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How to live in Geneva?

Hi everyone,


my name is Brenda and I have been living with my family in London for tha past 9 years, now planning to relocate to Geneva for work reasons. We have 2 kids aged 4 and 2.


We recently came to Geneva to visit the city and we were quite optimistic since a few friends told us it's a beautiful one.


We were quite confused though as we realised the city centre was really empty (we visited on a Friday and Saturday) and we couldn't find any good pedestrian area with cafes to have a stop with the kids for example. We walked around the train station area where we had the hotel for mere conveniency (not judging the city from that area of course) and then we walked around Eaux-vives and in the Old town, climbing towards the highest streets. The only lively place was the high street in the old town, however there was nothing apart from jewels and chain stores, and the only option to get some breakfast was to enter a COOP. 


We found the buildings generally quite 'decadent' and not well-kept, certainly some looked empty, and the area by the lake was empty too. On the rive gauche the sidewalk is just a few metres away from the street, making it not so pleasant  for a stroll with kids or a run (there were people running, although I would not run next to a busy road.


What did we do wrong? Is there any life in the city centre that we have missed?


Where are the nicest green spaces with playgrounds?


I assume people living in Geneva don't live the city centre as much as Londoners and they might have more a routine of weekend trips, but still it felt really strange to wander in desert streets..


 


We are planning a second trip and maybe try other itineraries, both in terms of city centre and also in residential areas since we must decide where to look for a house. Any advice on that would be also appreciated. We are visiting schools on both sides of the lake (we look for a Montessori school), although the office would be close to the UN so we are not sure how feasible would be to commute from the Rive Gauche.


We liked Cologny and Chambesy, which are similar on a very smaller scale to the area where we live in London, slightly up the hill, tidy, very clean and super green.


Ideas and recommendations from both expats and Genevians are very welcome.


 


thanks!

The text you are quoting:

Hi everyone,


my name is Brenda and I have been living with my family in London for tha past 9 years, now planning to relocate to Geneva for work reasons. We have 2 kids aged 4 and 2.


We recently came to Geneva to visit the city and we were quite optimistic since a few friends told us it's a beautiful one.


We were quite confused though as we realised the city centre was really empty (we visited on a Friday and Saturday) and we couldn't find any good pedestrian area with cafes to have a stop with the kids for example. We walked around the train station area where we had the hotel for mere conveniency (not judging the city from that area of course) and then we walked around Eaux-vives and in the Old town, climbing towards the highest streets. The only lively place was the high street in the old town, however there was nothing apart from jewels and chain stores, and the only option to get some breakfast was to enter a COOP. 


We found the buildings generally quite 'decadent' and not well-kept, certainly some looked empty, and the area by the lake was empty too. On the rive gauche the sidewalk is just a few metres away from the street, making it not so pleasant  for a stroll with kids or a run (there were people running, although I would not run next to a busy road.


What did we do wrong? Is there any life in the city centre that we have missed?


Where are the nicest green spaces with playgrounds?


I assume people living in Geneva don't live the city centre as much as Londoners and they might have more a routine of weekend trips, but still it felt really strange to wander in desert streets..


 


We are planning a second trip and maybe try other itineraries, both in terms of city centre and also in residential areas since we must decide where to look for a house. Any advice on that would be also appreciated. We are visiting schools on both sides of the lake (we look for a Montessori school), although the office would be close to the UN so we are not sure how feasible would be to commute from the Rive Gauche.


We liked Cologny and Chambesy, which are similar on a very smaller scale to the area where we live in London, slightly up the hill, tidy, very clean and super green.


Ideas and recommendations from both expats and Genevians are very welcome.


 


thanks!


brenda fMar 10, 2019 @ 20:40
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 1

Hi Brenda,


The best is to come during summer....Geneva is more attractive at this time. And the weather too.


During winter, people and family are going to ski or winter activities.


You have few places to have nice breakfast or lunch, but you have to know them (try trip advisor next time).


Sarah


 


 

The text you are quoting:

Hi Brenda,


The best is to come during summer....Geneva is more attractive at this time. And the weather too.


During winter, people and family are going to ski or winter activities.


You have few places to have nice breakfast or lunch, but you have to know them (try trip advisor next time).


Sarah


 


 


sarah -, Mar 10, 2019 @ 21:26
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 2

Thanks Sarah.


i understand that winter might not be the ideal season to visit a place (any city) for a tourist, but since i will need to live there, it counts as much as summer to understand how the place works.. i do and did use tripadvisor (althought i use it carefully) and i imagine there might be a few good places, my question was more about which areas are more lively, because i can understand the weekend skiing, but honestly there was nothing and noone around. No kids, average age quite high, while i assumed there were many families living in Geneva. They must not be all on the mountains:)


 


thank you for your reply.

The text you are quoting:

Thanks Sarah.


i understand that winter might not be the ideal season to visit a place (any city) for a tourist, but since i will need to live there, it counts as much as summer to understand how the place works.. i do and did use tripadvisor (althought i use it carefully) and i imagine there might be a few good places, my question was more about which areas are more lively, because i can understand the weekend skiing, but honestly there was nothing and noone around. No kids, average age quite high, while i assumed there were many families living in Geneva. They must not be all on the mountains:)


 


thank you for your reply.


brenda f, Mar 10, 2019 @ 22:07
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 3

First of all, I think you might have visited during the week of the school winter holidays.  Geneva and even nearby France are both very quiet at that time.


Secondly, while I’m no demographer I believe the population of Geneva is a little less than 200,000 of whom some 40% are reported to be expats.  The city certainly can’t be compared to London nor can Switzerland be compared to the UK. 


Nevertheless, most of the expats living here manage to cope with local norms reasonably well and some even prefer them.


