Speaking french wasn’t even on my radar. I was consumed with the details…Easter in Geneva? What will be open? What will the weather be like? How to fill our days? I was traveling with my 16-year-old daughter. She has a fear of flying. When she asked me if we could travel this year over spring break I was confused. I thought she must have a road trip in mind. She apprehensively mentioned Europe and I immediately began looking into destinations. As if once the planning process began, she wouldn’t be able to change her mind. Geneva is understated and most likely not on everyone’s top ten list, especially when it’s up against a potential trip to Rome or Munich. I do my homework. I tend to go off the beaten track. Geneva would be closed down Easter Sunday and Monday. Can I still make it work? Many (not all) restaurants will be closed, however, tourist attractions are usually open. From my research most of the locals actually leave Geneva for the weekend. What you now have on your side is plenty of available hotels to choose from and the ability to get around easily.
Geneva is a cultured and vibrant city and the gateway to the Alps! The food scene is creative and traditional. Savor the classic fondue restaurants. Stroll through Old Town. Climb the two towers of St. Pierre Cathedral to view the rooftops of Geneva, the Lake and the famous Jet d’Eau. Window shop and dream of owning a fancy Swiss Watch and indulge in world famous chocolate. All of this can be accomplished during a leisurely afternoon. Leaving us with Easter Sunday and Monday to further explore the area.
Annecy is a quaint town in France approximately forty-five minutes by car from Geneva. The Sunday morning market is spectacular and sprawling. You can stroll through the cobble-stoned streets, gaze at the winding canals, and sample local foods. The color and smell of the ripe strawberries is a delight to the senses. Shop for cheese, Reblochon is their specialty used primarily for the delicious Tartiflette… consisting of potatoes simmered in white wine, lardons, onions and the creamy rich cheese. Sample sausages, nougat, and chocolate. Stop for a coffee break and order a french crepe avec du sucre et citron (sugar and lemon)! After you have delved into the culture and traditional foods of Annecy, wander over to the Lake. Rent a paddle boat or perhaps a motor boat to cruise around and marvel at its beauty.
The allure of the Swiss, French and Italian alps. I have viewed them many times from the window of an airplane. Skiing the Alps has always been on my bucket list. Taking the Aiguille du Midi cable car to the gateway of the high alps at a height of 3,842m, astonishing and exhilarating! My daughter seemed to enjoy the ride and I couldn’t quite figure out how a small compact cable car dangling on a wire wasn’t an issue for her but the airplane was. I was scared to death.
Spending a few hours in the charming village of Chamonix will make you want to plan a return trip as soon as possible. This resort area is at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps. We enjoyed spring time temperatures and bright sun. Speaking french, sipping an aperol spritz, and gazing at the views. I didn’t want the day to end. However, we still had one more excursion to accomplish. The train of the Montenvers from Chamonix town center to access The Mer de Glace, which is the largest glacier in France. After taking the train there is another cable car (really) where you descend from the train station onto the glacier and proceed to walk 430 steps down to the Ice Grotto. Don’t forget it will be 430 steps back up as well. The grotto has to be dug out every summer because the glacier moves about 70m every year.
Geneva was a staring point! What we discovered along the way…brilliant!