A Day in Geneva

On my way back from the Alps, I spent a day in Geneva. With no real agenda in mind – except lunch and dinner – I simply roamed around the city.

I started at the Brunswick Monument in Jardin des Alpes.

The mausoleum was built in 1879 to commomerate the life of Charles II, Duke of Brunswick, who left the city of Geneva his entire estate in exchange for the monument, specifying that it be a replica of the Scaliger Tombs in Verona, Italy.

Crossing the Mont-Blanc Bridge

to Jardin Anglais where the famous flower clock was created in 1955.

The needles change color according to the seasons and the blooms. The second hand, which marks the seconds, is 2.5 meters long and is the largest in the world.

In the old town, I visited Cathédale Saint-Pierre

with its flamboyant Chapel of the Maccabees

The Chapel was built between 1400 and 1405 in Gothic style for Jean de Brogny, a cardinal under Pope Clément VII (Robert of Geneva), to house his tomb and that of the members of his family. During the Reformation, the chapel was converted into a salt store and was then used by the Academy from 1670. It was restored in the 19th century in a neo-Gothic style. The chapel vault was redecorated with the celestial chorus theme according to the exact layout of the original frescoes. The Walcker organ, a historical instrument inaugurated in 1889, is placed on the site of the cardinal’s tomb.

After lunch, I trekked north of the town to Palais des Nations (the United National office at Geneva), formerly headquarter of the League of Nations.

Known as the “predecessor of the United Nations”, the League of Nations (1920 – 1946) was an intergovernmental organization established after the WWI to promote peace and prevent war through diplomacy. However, in the 1930s, the spirit of cooperation gradually yielded to a rising sense of nationalism. Important members  such as Germany, Italy, and Japan left the organization, and by the time the Second World War broke out in 1939, many had abandoned the League of Nations and had instead returned to the traditional system of defensive alliances and power blocs. At the end of the war, 43 states were still Members of the League of Nations, though for all intents and purposes the organization had ceased to exist. In 1945, 50 governments came together to form the United Nations: an organization with remarkable similarities to the League of Nations but built on a more resilient structure, with committed members, and equipped with more effective tools to prevent or contain conflicts. The League of Nations officially ceased to exist in 1946, all its assets and documents were transferred to the United Nations. 

where, in front of it, stood a giant chair with a broken leg.

“Broken Chair’ is a monumental sculpture designed by Swiss artist Daniel Berset, and constructed by carpenter Louis Genève. It was erected by Handicap International on August 18th 1997 to symbolises the campaign against land mines and cluster bombs.

I went as far as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum,

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the largest humanitarian network in the world. with the mission is to alleviate human suffering, protect life and health, and uphold human dignity especially during armed conflicts and other emergencies.

Before circling back towards the water and took refuge under the trees at Geneva Botanical Garden, as the temperature climbed up to 95 degrees fahrenheit (35 degrees celsius),

I then took a stroll along the shore of Lake Geneva

to the spot where Empress Elizabeth(Sissi) of Austria was assassinated on September 10th, 1898 by an Italian Anarchist.

For food, I satisfied my craving for Eritrean dishes at Hidmona-ge.

Here we have: beef Zigni in spicy tomato sauce (so good), Chicken Dorho with onions and garlic rubbed with bebere spices, cooked till tender and beef Kulwa – spicy beef stirfry. Served on a plate of injera

And savoured authentic Thai – – Yam Woon Sen, Tom Yum Kung and Thai ice tea – at Soï.

I checked out the fine-dining scene at L’Aparté – Geneva’s new Michelin Star restaurant, also hailed as the best restaurant in the city.

Chef Armel Bedouet came from Brittany, France. The menu is seafood focused, sourcing ingredients from his home region as well as Switzerland. I picked the 5 course Menu Découverte (106 CHF or $107).

First, the amuse bouche

Left to Right: Mackerel wrapped in cucumber, decorated with hibiscus; Sablé cauliflower mousse ,pickled cauliflower; tomato, green peas purée, herb gelée

Then came three types of shellfish: abalone, cockles and razor clams in bouillon of shellfish jus, pickled vegetables and herb emulsion.

which was absolutely amazing!