So my suggestion is that you forget about the charms of London and come to Geneva with an open mind.  You’ll find that there’s plenty to do and see – and even quite a lot to moan about if that’s your wont.


Why not look on the move as a challenge? If you really can’t bear the place, move on.  You’ll have been there and done that.  But later on it could also be that, having drunk the waters of Lake Léman, you’ll want to return and even stay.  You wouldn’t be the first to do just that.


Meanwhile, check out the dates of school and other weekend holidays on Geneva’s official website and plan your next visit when the city and its entertainment offers not to mention its traffic jams and road works are all in full swing.


Best wishes,


Ritchie

The text you are quoting:

First of all, I think you might have visited during the week of the school winter holidays.  Geneva and even nearby France are both very quiet at that time.


Secondly, while I’m no demographer I believe the population of Geneva is a little less than 200,000 of whom some 40% are reported to be expats.  The city certainly can’t be compared to London nor can Switzerland be compared to the UK. 


Nevertheless, most of the expats living here manage to cope with local norms reasonably well and some even prefer them.


So my suggestion is that you forget about the charms of London and come to Geneva with an open mind.  You’ll find that there’s plenty to do and see – and even quite a lot to moan about if that’s your wont.


Why not look on the move as a challenge? If you really can’t bear the place, move on.  You’ll have been there and done that.  But later on it could also be that, having drunk the waters of Lake Léman, you’ll want to return and even stay.  You wouldn’t be the first to do just that.


Meanwhile, check out the dates of school and other weekend holidays on Geneva’s official website and plan your next visit when the city and its entertainment offers not to mention its traffic jams and road works are all in full swing.


Best wishes,


Ritchie


Ritchie, Mar 10, 2019 @ 23:11
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 4

Hi Ritchie,


I do assure that we did came with an open mind and with no intention at all to make comparisons.


We came last Friday to visit a school so no, it wasn't a time of school holidays I think. There was the motor show so we were even expecting more people in town.


That said, my post was to ask practical advice in terms of most lively areas in the city centre (is it normal that I couldn't find a cafe' on a saturday morning?) and best residential areas to live with kids on both sides of the Lake.


I have lived all my childhood and teenage years in a tiny village, I repeat, I know what 'a small scale' means. But I haven't found that, so I assumed we did something wrong.


If you to any 200.000 inhabitants city in italy (or less!) you will find a  city centre more alive and well kept.


That said, my post was not to criticise, but to understand and ask for practical advice.


thanks to anyone who will like to give suggestions for our next trip.


Brenda

The text you are quoting:

Hi Ritchie,


I do assure that we did came with an open mind and with no intention at all to make comparisons.


We came last Friday to visit a school so no, it wasn't a time of school holidays I think. There was the motor show so we were even expecting more people in town.


That said, my post was to ask practical advice in terms of most lively areas in the city centre (is it normal that I couldn't find a cafe' on a saturday morning?) and best residential areas to live with kids on both sides of the Lake.


I have lived all my childhood and teenage years in a tiny village, I repeat, I know what 'a small scale' means. But I haven't found that, so I assumed we did something wrong.


If you to any 200.000 inhabitants city in italy (or less!) you will find a  city centre more alive and well kept.


That said, my post was not to criticise, but to understand and ask for practical advice.


thanks to anyone who will like to give suggestions for our next trip.


Brenda


brenda f, Mar 11, 2019 @ 07:10
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 5

Yours is a common complaint/observation you will find in these forums. Many expats who have been living here for a long time express those views.


In fact, when I was getting ready to move here 11 years ago, I was warned by my future co-workers that Geneva was very boring and lacked street life.


I really do not know what it is, but for some reason, some see a different city. The streets were certainly not deserted last Friday, but I believe you when you say that they looked that way to you.


If you walked around Gare Cornavin, you should have seen a lot of street life in the Rue de Lausanne, which runs northeast, parallel to the lakeshore, and in the pedestration portion of the Rue Mont Blanc, which goes directly from the station to the lake, as well as if you crossed the pont de Mont Blanc. There are large parks all along the shore of the lake, with greenery and a couple of parks for children. The Rue de Rive is an area lined with "high street" shops, which you should have seen on your way to the center of the old town.


A very lively area is Planpalais, although you would probably find it "rundown", and the area around the University of Geneva. Carouge is also quite lively, as is Paquis, but I am sure you will not like the latter.


There are cafes in the areas you mentioned. But I am not surprised by your description, as I have many posts like this in Glocals. There must be something different about the layout of Geneva that gives expats and visitors the feeling you described, but I can't put my finger on it. Some just never adapt to it.


 

The text you are quoting:

Yours is a common complaint/observation you will find in these forums. Many expats who have been living here for a long time express those views.


In fact, when I was getting ready to move here 11 years ago, I was warned by my future co-workers that Geneva was very boring and lacked street life.


I really do not know what it is, but for some reason, some see a different city. The streets were certainly not deserted last Friday, but I believe you when you say that they looked that way to you.


If you walked around Gare Cornavin, you should have seen a lot of street life in the Rue de Lausanne, which runs northeast, parallel to the lakeshore, and in the pedestration portion of the Rue Mont Blanc, which goes directly from the station to the lake, as well as if you crossed the pont de Mont Blanc. There are large parks all along the shore of the lake, with greenery and a couple of parks for children. The Rue de Rive is an area lined with "high street" shops, which you should have seen on your way to the center of the old town.


A very lively area is Planpalais, although you would probably find it "rundown", and the area around the University of Geneva. Carouge is also quite lively, as is Paquis, but I am sure you will not like the latter.


There are cafes in the areas you mentioned. But I am not surprised by your description, as I have many posts like this in Glocals. There must be something different about the layout of Geneva that gives expats and visitors the feeling you described, but I can't put my finger on it. Some just never adapt to it.


 


JR M, Mar 11, 2019 @ 08:09
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 6

Thanks JR.


I believe what you write makes sense, and it is comfroting in a way to know that you experienced the same.


I think we were expecting a more Zurich-like city, knoowing that Geneva is very rich we were also expecting it to be more well-kept, while we found ourselves surrounded by 80's decadent buildings, old-fashioned stores (expecially next to the train station) and no street life at all.


We found a dad by the lake with her 2 dughters and that was it in terms of 'family scenario'. 


My intention was really not to complain but to ask for the point of view of expats who might have experienced the same when moving to Geneva and then found their 'way' to live and enjoy the city, which is definitely what we want to do. 


We are 'nature' people and planning to live the outdoors, and not live in the city centre, but i think it's natural that we would like to live in a place that we like and where we can find a sense of community.


 


Thank you so much for your suggestions about the city centre.


Do you have areas to recommend in terms of house hunting? We are open to consider both sides of the lake, Our requirements are to be next to the school and possibly to a park since we have 2 preschoolers (scholl will be either close to the UN or in Collonge-Bellerive).


Many thanks again!


Brenda

The text you are quoting:

Thanks JR.


I believe what you write makes sense, and it is comfroting in a way to know that you experienced the same.


I think we were expecting a more Zurich-like city, knoowing that Geneva is very rich we were also expecting it to be more well-kept, while we found ourselves surrounded by 80's decadent buildings, old-fashioned stores (expecially next to the train station) and no street life at all.


We found a dad by the lake with her 2 dughters and that was it in terms of 'family scenario'. 


My intention was really not to complain but to ask for the point of view of expats who might have experienced the same when moving to Geneva and then found their 'way' to live and enjoy the city, which is definitely what we want to do. 


We are 'nature' people and planning to live the outdoors, and not live in the city centre, but i think it's natural that we would like to live in a place that we like and where we can find a sense of community.


 


Thank you so much for your suggestions about the city centre.


Do you have areas to recommend in terms of house hunting? We are open to consider both sides of the lake, Our requirements are to be next to the school and possibly to a park since we have 2 preschoolers (scholl will be either close to the UN or in Collonge-Bellerive).


Many thanks again!


Brenda


brenda f, Mar 11, 2019 @ 08:25
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 7

Well, I was actually conveying a view that is very common amongst expats, but which I do not quite share. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone.


As for where to look for a house, I could not be of much help, as I live across the border, in France. All I can say, which you probably already know, is that housing is very expensive in Geneva. The city continues to build office and work buildings, but no residential buildings, which creates a real crunch. And on the French side, construction companies, with the complicity of the French town governments, continue to build, which is lowering the quality of life here.


As for the best way to adapt and find a sense of community, I think you should come with the understanding that you are going to have to work and put some effort, into building your own community, probably starting from co-workers or other parents at your children's school.


But you should be aware that, if Geneva gives you the feeling it does, my expectation is that the feeling will not go away, even in summer, when you will see more people in the streets, and around the lake. I don't think it is just a first impression, but something about the city, even if I can't put my finger on it.

The text you are quoting:

Well, I was actually conveying a view that is very common amongst expats, but which I do not quite share. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone.


As for where to look for a house, I could not be of much help, as I live across the border, in France. All I can say, which you probably already know, is that housing is very expensive in Geneva. The city continues to build office and work buildings, but no residential buildings, which creates a real crunch. And on the French side, construction companies, with the complicity of the French town governments, continue to build, which is lowering the quality of life here.


As for the best way to adapt and find a sense of community, I think you should come with the understanding that you are going to have to work and put some effort, into building your own community, probably starting from co-workers or other parents at your children's school.


But you should be aware that, if Geneva gives you the feeling it does, my expectation is that the feeling will not go away, even in summer, when you will see more people in the streets, and around the lake. I don't think it is just a first impression, but something about the city, even if I can't put my finger on it.


JR M, Mar 11, 2019 @ 10:12
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 8

Thank you for your honest reply. i do appreciate it.

The text you are quoting:

Thank you for your honest reply. i do appreciate it.


brenda f, Mar 11, 2019 @ 10:52
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 9

What about a career move to FAO ?


Maybe that might suit you better.


Best, R.

The text you are quoting:

What about a career move to FAO ?


Maybe that might suit you better.


Best, R.


Ritchie, Mar 11, 2019 @ 10:58
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 10

Dear Ritchie, 


I posted here to look for some contructive answers, and looking for a dialogue with other expats who might have experienced my same confusion/issues/doubts and then found a way to make the most of the city, as well as from locals that might want to help me understand how the city works.


Since I have very little time to explore the city before the move and need to make quite important decisions on where to live, I'd need advice (as practical and helpful as possible) not sarcasm.


I hope this makes sense.


thanks


 


Brenda


Sarcasm is not helpful.

The text you are quoting:

Dear Ritchie, 


I posted here to look for some contructive answers, and looking for a dialogue with other expats who might have experienced my same confusion/issues/doubts and then found a way to make the most of the city, as well as from locals that might want to help me understand how the city works.


Since I have very little time to explore the city before the move and need to make quite important decisions on where to live, I'd need advice (as practical and helpful as possible) not sarcasm.


I hope this makes sense.


thanks


 


Brenda


Sarcasm is not helpful.


brenda f, Mar 11, 2019 @ 13:32
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 11

Dear Ritchie, 

I posted here to look for some contructive answers, and looking for a dialogue with other expats who might have experienced my same confusion/issues/doubts and then found a way to make the most of the city, as well as from locals that might want to help me understand how the city works.

Since I have very little time to explore the city before the move and need to make quite important decisions on where to live, I'd need advice (as practical and helpful as possible) not sarcasm.

