Oh hey, I’m back. Like I’ve been back nearly a week and I meant to write this days ago but I’ve kinda been a little bit tangled up in all things work and life related – like on Thursday I had to go to a ‘Celebration of Dogs’ event and on Tuesday I got busy watching sob movies back to back (DON’T WATCH ‘ME BEFORE YOU – IT IS HEARTBREAKING).
But anyways, I got stuff to tell you. If you’re social media blind, then here’s the dealio. Last Friday I was a super-duper lucky bean. As part of my (very extended) 25th birthday celebrations, my parents had arranged a wee trip to Geneva with my Mum & her best friend.
Three days, three nights & the three musketeers; a recipe for a fabulous trip. Does anyone else have ladies in their life like that? The ones that make you belly laugh for a full 24 hours, so much so that you feel like you’ve grown a full set of abs from the insane amounts of giggling. Well anyway, it was that kinda trip. I mean we traveled in matching sweatshirts like over-sized adult triplets, so that really set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
FYI the matching sweatshirts said ‘I need a break‘ & they were from Topshop. If we’re gonna do matchy we do it in style.
So let’s talk Geneva. It’s in Switzerland by the way, don’t worry I wasn’t 100% sure either. All I knew was that it had his big ass rep for being a city on the lake with an expensive price tag. We soon found out they spoke French there and that they didn’t take Euros (much to my Mum’s disappointment when she withdrew all her holiday money in Euros, rather than Francs…doh).
And y’know what? The rumours were true about this elusive city for the rich. It was a pretty costly trip. So I thought I’d talk about how to do Geneva as both a budget and a blowout holiday – the best of both worlds.
I dunno a thing about flying fancy but I do know how to do budget. Easy Jet people, it’s where it’s at. And not only Easy Jet, but Southend Airport. It’s legit the easiest way to fly. You swan in an hour before your flight, grab a glass of bubbly and then mosey on down to the plane to board, all with the ease and smoothness of a picnic in the park. The airport is so teeny tiny that there’s no need for all that ‘faff’ that big airports seem to come with (security queues, BORE).
I’m not even going to put a ‘blowout’ option here, because quite frankly I’ve never flown first class. And for a flight that’s as short as 1 hour and 15 mins, a cheap plane ride will do just fine, ta very much.
Budget – We chose the most reasonable hotel we could find in the city because it was a gals holiday, not a romantic getaway – we planned to spend little time in the room. We stayed at the Hotel Ibis Geneva, a compact 70 room hotel with all the amenities you could need. Most importantly it was clean and modern. I can highly recommend if you’re looking for somewhere on the cheapest end of the scale.
Blowout – The Four Seasons hotel looked pretty ‘classy bird’ material, but with a £7000 price tag attached to it we thought we’d give that one a swerve ball. Who has that kinda money anyway? (Spoiler; not me)
Budget – We discovered a laaavly little place called Cottage Cafe to grab some brunch on Saturday morning. Situated behind the Brunswick Monument, it’s a little hidden gem serving homemade toasted bread with a selection of homemade jams PLUS some gluten free options like energy quinoa protein balls and large bowls of fruit & yogurt. In Geneva’s books, it was a cheap and cheerful meal that set us right up for the day.
In the Summer, it has a lovely outside seating area and it looked like they were selling these MEGA salads. Just saying.
Blowout – AH MA GAWD. I realised all my brunch dreams on this holiday as we took a neat little trip to the brand new Laduree. If you don’t know about this Paris derived macaron shop with serious ‘hashtag interior goals’, then look it up. We went for Sunday Brunch around 11am, when it was still slightly quiet, and enjoyed a lush plate of eggs Benedict & coffee. It’s a beautiful place just to sit and relax in stylish surroundings.
And obvs we got a macaron takeout too because like my girl crush idol, Blair Waldorf, macarons are my absolute fave (so basic, I know).
