Old Town Trea­sures

LuxeGetaways - - Getaways Geneva -

Af­ter be­ing fortified with pasta, it is time to check out the scenic sites in the me­dieval Old Town. A pic­turesque area with small wind­ing streets, park-like squares and quaint shops and cafés, Geneva’s Old Town takes you back to a pe­riod be­fore or­dered streets and tech­no­log­i­cal con­trap­tions ex­isted. There are plenty of places to dis­cover, and ex­plor­ing the area’s nooks and cran­nies can take an hour, or a day, de­pend­ing only on the time you have avail­able.

Must-sees in­clude Mai­son Tavel (Rue du Puits-Saint-Pierre 6, 1204 Genève) – also known as the Mu­seum of Ur­ban His­tory and Daily Life – to have a look at the large-scale model of 1850’s Geneva that was still sur­rounded by its stone for­ti­fi­ca­tions, which took the ar­chi­tect Au­guste Magnin 18 years to fin­ish, and the twelve-room 18th-cen­tury apart­ment on the sec­ond level.

In­side the Ro­manesque-Gothic St. Peter’s Cathe­dral (Place du Bourg-de-Four 24, 1204 Genève), you will feel the stony weight of his­tory as the cathe­dral’s im­pos­ing struc­ture and som­bre dé­cor give cred­i­bil­ity to its im­por­tance dur­ing the Protes­tant Re­for­ma­tion. (For his­tory geeks, 2017 is the an­niver­sary of the Re­for­ma­tion, and Geneva is the place to go for sites that re­flect this tu­mul­tuous pe­riod.) This was the adopted church of one of the lead­ers of the Re­for­ma­tion, John (Jean) Calvin, and the lack of in­te­rior or­na­men­ta­tion ex­em­pli­fies the strict Calvin­ist ideals of the time, which I found stark, yet beau­ti­ful. Take the time to trek up the 157 steps of the copper-green gothic bell tower for the most fan­tas­tic views over Geneva.

Walk down Rue de la Cor­ra­terie, one of the pret­ti­est streets in Old Town, and then fin­ish the day shop­ping (or maybe just brows­ing) on Rue du Rhône, home to the high­est con­cen­tra­tion of lux­ury bou­tiques in the world. And the best choco­latiers? These are on Rue du Marché.

“Old Town takes you back to a pe­riod be­fore or­dered streets and tech­no­log­i­cal con­trap­tions...

Bayview (Quai Wil­son 47, 1201 Genève 21) at the Ho­tel Pres­i­dent Wil­son (yes, as in Woodrow Wil­son) is a gor­geous restau­rant just down the street from the Grand Ho­tel Kempin­ski. Op­er­ated by celebrity chef Michel Roth, the restau­rant has earned one Miche­lin star and serves sea­sonal food that has a very French slant. The in­te­rior is cool mod­ern, with white ta­bles and chairs, warm wal­nut wood, blue glass ac­cents, a stun­ning wine show­room at the en­trance and a strik­ing floral ar­range­ment placed on a sus­pended ta­ble in the cen­ter of the room – mak­ing a great topic of dis­cus­sion for my din­ing com­pan­ion and me. Pre­pare for a menu full of sur­prises, such as the de­li­cious duck foie gras Religieuse with vanilla pineap­ple and pas­sion fruit; a sea bass and shell­fish dish that comes bathed in a cress coulis with sweet and mild Brousse cheese ag­nolotti, and is topped with raw oys­ters and lus­cious caviar; and a ten­der and hearty veal filet mignon served with green peas and vi­o­let ar­ti­chokes that fin­ishes fresh with a lemon thyme crum­ble. The six-course Menu dé­gus­ta­tion is CHF 130, and the eight-course menu is CHF 170. An­other ho­tel restau­rant, Le Chat Botté (Quai du Mont-Blanc 13, 1201 Genève), is found in the grande dame Ho­tel Beau-Ri­vage, a Lead­ing Ho­tels of the World prop­erty. A neat fact for those in­ter­ested in Aus­trian his­tory is that this hap­pens to be the ho­tel where an an­ar­chist stabbed Sisi (the Em­press Elis­a­beth) out­side of the ho­tel. She was then taken back to her suite where she passed away.

This is a con­tem­po­rary restau­rant with a clas­sic feel thanks to the cream-col­ored walls, cof­fered ceil­ings and rec­tan­gu­lar pil­lars; and is just down the street from the Grand Ho­tel Kempin­ski. Chef Do­minique Gauthier leads the restau­rant where he cre­ates French gour­mand de­lights such as Swiss veal sweet­breads with green lo­cal lentils, moist sea bass with lemon caviar, fen­nel and yuzu and the lus­cious veal shank with man­darin and gin­ger. These ex­quis­ite good­ies have earned the Chef one Miche­lin star. Prices for lunch start at CHF 60 and goes to CHF 220 for a mul­ti­course din­ner menu.

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Geneva Tourism

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Jan­ice Tober

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Pres­i­dent Wil­son Ho­tel

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