I hope this makes sense.

thanks

 

Brenda

Sarcasm is not helpful.


Mar 11, 19 13:32

Nor is your snap and condescending judgement of Geneva and its street life.

The text you are quoting:

Nor is your snap and condescending judgement of Geneva and its street life.


Ritchie, Mar 11, 2019 @ 13:47
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 12

Is that all you were able to see in Geneva: "decadent buildings and old fashioned stores"? How strange. You must not have visited that same city that I work in.


Karin

The text you are quoting:

Is that all you were able to see in Geneva: "decadent buildings and old fashioned stores"? How strange. You must not have visited that same city that I work in.


Karin


Karin E, Mar 11, 2019 @ 13:56
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 13

Reporting my experience and gut feeling after a mere 48 hour stay and asking for advice is not judging. Honestly i have no time to waste chatting on forums just to judge. I signed up to look for answers And help and i’m just being honest, otherwise how can one understand? If someone came to me saying that london is dusty, i would just llaugh and answer. It is indeed dusty! But there are better areas. you clearly love Geneva, so why not to share tips to answer my specific questions instead of taking my post personal?  


 

The text you are quoting:

Reporting my experience and gut feeling after a mere 48 hour stay and asking for advice is not judging. Honestly i have no time to waste chatting on forums just to judge. I signed up to look for answers And help and i’m just being honest, otherwise how can one understand? If someone came to me saying that london is dusty, i would just llaugh and answer. It is indeed dusty! But there are better areas. you clearly love Geneva, so why not to share tips to answer my specific questions instead of taking my post personal?  


 


brenda f, Mar 11, 2019 @ 14:00
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 14

I am in fact here to ask fotlr suggestions on what to see. Why is everyone here taking it personal?


we only had 48 hours and walked around the city centre where yes, we struggled to find things to do with our daughters And also places for a snack or a quick lunch.  But walking around with kids is not easy so we couldn’t explore as much as we wanted, so we are planning another trip without them. For this reason i would need advice on what to see and where to go, 


if you have some , they’d be appreciated.


 

The text you are quoting:

I am in fact here to ask fotlr suggestions on what to see. Why is everyone here taking it personal?


we only had 48 hours and walked around the city centre where yes, we struggled to find things to do with our daughters And also places for a snack or a quick lunch.  But walking around with kids is not easy so we couldn’t explore as much as we wanted, so we are planning another trip without them. For this reason i would need advice on what to see and where to go, 


if you have some , they’d be appreciated.


 


brenda f, Mar 11, 2019 @ 14:09
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 15

...must be nice to be choosing between Cologny and Chambesy

The text you are quoting:

...must be nice to be choosing between Cologny and Chambesy


Sean C, Mar 11, 2019 @ 14:40
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 16

Hi Brenda, check your inbox :-)!

The text you are quoting:

Hi Brenda, check your inbox :-)!


sarah -, Mar 11, 2019 @ 15:45
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 17

Hi Brenda,


The impression you caught of Geneva is quite exact.


Note that the city becomes more lively in spring and summer, but still will feel very quiet to someone who's used to London.


For the best green areas, take a stroll through Parc de la Perle du Lac and Parc La Grange. In summer there's also Baby Plage and a new beach just aside which is currently being built. A bit more far away, you can do beautiful hikes in the Geneva countryside and neighboring France.


If you'll work near the UN you should avoid renting a place on Rive Gauche, as Geneva experiences hypermassive traffic jams in rush hours.


This said, welcome to Switzerland!


 


 

The text you are quoting:

Hi Brenda,


The impression you caught of Geneva is quite exact.


Note that the city becomes more lively in spring and summer, but still will feel very quiet to someone who's used to London.


For the best green areas, take a stroll through Parc de la Perle du Lac and Parc La Grange. In summer there's also Baby Plage and a new beach just aside which is currently being built. A bit more far away, you can do beautiful hikes in the Geneva countryside and neighboring France.


If you'll work near the UN you should avoid renting a place on Rive Gauche, as Geneva experiences hypermassive traffic jams in rush hours.


This said, welcome to Switzerland!


 


 


TheOmegaMan, Mar 11, 2019 @ 17:15
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 18

Hi Brenda!


Don't get discouraged! There are lots of nice people here who want to help new arrivals acclimate to Geneva. 


I'm an expat who came here for the first time 2 years ago and felt the same way you do. Geneva was very different from the city I was born in and I felt isolated and was hit with a bit of culture shock.


I promise that the people you'll meet here (offline especially) will redeem the place for you. 


Like every city, Geneva has some unpleasant qualities. However, I think that after living here you will find it quite peaceful and friendly. There's also lots of natural beauty surrounding the city and many large (but hidden) parks. Check out the Champel neighborhood! The Genève Cornavin train station makes it easy to travel all around the country. A good place to grab coffee near Cornavin is he Boréal coffee shop (I like to work there sometimes).


Also- I highly recommend learning french (if you don't already) and practising it in your daily life here. It will also help you integrate with the local community better. This is one of the most multicultural and multilingual cities in central europe, take advantage!


If you ever need a friend or want to grab a coffee, I'm here!


Wishing you the best,



Sarah

The text you are quoting:

Hi Brenda!


Don't get discouraged! There are lots of nice people here who want to help new arrivals acclimate to Geneva. 


I'm an expat who came here for the first time 2 years ago and felt the same way you do. Geneva was very different from the city I was born in and I felt isolated and was hit with a bit of culture shock.


I promise that the people you'll meet here (offline especially) will redeem the place for you. 


Like every city, Geneva has some unpleasant qualities. However, I think that after living here you will find it quite peaceful and friendly. There's also lots of natural beauty surrounding the city and many large (but hidden) parks. Check out the Champel neighborhood! The Genève Cornavin train station makes it easy to travel all around the country. A good place to grab coffee near Cornavin is he Boréal coffee shop (I like to work there sometimes).