Budget – Apparently, people in Geneva love to shop. We were constantly commenting on how quiet and quaint the city seemed until we stumbled upon the main shopping strip – BAM – that’s where all the people got to. I’d love to tell you that there are cute little shops around the old town where you can get cracking deals, but I’ll be completely honest – Geneva doesn’t seem to do cheap shopping. If you’re on a budget though, the window shopping around the independent stores is just fabulous. And there’s always the Plaine de Papalais flea market which is baaaasically the equivalent to our boot-sales (although I probs wouldn’t touch most of the stuff there with a barge pole, but fun to look around nonetheless).
Blowout – Place du Rhone is jam packed with designer stores – Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Tiffany’s, you name it Geneva has it. There’s also fab independent boutiques off the beaten track selling one off pieces and the most gorgeous, minimalist Swedish design furniture. This makes for ace window shopping and you can always pretend that you didn’t buy the expensive vase/espresso cups/lamp because you couldn’t take it back in your luggage. Just saying.
The fact that my Mum didn’t buy one thing in Geneva pretty much sums up their shopping scene – too expensive for the likes of me & my Mum, but ace browsing material.
Can I also just mention the fact that even H&M prices were double in Geneva. Someone please tell me what’s that all about, huh?
AFTERNOON NIBBLES & DRINKS
Budget – When we first arrived, bit boozey from the plane and still sporting matching sweatshirts, we went in search of somewhere to have a few platters of food. The sun was beaming down and the sunnies were firmly on and what we really wanted was a lovely spot outside to sit and take in the surrounding mountains and the beautiful lake. We found just that in the form of Bains de Paquis, a long jetty that stretches out into the lake. It boasts a mini beach, a rustic bathing area and mini spa facilities. Here you can sit along blue metal benches and enjoy the plat de jours and bottles of wine. Feels like a proper locals spot – my Mum & Karen legit struggled to order a single thing because no-one spoke a word of English. Once they got past the ‘bonjours’ it all got a bit tricky, but we ended up with some plates of food so top work ladies – your mime skills are on top form.
Blowout – We hunted out the most talked about Rooftop 42 bar on Sunday afternoon, in search of blue sky views of the city and lashings of wine. Unfortunately (after much deliberation in a lift with a music video producer which was most hilarious and peculiar) we figured out it was shut on a Sunday. In fact, many places were shut on a Sunday so do bear this in mind if you are planning a visit. And if you do go, let me know how you get on at Rooftop 42 as it was the only thing we didn’t manage to do whilst there.
Budget -Generally, wining and dining in Geneva is a pricey experience. Like you ain’t gonna get a bottle of wine cheaper than £40. So get on board with that okay.
On our first night, we visited this buzzing little tapas/wine bar for a quick drink before dinner (we got totally duped into buying a super expensive bottle of plonk, but it was pretty darn nice TBF). Before we knew it, it was 10pm and we hadn’t had any dinner yet. DOH.
No fear, Jade & google map are here.
I’d heard the burger scene was pretty good in Geneva and we soon found ourselves at The Hamburger Factory, eating M/R naked burgers and fries. If you’re looking for a cheap meal in Geneva, this is a better way to go than one of the swankier restaurants in town.
Blowout – On our second night we ventured into the depths of the old town for a quality meal. We found a beautiful, traditional restaurant called Restaurant L’Hotel De Ville which had all the style and classic sophistication you’d expect from a Swiss restaurant – all the waiters in their cute little black & white uniforms, bless. It wasn’t modern or opulent in restaurant design – it was just a lovely, traditional building serving really great, traditional food along with some fantastic service. What more can you really want?
The prices for main meals ranged from 29-40 francs. And if this isn’t ‘blowout’ enough for you, there’s always the Michelin starred restaurants to choose from. Needless to stay we took a rain-check on them.
Geneva is the type of place where supermodels touch down for city break retreats between the mountains. It really was quite beautiful and very, very relaxing. Just taking in all the fresh air and walking the city were fabulous things to be able to do. To be clear; you don’t need buckets of money to go here but if you do have a healthy spending budget you’ll have lots more choice in this playground for the filthy rich.
Time to go and walk off my hangover and eat all the chinese food.
Hope all you Mothers out there are having relaxing Sundays. You all deserve it.