Weekend trippin’ with the fam.
Have you ever stopped to notice that, since traveling has become so much easier and cheaper, we all crave for sandy beaches and distant countries? I certainly feel that way. Usually. But who actually knows their own country well? To be honest, I think I know countries like the US much better than Germany or Switzerland. And vice versa, many Americans I know come over to visit Europe every chance they get. Kind of funny, isn’t it? Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I suppose it’s human nature to long for things we don’t see or do every day. We always want something different, to get out of our usual habitat. And while we’re scrolling through pictures of beaches on Hawaii, Bali or Bora Bora, we forget to notice the beauty that already surrounds us right where we live. When I walk through Zurich’s city center, I see crowds of (mostly Asian) tourists in awe of the buildings and monuments.
So this year, after already spending our honeymoon far away from home, we’ve decided to save some of our precious vacation days for touring Switzerland. There are plenty of beautiful places only a few hours drive away from our doorstep! So to start off, this Easter weekend, we decided to stay in the country and visit Geneva with the family. Well, we did end up adding a trip to Lac d’Annecy, which is technically in France, but let’s ease into it – there’s more to come 🙂
Geneva is an idyllic mix of Swiss and French, gorgeously built around the Southern corner of Lake Geneva, and home to UN diplomates and plenty of culture. Unfortunately, EVERTHING is closed during the Easter holidays, plus it was raining and freezing cold – but I hope the snaps below give a bit of an impression of what it feels like to wander around (scroll down to read more).
(Favorite red lipstick: Charlotte Tilbury in “Carina’s Love“
WHAT TO DO & WHERE TO EAT
Geneva is a foodie’s paradise and, despite the Swiss price tags, it’s still a bit cheaper than Zurich. If you’re there for a weekend, here are our must-do’s:
- Obviously, you have to walk around the Old Town and down to the lake – visit the cathedral, have a look at the flower clock, … but you know all that already because you’re well-prepared and bought a city guide, right?! 😉 As you’re walking around, you’ll most likely end up at Place du Bourg-de-Four. If you want really really great roasted chicken with French fries and a glass of wine in an easy-going setting – don’t forget to stop at “Chez ma Cuisine“.
- My favorite part of Geneva is actually Carouge, a little outside of the city center. It’s very French, almost feels like Provence, so it was right up my alley. If you’re there for a weekend brunch, check out “Ô Calme“.
- Dress up and have dinner at “Chez Philippe” – and ask for a table close to the kitchen (it’s behind a glass wall; so much fun to watch the chefs! It’s a great place if you love meat, although the fish was also amazing.
- For a really casual but superfun Italian dinner (great food), check out “Da Paolo“. My friends who live in Geneva tell me it’s a true classic – they don’t take reservations, so come early or late. Afterwards, head to L’Atelier for amazing creative cocktails. But: we had the BEST Moscow Mule (ever!) at Nico & Co. right down by the lake, a few steps away from Place du Rhône.
- Other recommended places that we couldn’t try due to Easter weekend were: ALMA restaurant, Grand Bottle restaurant & bar, and Birdie for healthy breakfast with good coffee.
- For afternoon tea in a gorgeous setting, head to THE absolute classic Grand Hotel in Geneva: Beau-Rivage. Austrian Empress Sissi spent her last night here before she was murdered on her way to take a boat (you can even book the “Sissi package” if you’ve got some (or a lot) of extra bucks to spend). Almost 100 years later, German politician Uwe Barschel was found dead in his bathtub in the same hotel. Scandalous things happen here….but all drama aside, it’s a beautiful hotel that should be visited, at least for a good cup of tea.
After two rainy days in the city, the sky cleared up a bit and we headed to Annecy, just a short drive from Geneva. It’s the perfect weekend trip from the city and many residents do it – so why not follow suit if you’re already in the area? Annecy itself is beautiful and charming, with tons of small terraces and cafés, and an Antique market on weekends. To do some shopping, head to “Rue Carrot”, one of those cute shopping streets that are non-accessible by car (something I love about European towns). Even if you’re not in the mood for shopping, you MUST visit Pierre Gay for the absolute best (BEST) cheese. Mouth-watering.
See that ice cream in my hand? Not a Magnum! It’s homemade and comes in a variety of flavors. And each comes in a smaller size for the people like me who have yet to find their summer bodies. Check it out here (I hope this was the one; if not, it was definitely in that street).
We didn’t stay in Annecy downtown; after a few hours, we continued down the lake’s East side until we reached Talloires. The lake is crowded with great restaurants, and two gourmet ones are right in Talloires – one in the hotel we stayed in (Abbaye de Talloires) and one at Auberge de Père Bise. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed one bit if you love good food. Auberge de Père Bise also has a second restaurant called Bistrot 1903 that I especially loved. I always love love love when Michelin-starred chefs have a second, more easy-going restaurant next door – you still notice the high quality of food and the chef’s influence. Perfect for those evenings when you want a great dinner, but not necessarily 7 courses.
For the remainder of your time there, take a stroll along the lake, enjoy a glass of rosé in the sun, or head to the spa. Life is slower and much more relaxed over here…we actually all fell asleep in the sunbeds on Easter Sunday afternoon. I’d say that’s a good sign!
Pants: Claudie Pierlot / Top: Zara / Heels: Uterque / Bag: Chanel
(all last season, sorry!)
To wrap up the weekend, we took a drive around the whole lake – those last pictures were taken up where all the paragliders start their flights, at Col de la Forclaz. There’s a few (touristy) options to have lunch, or just stop for a quick coffee or drink. The West bank is much less charming than the East side of the lake, so if you don’t have the time, you can always stick to that half of it.
Any questions or comments? Let me know below or shoot me a PM! Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip x