Free jazz concerts take place in July and
August in Parc de la Grange. Geneva hosts the biggest celebration of American Independence Day outside the US (July 4), and the Fetes de Geneve in early August is filled with international music and fire- works. The best party is L’Escalade in early December, which lasts a full weekend and commemorates the dramatic repulsion of invading Savoyard troops.
La Jonction, at the junction of the Rhone and Arve rivers, accessible by the #2, 10-20, and D buses, is home to a guerilla artist colony and venues for rockers and ravers. Place Bourg-de-Four, in the vieille ville below the cathedral, attracts students and professionals to its charming terraces and old-world atmosphere. Place du Molard, on the right bank by the pont du Mont-Blanc, offers terrace cafes and big, loud bars and clubs. Les Paquis, near Gare Cornavin and pi. de la Navigation, is the city’s red-light district, but it also has a wide array of rowdy, low-lit bars, many with an ethnic flavor. Carouge, across the river Arve, is a student-friendly locus of nightlife activity. Generations of students have eaten at the famous liLa Clemence, pi. du Bourg-de-Four 20. (Open M-Th 7am-12:30am, F-Sa 7am-l:30am.)
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