Also- I highly recommend learning french (if you don't already) and practising it in your daily life here. It will also help you integrate with the local community better. This is one of the most multicultural and multilingual cities in central europe, take advantage!


If you ever need a friend or want to grab a coffee, I'm here!


Wishing you the best,



Sarah


Sarah M, Mar 11, 2019 @ 17:25
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 19

Thanks!


The issue is that the school would be on the Rive Gauche, and that is our priority.


How long do you think it takes to go from municipalities on the rive gauche to UN?


thanks again

The text you are quoting:

Thanks!


The issue is that the school would be on the Rive Gauche, and that is our priority.


How long do you think it takes to go from municipalities on the rive gauche to UN?


thanks again


brenda f, Mar 11, 2019 @ 17:32
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 20

Hi Brenda!

Don't get discouraged! There are lots of nice people here who want to help new arrivals acclimate to Geneva. 

I'm an expat who came here for the first time 2 years ago and felt the same way you do. Geneva was very different from the city I was born in and I felt isolated and was hit with a bit of culture shock.

I promise that the people you'll meet here (offline especially) will redeem the place for you. 

Like every city, Geneva has some unpleasant qualities. However, I think that after living here you will find it quite peaceful and friendly. There's also lots of natural beauty surrounding the city and many large (but hidden) parks. Check out the Champel neighborhood! The Genève Cornavin train station makes it easy to travel all around the country. A good place to grab coffee near Cornavin is he Boréal coffee shop (I like to work there sometimes).

Also- I highly recommend learning french (if you don't already) and practising it in your daily life here. It will also help you integrate with the local community better. This is one of the most multicultural and multilingual cities in central europe, take advantage!

If you ever need a friend or want to grab a coffee, I'm here!

Wishing you the best,


Sarah


Mar 11, 19 17:25

Thank you Sarah!


I will definitely check the places you mentioned. It's a huge adjustment for us but we want to make it work.


 


 

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Thank you Sarah!


I will definitely check the places you mentioned. It's a huge adjustment for us but we want to make it work.


 


 


brenda f, Mar 11, 2019 @ 18:07
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 21

Tongue Out



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Tongue Out


Panos K, Mar 12, 2019 @ 08:27
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 22

Thanks!

The issue is that the school would be on the Rive Gauche, and that is our priority.

How long do you think it takes to go from municipalities on the rive gauche to UN?

thanks again


Mar 11, 19 17:32

Totally depends what you want really.. 


I commute 50 mins each way daily, by public transport, in and out of Geneva because I prefer a vilalge life and I can have a big house with a pool in the garden for the same price as an appartment in the old town.


My kids go to local school, we have a village shop and we know the postman by first name.. Kids walk to school themselves at 4 etc etc . You get the idea.


Geneva is simply nothing like Zurich, it's more of an office block with some shops and a lake.. Sure it's beautifil around the lake in summer but the center is just not lively.. People leave after work.


However : Commuting is easy, the main highway between Geneva and Lausanne is not like the M25, and trains etc are fast and frequent. Don't be too put off by living 20km away for example. 

The text you are quoting:

Totally depends what you want really.. 


I commute 50 mins each way daily, by public transport, in and out of Geneva because I prefer a vilalge life and I can have a big house with a pool in the garden for the same price as an appartment in the old town.


My kids go to local school, we have a village shop and we know the postman by first name.. Kids walk to school themselves at 4 etc etc . You get the idea.


Geneva is simply nothing like Zurich, it's more of an office block with some shops and a lake.. Sure it's beautifil around the lake in summer but the center is just not lively.. People leave after work.


However : Commuting is easy, the main highway between Geneva and Lausanne is not like the M25, and trains etc are fast and frequent. Don't be too put off by living 20km away for example. 


John H, Mar 12, 2019 @ 15:51
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 23

Totally depends what you want really.. 

I commute 50 mins each way daily, by public transport, in and out of Geneva because I prefer a vilalge life and I can have a big house with a pool in the garden for the same price as an appartment in the old town.

My kids go to local school, we have a village shop and we know the postman by first name.. Kids walk to school themselves at 4 etc etc . You get the idea.

Geneva is simply nothing like Zurich, it's more of an office block with some shops and a lake.. Sure it's beautifil around the lake in summer but the center is just not lively.. People leave after work.

However : Commuting is easy, the main highway between Geneva and Lausanne is not like the M25, and trains etc are fast and frequent. Don't be too put off by living 20km away for example. 


Mar 12, 19 15:51

I would endorse what you say but I think Brenda has enrolled her children in a Montessori school on the left bank.

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I would endorse what you say but I think Brenda has enrolled her children in a Montessori school on the left bank.


Ritchie, Mar 12, 2019 @ 16:25
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 24

No-one hardly ever complains about living in Lausanne and many even commute to GE.  ;)

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No-one hardly ever complains about living in Lausanne and many even commute to GE.  ;)


JulianT, Mar 13, 2019 @ 10:17
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 25

No-one hardly ever complains about living in Lausanne and many even commute to GE.  ;)


Mar 13, 19 10:17

Hi Julian, I've heard many good things about Lausanne, will definitely plan a visit!

The text you are quoting:

Hi Julian, I've heard many good things about Lausanne, will definitely plan a visit!


brenda f, Mar 13, 2019 @ 10:19
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 26

Totally depends what you want really.. 

I commute 50 mins each way daily, by public transport, in and out of Geneva because I prefer a vilalge life and I can have a big house with a pool in the garden for the same price as an appartment in the old town.

My kids go to local school, we have a village shop and we know the postman by first name.. Kids walk to school themselves at 4 etc etc . You get the idea.

