Whether you are a late sleeper or an early riser, walk along the lakefront up to the “Pâquis” lighthouse. When the sun rises, the surface of the lake looks like a mirror by reflecting the Old Town and the mountains. My favorite moments are during summertime. I invite you to experience “Les Aubes Musicales” an outdoor early morning music festival on the pier to celebrate the sunrise.
Time stands still. Notes of the musicians transport us.
Then, take a bike and explore the nature of Geneva. Parks and gardens are everywhere.
The city owns itself 40 000 trees, as many rose bushes, 310 hectares of public gardens and green spaces. Indulge in the pure fresh air, relax, and enjoy a picnic.
Switch for another green transport: go with a “Tuk-Tuk” in the vineyards, between the mount Jura and mount Salève. Small producers will open you their doors for a private visit, tasting of their “AOC” production, a well-deserved designation.
Continue your journey to the extreme point of the Junction and discover the incredible meeting of the two rivers “Rhône” and “Arve”. It creates a beautiful and unique natural phenomenon. They have different colour palettes and do not mix immediately. Admire the scenario standing from above the “Viaduct Junction”.
In this omnipresent nature, surprising and not to be missed architectures coexist. Let me present you my favorite locations.
Just behind the main train station, the unknown district of “Les Grottes” hosts the Smurfs Buildings, extravagant and funny-looking. It looks like they came straight out of a comic book. They were designed by Frei, Hunziker & Berthoud. Some of the ingredients dear to the Catalan Gaudi and the Viennese Hundertwasser can be found there: asymmetrical volumes, twisted lines and spiral halls.
How can we talk about architecture without mentioning “l’immeuble de la Clarté”? One of the residential projects of “Le Corbusier”, which introduces the modern movements in Geneva.
Another architectural masterpiece is the “Pont Hans Wildorf”. Originally, the bridge was a simple wooden footbridge and was not intended to last. Indeed, it was initially built for the National Exhibition of 1896. The watchmaker Rolex, through its foundation “Wildorf”, rebuilt it in 2012.
At nightfall, the bridge is dressed in a light reproducing an alpine landscape at dawn and dusk, in reference to the origins of the river “Arve”, in the heart of the French Alps. A warm color reminiscent of the first or last rays of sunlight illuminates the interior of the work. While the outside is illuminated with blue, the reflecting white colours reflect the blue of the sky at dawn or dusk.
The city of Geneva is always oriented towards the international scene, but remains a city on a human scale. Above all, it does not forget to look to the future by protecting its strength, which is its nature surroundings.
Pierre-Felipe Valladares is a candidate for the 2023 Les Clefs d’Or Award. This article has been published in its original form.
Europe Walking Geneva Mandarin Oriental Geneva Picnic Gardens Lake Wineries River Switzerland Bridge Design Architecture Nature Bike
My encounter with the Concierge trade was during my various professional experiences from 2008 at the Normandy Barrière Hôtel in France while I was working as a receptionist. I found myself at the desk in front of an impressive team of Concierge, whose sense of service, abnegation, and desire to always push the limits of the possible made me dream. They quickly sparked in me the secret desire, hidden for many years, to be part of this group of members whose only primary desire is to satisfy their clients at all costs. All this in the respect of a code of Honor and Friendship. I had the opportunity to join Mandarin Oriental, Geneva as a receptionist. After a period of adaptation, I had the chance to transfer to a Concierge position a few months later. I quickly had the will to finally cross this imaginary border. This team, of which I am now part of, represents for me the sublime ideal of a hotel business which gave me the possibility of combining a profession and passion. I recently joined the Geneva Clefs d’Or Board to continue developing my passion and network.
With a peaceful setting blending breathtaking mountain backdrops with stunning River Rhône vistas, Mandarin Oriental, Geneva is a five-star hotel with contemporary Swiss hospitality. Combining luxury, style and unbeatable service, it is the perfect city retreat. Many suites enjoy private terraces with supreme views of the River Rhône, Old Town and snow-capped mountains. Fine dining, unparalleled service and luxury make it the ideal choice for discerning travellers. The property offers two main restaurants. SACHI’s innovative design features stylish table seating for guests to share exquisite combinations of modern Japanese signature dishes. Chef Mitsu, trained by the master Nobu Matsuhisa, is a renowned local figure in Japanese gastronomy. He guides guests through a range of unique and surprising flavours. SACHI also features an intimate Omakase Bar, where guests can enjoy a live 6, 8 or 10-course dining experience. Yakumanka is a Peruvian restaurant in the heart of Geneva serving authentic cuisine centred around fine seafood. The menu presents a traditional cebicheria, headed by Chef Daniel Galvez Estrada, Gastón Acurio's right-hand, who worked with him at the celebrated Astrid y Gastón restaurant. Quai Turrettini 1, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland Instagram: @mo_geneva
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