Jet d'eau

Geneva is the second-most populous city in Switzerland, but you’d never know that from a stroll down Rue de la Croix-d’Or on a Sunday. Forget CERN, the UN, and the Jet d’Eau: here are some of my favourite places that I miss most when I’m away at university.

Golden hour glow over Geneva’s buildings

Top Spots

Viaduc de la Jonction is my favorite spot in Geneva. A railway bridge with a footpath overlooks the joining of Geneva’s two rivers, the Rhône and the Arve. The two rivers’ colours intermix in a mesmerising way, and flocks of birds like to circle a swimming pier. You can approach the bridge from both the north and the south sides through wooded paths. It looks especially gorgeous in the sunset.

Large/Kiosk is located in the party district of Paquis, this newly-opened space is the epitome of aesthetics. I stumbled upon this magazine-bookstore cum library only a month after it had opened, and browsed photography reviews while drinking pay-as-you-want coffee served by the lovely assistant, Priscilla. Large/Kiosk is associated with the Large Network, a media agency and bespoke publisher that touts treasures like Météore, a magazine that comes out every Monday the 13th.

Places to Eat and Drink

Café de la Jonction is the perfect place for Xi’an-style Chinese snacks and a pot of tea. You might see my parents on their lunch break, enjoying a rou jia mo (Chinese ‘burger’) and liang pi(cold rice noodles).

Inglewood has two locations in Plainpalais and Eaux-Vives, this local burger place is a student favourite. I always like to get the vegetarian Hippie Burger and some good old tap water, for which they use recycled Jack Daniels bottles.

Nagomi is Japanese restaurant near the train station does Hokkaido-style ramen and serves a generous portion of sake. After dinner, why not hop over to the nearby Grottes area for a drink at one of its bars and cafes.

My brother, a 17-year-old chad, goes to Parfums de Beyrouth a cheap Lebanese restaurant with his bros, but I insist that I’m the one who introduced it to him. Close by is my family’s favourite Chinese place, Le Basilic, which specialises in mala xiang guo (spicy stir-fry pot).

A warming bowl of soup from Nagomi

Places to Work and Study

If you need to get some studying done in Geneva, these are the spots to hit. Breathe in the smell of fear, stress, and anxiety at these lovely locations. High school exams were all about UniMail, one of the University of Geneva’s many buildings scattered across the city, where sunlight filters through colourful glass and whose labyrinthine layout helps you hide from people you dislike.

Just nearby is the Bibliothèque de Genève, located inside the Parc des Bastions, which has a far more old-fashioned look. Take a break from studying for collections in the large, warm reading room to loaf about on the grass with a picnic lunch.

Finally, there’s the Graduate Institute over near the United Nations, whose spanking new, modern library will remind you of days spent in the SSL or Dickson Poon here in Oxford. That last one’s my brother’s favorite, so don’t be surprised if you run into VSCO teens making TikToks with their coordinated highlighters.

If you prefer a café atmosphere, Le Pain Quotidien in Plainpalais, right around the corner from two of these libraries, is amazing for a renversé (Swiss French for a latte/flat white) –– as long as you don’t mind asking for a new Wi-Fi code every hour.

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