The house bread was paired with butter from Gruyère and sea salt from Guerande

Apetizer were:

Mackerel marinated in lemon, olive oil and olives; (right) Tourneau crab from Brittany, cucumber pickle and cucumber and hazelnut oil gelée

Cucumber soup, wasabi and oxalis.

The main dishes were :

Lobsters with two types of mayo: vanilla and black garlic, green tomato ketchup; lobster jus reduction infused with vanilla.

Monkfish poached with ponzu, broccoli purée, artichoke purée and chips, sauce beurre citroneé.

This was the least of my favourites on the menu. The monkfish could be more tender and there’s too much purée in the mix. It could also use more flavour.

Plus more artichoke chips on the side!

And duck breast with variety of carrots, shiso, duck jus in pearl onion cup.

Duck leg confit with cherry vinegar, on the side.

I like that the chef always give extra sauce/accompaniment on the side, as each individual’s taste could be different. It was delicious 

Dessert came with:

Tartlet with almond cream, cherry sorbet

Strawberry from Geneva, in carpaccio, sorbet, cups and purée, marzipan and meringue fingers

And Petit Fours

Right to left: chocolate ganache, lemon with mixed herb (mint, thyme, verbena) gelée, pistachio tart, rhubarb pâtes des fruits with shiso

Chef Armel Bedouet came to the table and personally curated each dish in French. My Menu Découverte costed only CHF 106, which was surprisingly good value considering Geneva being the 5th most expensive city in the world. I can’t wait to be back and try their three course lunch menu!

After dinner, I ambled back to the lakefront. The air had cooled down with a gentle breeze. Across the lake, the jagged peaks of Mont Blanc beckoned me as the full moon surfaced in the pink sky.

Goodbye Geneva and goodbye Mont Blanc!

I shall be back!

This concludes my summer trip to the French & Swiss Alps. All the posts can be found here:

Summer in the French Alps

Gorges de la Diosaz

Hiking in the French Alps: Lac Blanc

Hiking in the French Alps: Lacs des Chéserys

Easy day in the French Alps – the summit of Le Brévent

Hiking in the French Alps: Grand Balcon Sud

Hiking in the French & Swiss Alps – Col de Balme

Annecy, France

Geneva, Switzerland

Aiguille du Midi, France

Coming up next: Aiguille du Midi – a photoblog

15 thoughts on “A Day in Geneva

  1. If there was ever a line I enjoyed more than “With no real agenda in mind – except lunch and dinner – I simply roamed around the city.” I can’t remember it 🙂 And at first, your Eritrean dish I thought was going to be the highlight.. but I should have known, you were going to do it right. This is the way to live ~ thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Holy moly! What an incredible blue-sky day in Geneva! When I visited in January 2016, it was dreary and not-so-beautiful blue skies, so you got lucky! I’ve very impressed you had SO much food in that one day in town, and I’m super surprised you found Eritrean and Thai food, especially in Switzerland! Goes to show I haven’t done as much digging as I would’ve liked with restaurants in Europe…glad you had a wonderful time in town!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually I would prefer a stormy day. Had one of those in Lausanne last time I visited, the lake was much more interesting with the storm and the downpour lol. You would have to excuse me for trying ethnic food now when I travel, because we don’t have those authentic ones in Lisbon 😦 That was three meals including the (arrival) night before. Got to get the fix when I can 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think Geneva is one of those cities that’s just made for wandering around without the pressure of plans. Your photos of the city made me feel like I was back there. I really enjoyed ambling around the lake and taking the little yellow boats across it for a different view 🙂 Also recommend a trip up Mont Salève or to CERN should you return!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The dinner courses look like little artworks – too beautiful to eat. I wonder if there was a controversy in adding the fountain to the lake? I think I’d prefer the look of the lake without it.

    Liked by 1 person

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