Bad Yogi City Guide: Geneva, Switzerland
Headquarters of many international organizations, Geneva is a small city, but has a lot to offer: beautiful lakescape, mountains really near (so you can go skiing during one day), parks, old town, museums…. As it is a cosmopolitan city, you will find that most people can speak many languages (French is the official language). You will also be able to eat all sort of food: Swiss, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian and even Ethiopian.
Where to practice yoga
If you are an Ashtanga practitioner like me, I highly recommend you to go to the Ashtanga Yoga Geneva center. They teach in the traditional Mysore style every day and the owner, Frederic, is an authorized level II teacher by the Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI) in Mysore, India.
If you are a Power yogi, go to the Swiss Pilates & Yoga Fit for Life. Miranda is an inspiring teacher full of life and her sequences are really powerful. The nice studio also offers Pilates courses and other styles of yoga like prenatal and postnatal Yoga.
There are a lot of other schools of yoga in Geneva, like Yoga de la Fonderie and Colife, but I can’t unfortunately name them all. If you want to practice some Vinyasa Yoga with me, don’t hesitate to drop-in one of my class ! I would be very pleased to meet you and share it with you!
Where to get your stomach happy
As I said, you can find any style of food in Geneva and there are a LOT of good restaurants so it is very difficult to pick only a few of them.
I’m a big fan of Asian food, so if you are an udon lover like me, you have to try the Ukiyo Noodle Bar & Restaurant. You will feel as if you were in Japan without the jet lag! The cherry on the cake? They have great mochis!!!
If you prefer Korean food go to the BAP restaurant. They have a really tasty bulgogi and they are not too expensive.
If you want a good Italian restaurant, go to Et Caetera. No pizza here but a great taste of Italian food and a fabulous tiramisu!
Finally, for some regional food don’t hesitate to try Le Café des Voyageurs : they have “filets de perches” direct from the Leman Lake and for some Swiss food, one of the best fondue in town is at the Buvette des Bains des Pâquis where you will enjoy a great meal with a nice view on the Leman Lake.
What to see
As the center is quite small it is easy to walk from a place to another but if you prefer you can use the tramways as they are very convenient.
I suggest you begin you journey with a stroll around the old town where you can climb the 157 steps of the Cathédrale Saint Pierre, the symbol of the Reformation, and enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
After that you should go to Carouge to enjoy its Mediterranean atmosphere (it was built during the 18th Century by the King of Sardinia). During the day you could enjoy the nice shops of this area and at night its unique ambiance thanks to its great bars.
If you are more into contemporary art, go to the Quartier des Bains where you will find 9 galleries, 4 cultural institutions including the MAMCO and 3 other cultural venues. Three times a year the galleries and the cultural institutions open their doors to the public during La Nuit des Bains: visitors converge to the Quartier des Bains to discover new contemporary art transforming it into a street party.
Of course you can’t leave Geneva without a walk along the shore of the Lake where you will see the Jet d’Eau, the first must-see attraction of the city. If you are here during spring or summer you could even go for a swim in the lake (yes, we have beaches along the shore!) and in August you could watch the giant firework that illuminates the lake shore.
For those interested in the international side of Geneva, don’t hesitate to visit the Palais des Nations, the European headquarters of the United Nations, located in a beautiful park: it opens its doors every day.
Finally if you plan to visit the city in December try to come during the Escalade (held on the weekend closest to 12 December). Each year we celebrate the night during which we defeated our French neighbors from taking our city. The legend says that a woman, the Mère Royaume, poured a pot of hot soup over the head of the French soldiers to prevent them climbing the ramparts. That’s why during a week-end you smell the odor of vegetables soup around Geneva and see adults and children dress up.
And you? Have you ever been to Geneva? What were your highlights? Or are you inspired to come visit now? Let me know what you think below!
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