Geneva is simply nothing like Zurich, it's more of an office block with some shops and a lake.. Sure it's beautifil around the lake in summer but the center is just not lively.. People leave after work.

However : Commuting is easy, the main highway between Geneva and Lausanne is not like the M25, and trains etc are fast and frequent. Don't be too put off by living 20km away for example. 


Mar 12, 19 15:51

Thanks for the insight John.


It helps to get a better picture of the situation.


What you have sounds like what we currently have in London.

The text you are quoting:

Thanks for the insight John.


It helps to get a better picture of the situation.


What you have sounds like what we currently have in London.


brenda f, Mar 13, 2019 @ 10:22
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 27

I live in Lausanne and work in Geneva-commuting by train.


Lausanne is a lovely city indeed with a vibrant cultural life. Karin

The text you are quoting:

I live in Lausanne and work in Geneva-commuting by train.


Lausanne is a lovely city indeed with a vibrant cultural life. Karin


Karin E, Mar 13, 2019 @ 10:30
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 28

Thanks for the insight John.

It helps to get a better picture of the situation.

What you have sounds like what we currently have in London.


Mar 13, 19 10:22

 


Yup .. I used to live in Harpenden, for a few years I did the M1/M25/M40 everyday.. Nightmare.. Then i worked at canary warf and did public transport..Not much better.. 


Here the public transport is a fraction of the London cost and it just works.. Indeed many people in my office (Geneva) are coming in daily from villages around Lausanne.


 


 


 

The text you are quoting:

 


Yup .. I used to live in Harpenden, for a few years I did the M1/M25/M40 everyday.. Nightmare.. Then i worked at canary warf and did public transport..Not much better.. 


Here the public transport is a fraction of the London cost and it just works.. Indeed many people in my office (Geneva) are coming in daily from villages around Lausanne.


 


 


 


John H, Mar 13, 2019 @ 10:37
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 29

Hi, I moved to Geneva from a small town 30 years ago (I am Swiss) and felt exactly like you seeing the city on the week-end for the first time so I understand your reaction. Now I love living here but perhaps because  I enjoy quite simple things like swimming in the lake before work, going to concerts in parks, etc. The city center on the week-ends or at night can look pretty grim, but every time I came home in the early hours of the morning I saw many groups of people in town who must have known where to find their fun. I also seem to come across children everywhere in cafés, parks and markets. In the Plainpalais area, rue de l'Ecole de médecine, there are lots of cafés (perhaps a younger crowd at the Ecole de médecine). The quartier des Bains has art galleries. I hear it is possible to listen regularly to good classical music. L'Usine would offer other types of music. It depends what you are looking for. Families with children seem to enjoy the many parks especially in the warmer months naturally. The Bains des Paquis is quite basic but nice with children (lots of activities) and there is a heated area in winter. If you live somewhat out of the city center, there would be local cafés. Perhaps it is a matter of knowing a few good spots rather than just be able to walk down the hight street.
If Cologny is your standard for housing, I am afraid I am no use but surely any agency should be able to help you. The area going from Eaux-Vives to Chênes Bougeries is on the left Bank and there are houses there (some rather old). Champel is on the left Bank too but seems to be mostly appartments. Perhaps you could try Veyrier, closer to the Salève or some of the surrounding communes.
I always use public transport so cannot help with trafic information, but many international civil servants use the tram to go to the UN too.
Just bear in mind: Geneva might be fairly prosperous and contain many wealthy people but a significant share of the population is quite hard up. Steps are taken to try and keep living conditions tolerable for everyone, which could explain the run-downs buildings (I hear the rents have to be kept so low that it is not worth renovating ...:)) and the fact that the city is not entirely luxurious. Empty building in the city on the week-ends would be offices.
Hope you find something that suits you.


 


 

The text you are quoting:

Hi, I moved to Geneva from a small town 30 years ago (I am Swiss) and felt exactly like you seeing the city on the week-end for the first time so I understand your reaction. Now I love living here but perhaps because  I enjoy quite simple things like swimming in the lake before work, going to concerts in parks, etc. The city center on the week-ends or at night can look pretty grim, but every time I came home in the early hours of the morning I saw many groups of people in town who must have known where to find their fun. I also seem to come across children everywhere in cafés, parks and markets. In the Plainpalais area, rue de l'Ecole de médecine, there are lots of cafés (perhaps a younger crowd at the Ecole de médecine). The quartier des Bains has art galleries. I hear it is possible to listen regularly to good classical music. L'Usine would offer other types of music. It depends what you are looking for. Families with children seem to enjoy the many parks especially in the warmer months naturally. The Bains des Paquis is quite basic but nice with children (lots of activities) and there is a heated area in winter. If you live somewhat out of the city center, there would be local cafés. Perhaps it is a matter of knowing a few good spots rather than just be able to walk down the hight street.
If Cologny is your standard for housing, I am afraid I am no use but surely any agency should be able to help you. The area going from Eaux-Vives to Chênes Bougeries is on the left Bank and there are houses there (some rather old). Champel is on the left Bank too but seems to be mostly appartments. Perhaps you could try Veyrier, closer to the Salève or some of the surrounding communes.
I always use public transport so cannot help with trafic information, but many international civil servants use the tram to go to the UN too.
Just bear in mind: Geneva might be fairly prosperous and contain many wealthy people but a significant share of the population is quite hard up. Steps are taken to try and keep living conditions tolerable for everyone, which could explain the run-downs buildings (I hear the rents have to be kept so low that it is not worth renovating ...:)) and the fact that the city is not entirely luxurious. Empty building in the city on the week-ends would be offices.
Hope you find something that suits you.


