Geneva is the most important city of French-spreaking Switzerland and one of the most expensive and financially important cities of the world. Surrounded by the Jura mountains, it’s a famous ski resort – but this is not the only thing that attracts visitors in winter.
Genève Christmas markets are lovely too – and I have chased the Christmas spirit around the city this year! Scroll down to read about the Noël and our stay in Mandarin Oriental Hotel too! Joyeux Noël!
Christmas market at Parc des Bastions
We arrived in Geneva right on time: on the 4th of December when the opening of the main Christmas market at Parc des Bastions took place. Parc des Bastions, btw, is located in the very centre of the city.
In the daylight it looked really photogenic and Christmassy in a rustic way. Golden pumpkins just stole my heart!
Kids were preparing for children’s market, ice rink was almost empty, some stalls were still closed, but many were getting ready for the grand opening in the evening. Watching the vendors putting the last touches of decorations on their wooden cabins felt like a behind the scenes experience! But soon I grew too hungry looking at the food stalls and not being able to try, so we left.
In the evening, the market had a very different vibe. Much livelier than before, but still not that packed as the market usually are in London. And I really loved how many open fire points were present there too.
The light displays were really incredible. The chandeliers and huge golden Christmas baubles transformed the place into a complete fairytale!
Raclette, potatoes, sausages, salami, jams, mulled wine, souvenirs, traditional arts and crafts – you had it all that was supposed to be on the Christmas market!
Don’t forget to read my blog about Montreux Christmas Market too!
Christmas market on Rue du Mont-Blanc
Another market is the Christmas market on Rue du Mont-Blanc right outside the train station Gare Cornavin. It has opened earlier, in late November, and closes on the 24th of December. It’s much smaller but still offers you everything what it is supposed to.
The light decorations of Rue du Mont-Blanc is what makes this place unique. What do they remind you of?
Old Town of Geneva was modestly (compared to London) decorated but still looked festive and welcoming!
St. Pierre Cathedral
We popped in to the St. Pierre Cathedral, one of the main landmarks of the city. The spirit of Christmas was present too!
And of course, visit this cathedral all year around too because it is the ‘home church’ of John Calvin, one of the leaders of the reformation that rose in Europe in the 16th century: his wooden chair is still there. And, by the way, on the Reformation Wall in Geneva is located very close to John Knox from Scotland, about whom I wrote in my blog about top 7 museums to see in Edinburg. And don’t miss the Chapel of the Maccabees!
Mandarin Oriental Genève
We stayed in five-star luxury MO Geneve Hotel located in the most convenient position: a short walk from the train station and the city’s historic centre. We just crossed The Molard place with an amazing tower of the same name, and after a short walk along the shore of Geneva lake found Jardin Anglais and Jet d’eau.
There are two quite special dining options in the MO: peruvian Yakumanka and Indian Rasoi restaurants. We opted for the second one, and, while the food in our set menu was great, service was far less impressive.
Our room had the best view over the Rhône river – just look at it yourself! And after being quite frozen with our visits to Christmas markets, it was such a nice place to escape the cold!
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