 


 


Anne P, Mar 13, 2019 @ 11:27
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 30

Hi, I moved to Geneva from a small town 30 years ago (I am Swiss) and felt exactly like you seeing the city on the week-end for the first time so I understand your reaction. Now I love living here but perhaps because  I enjoy quite simple things like swimming in the lake before work, going to concerts in parks, etc. The city center on the week-ends or at night can look pretty grim, but every time I came home in the early hours of the morning I saw many groups of people in town who must have known where to find their fun. I also seem to come across children everywhere in cafés, parks and markets. In the Plainpalais area, rue de l'Ecole de médecine, there are lots of cafés (perhaps a younger crowd at the Ecole de médecine). The quartier des Bains has art galleries. I hear it is possible to listen regularly to good classical music. L'Usine would offer other types of music. It depends what you are looking for. Families with children seem to enjoy the many parks especially in the warmer months naturally. The Bains des Paquis is quite basic but nice with children (lots of activities) and there is a heated area in winter. If you live somewhat out of the city center, there would be local cafés. Perhaps it is a matter of knowing a few good spots rather than just be able to walk down the hight street.
If Cologny is your standard for housing, I am afraid I am no use but surely any agency should be able to help you. The area going from Eaux-Vives to Chênes Bougeries is on the left Bank and there are houses there (some rather old). Champel is on the left Bank too but seems to be mostly appartments. Perhaps you could try Veyrier, closer to the Salève or some of the surrounding communes.
I always use public transport so cannot help with trafic information, but many international civil servants use the tram to go to the UN too.
Just bear in mind: Geneva might be fairly prosperous and contain many wealthy people but a significant share of the population is quite hard up. Steps are taken to try and keep living conditions tolerable for everyone, which could explain the run-downs buildings (I hear the rents have to be kept so low that it is not worth renovating ...:)) and the fact that the city is not entirely luxurious. Empty building in the city on the week-ends would be offices.
Hope you find something that suits you.

 

 


Mar 13, 19 11:27

Dear Anne,


 


thanks so much for your detailed reply and practical advices, that's really what I need and you are right, what I missed were information about a few nice spots to visit in order to find some connection with the city. I will definitely look into your suggestions.


Cologny is indeed very expensive, I don't think we will end up there, I just mentioned it because I found the area clean and safe, almost like a small village but next to the city, which felt of course better than walking around the streets closer to the lake. We are very open to use public transport, but i suppose that doesn't make it any quicker from one side to the lake to the other..


Thanks though for the explanation, everything starts to make more sense.

The text you are quoting:

Dear Anne,


 


thanks so much for your detailed reply and practical advices, that's really what I need and you are right, what I missed were information about a few nice spots to visit in order to find some connection with the city. I will definitely look into your suggestions.


Cologny is indeed very expensive, I don't think we will end up there, I just mentioned it because I found the area clean and safe, almost like a small village but next to the city, which felt of course better than walking around the streets closer to the lake. We are very open to use public transport, but i suppose that doesn't make it any quicker from one side to the lake to the other..


Thanks though for the explanation, everything starts to make more sense.


brenda f, Mar 13, 2019 @ 11:39
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 31

I thought I’d just add a word or two to the wise about petty theft in Geneva.  This happens a lot, especially  on the trams, in restaurants and parks, all over in fact, so be sure to hold on to your possessions.


I also recommend that for everyday purposes you carry photocopies of documents such as a passport or a work permit rather than the originals, exception being made of course for occasions when only the original will do.


Also, communes like the very pleasant and active “Trois Chênes” are close to the border so check the security installation s carefully when you visit a property to rent.


And never forget that Geneva is frontier town and the borders are very easy to cross.


All the best, R.

The text you are quoting:

I thought I’d just add a word or two to the wise about petty theft in Geneva.  This happens a lot, especially  on the trams, in restaurants and parks, all over in fact, so be sure to hold on to your possessions.


I also recommend that for everyday purposes you carry photocopies of documents such as a passport or a work permit rather than the originals, exception being made of course for occasions when only the original will do.


Also, communes like the very pleasant and active “Trois Chênes” are close to the border so check the security installation s carefully when you visit a property to rent.


And never forget that Geneva is frontier town and the borders are very easy to cross.


All the best, R.


Ritchie, Mar 13, 2019 @ 16:36
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 32

I thought I’d just add a word or two to the wise about petty theft in Geneva.  This happens a lot, especially  on the trams, in restaurants and parks, all over in fact, so be sure to hold on to your possessions.

I also recommend that for everyday purposes you carry photocopies of documents such as a passport or a work permit rather than the originals, exception being made of course for occasions when only the original will do.

Also, communes like the very pleasant and active “Trois Chênes” are close to the border so check the security installation s carefully when you visit a property to rent.

And never forget that Geneva is frontier town and the borders are very easy to cross.

All the best, R.


Mar 13, 19 16:36

Thanks Ritchie, 


Definitely not an issue I had so far in London (it happens but standard precautions are usually enough) so will definitely keep that in mind!


 

The text you are quoting:

Thanks Ritchie, 


Definitely not an issue I had so far in London (it happens but standard precautions are usually enough) so will definitely keep that in mind!


 


brenda f, Mar 13, 2019 @ 18:23
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 33

Here's a good website for families in Geneva:  www.genèvefamille.ch


And this is a good website too for things to do here: mybiggeneva.com


Also, your new work colleagues will give you plenty of advice and information too about what's on where.


It's not easy to point out where to go for shopping etc as it's quite widespread. There are plenty of small boutiques but not concentrated in one particular area. Same goes for coffee shops (or tea-rooms/patisseries here). Outdoor terraces operate from March 1st to Oct 31st.


The countryside here is lovely if you don't like the city and so don't be afraid to try further out for accommodation like Gy, Meinier, Puplinge, Presinge, Corsier if you want to stay in the Cologny area. Lovely villages but not too far. There's a lot of cycling here too and as the canton is not too big, it might even be quicker going to work that way.


As pointed out earlier, a lot people head to the flea market in Plainpalais on Saturdays. You didn't seem to go to that area when you were here. The "gare" is not great but it generally is not the area anywhere to hang out. The big night out is Thursday on the otherhand as everyone leaves the city after work on Friday! You will also develop the habit of going into the mountains or heading to the Riviera on the weekend too as it's really a great thing to do! From Spring on, up until Autumn, there are many activities, events, concerts etc on outside as the weather gets quite good here.


As someone else pointed out, if you don't speak any French, make an effort to learn it. They will appreciate it and see it is an effort of intergration. While Geneva is an international city, it's still Genevois and French is the lingua franca!


I have lived here for 22 years and in the beginning I cried every Sunday because I thought the place was so dead. But that's because it is a very different society than, for example, London. It can seem quiet on the weekends. In London, the atmosphere is more easily tangible but here it is like the Swiss - it's very discreet and very respectful! Let yourself discover Geneva without TOO much anticipation. It's not perfect but it's really not like what you have just experienced and definitely not run down, that's only an impression.


 


 

The text you are quoting:

Here's a good website for families in Geneva:  www.genèvefamille.ch


And this is a good website too for things to do here: mybiggeneva.com


Also, your new work colleagues will give you plenty of advice and information too about what's on where.


It's not easy to point out where to go for shopping etc as it's quite widespread. There are plenty of small boutiques but not concentrated in one particular area. Same goes for coffee shops (or tea-rooms/patisseries here). Outdoor terraces operate from March 1st to Oct 31st.


The countryside here is lovely if you don't like the city and so don't be afraid to try further out for accommodation like Gy, Meinier, Puplinge, Presinge, Corsier if you want to stay in the Cologny area. Lovely villages but not too far. There's a lot of cycling here too and as the canton is not too big, it might even be quicker going to work that way.


As pointed out earlier, a lot people head to the flea market in Plainpalais on Saturdays. You didn't seem to go to that area when you were here. The "gare" is not great but it generally is not the area anywhere to hang out. The big night out is Thursday on the otherhand as everyone leaves the city after work on Friday! You will also develop the habit of going into the mountains or heading to the Riviera on the weekend too as it's really a great thing to do! From Spring on, up until Autumn, there are many activities, events, concerts etc on outside as the weather gets quite good here.


As someone else pointed out, if you don't speak any French, make an effort to learn it. They will appreciate it and see it is an effort of intergration. While Geneva is an international city, it's still Genevois and French is the lingua franca!


I have lived here for 22 years and in the beginning I cried every Sunday because I thought the place was so dead. But that's because it is a very different society than, for example, London. It can seem quiet on the weekends. In London, the atmosphere is more easily tangible but here it is like the Swiss - it's very discreet and very respectful! Let yourself discover Geneva without TOO much anticipation. It's not perfect but it's really not like what you have just experienced and definitely not run down, that's only an impression.


 


 


Anne-Marie L, Mar 13, 2019 @ 19:26
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 34

I also cried quite a lot when I first came to Geneva because it was so difficult then to meet anyone of my own age.  My first Christmas Day, alone in a small furnished room, was particularly poignant.


But, as Anne-Marie says, one learns to adapt and even appreciate the change of pace.  Being able to visit so many other interesting places is also a big plus, provided one has the wherewithal of course.


Best, R.

The text you are quoting:

I also cried quite a lot when I first came to Geneva because it was so difficult then to meet anyone of my own age.  My first Christmas Day, alone in a small furnished room, was particularly poignant.


But, as Anne-Marie says, one learns to adapt and even appreciate the change of pace.  Being able to visit so many other interesting places is also a big plus, provided one has the wherewithal of course.


Best, R.


Ritchie, Mar 13, 2019 @ 20:23
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 35

"It's not easy to point out where to go for shopping etc as it's quite widespread. There are plenty of small boutiques but not concentrated in one particular area."


I am not sure what that comment means, but there are in fact large shopping centers like Balexert, La Praille and Planete Charmilles, as well as smaller ones on several locations, as well as concentrations of shops along the Rue de Rive and around Manor. In fact, if you want to be around large numbers of people, that is one place to go, though it is not the kind of environment where I would go to socialize.

The text you are quoting:

"It's not easy to point out where to go for shopping etc as it's quite widespread. There are plenty of small boutiques but not concentrated in one particular area."


I am not sure what that comment means, but there are in fact large shopping centers like Balexert, La Praille and Planete Charmilles, as well as smaller ones on several locations, as well as concentrations of shops along the Rue de Rive and around Manor. In fact, if you want to be around large numbers of people, that is one place to go, though it is not the kind of environment where I would go to socialize.


JR M, Mar 13, 2019 @ 20:29
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 36

What I meant was small independent boutiques! But, yes of course, there are shopping centres too! And Manor has a really good atmosphere on the weekend but I agree, it can get overcrowded....

The text you are quoting:

What I meant was small independent boutiques! But, yes of course, there are shopping centres too! And Manor has a really good atmosphere on the weekend but I agree, it can get overcrowded....


Anne-Marie L, Mar 13, 2019 @ 21:22
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Re: How to live in Geneva?
Post 37

One can find small boutiques in the old Carouge (rue Vautier, rue Ancienne, rue du Marché, rue Saint Victor and around). It's really lovely and worth a stroll.

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One can find small boutiques in the old Carouge (rue Vautier, rue Ancienne, rue du Marché, rue Saint Victor and around). It's really lovely and worth a stroll.


TheOmegaMan, Mar 14, 2019 @ 12:49
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