Our family recently travelled to Geneva, Switzerland to spend time with some of our American friends that have been living there for the past 5 years. They visited us in London for a few days back in April along with another family before we all travelled together to Venice, Italy. We were excited to spend time with them as well as see Geneva and as usual my 8 year old daughter Chelsea began to research things to do. She came up with a lengthy list but with less than 48 hours to spend in Geneva she whittled it down to just 2. She wanted to visit a chocolate factory and take a cable car up a mountain…well technically she wanted to travel to Chamonix to take a cable car up the French Alps but she was quite content with the cable car ride that we took in Salève, France just across the Swiss/French border. We managed to pack that and more into our short weekend trip.
We arrived on Friday evening so that we could get an early start on our full agenda on Saturday. However, our flight was delayed on Friday which caused us to arrive past the closing time for the car rental so on Saturday morning we had to double back to the airport to pick up an eight passenger minivan for our families to travel together. Once we got on the road we drove approximately an hour and a half to the Callier chocolate factory for a tour and chocolate tasting. The tour was very informative and we learned about the founding history of the chocolate factory, the sourcing of ingredients and finally we finished with a tasting of the various flavors…milk, dark, white, praline, hazelnut, almond… It was almost too much of a good thing…almost. We certainly left the tour with a greater appreciation for one of our favorite treats and brought back loads of chocolate to share with friends and family. After leaving the chocolate factory we headed to Gruyères Castle in Switzerland but not before running and cartwheeling through the fields in Salève to burn off the chocolate that was pumping through our veins.
By the time that we got to Gruyères Castle it was closed for the tour so we strolled around the area taking in the views from the top of the castle before stopping at a local restaurant for dinner where I had a delicious Raclette with Gruyère cheese from which the town was named. Food is such an important part of my travels. I try the local specialties whenever possible and I’m usually not disappointed.
After dinner we headed back to our friend’s home where our sitter was waiting to relieve us of the children and continue our evening in Geneva. We quickly got ready and then headed into the city area where we found ourselves in one of the hottest nightclubs in Geneva. The DJ played a great hip-hop set as bottle service flowed to tables filled with barely legal twenty-somethings celebrating the end of the school year and graduations while they charged up their parent’s credit cards with bottles of Dom Perignon and magnums of Belvedere. The night lasted until morning and it was one that I won’t soon forget.
The following morning we attempted an early start to Salève to make the most of our final day in Geneva. Another one of our American friends from the Venice trip arrived in Geneva for business and he joined us for the day’s activities. It was a quick ride across the border as we drove to take the cable car up to Télépherique du Salève, over 1400 feet in the air. The panoramic views were breathtaking as we looked over France and Switzerland we could see Lake Geneva and the fountain Jet d’Eau. Parasailers launched themselves from the ridge and we watched close up as they sailed over the hillside.
After a couple of leisurely hours spent soaking in the beautiful views we took the cable car back down to see the last sights before our return flight to London. We drove into the downtown area to see the fountain on Lake Geneva up close and the flower clock, then it was back to the airport.
It’s amazing how much can be crammed into a weekend but we always manage to do it. We were all a bit tired the next day but it was worth it.
Since Chelsea had so much input into the itinerary for this trip I thought that it would be fun to have her share her thoughts and experience about this trip with a quick Q&A:
Q: How did you know what you wanted to do in Geneva?
Chelsea: I did a search on the internet for things to do in summer in Geneva
Q: What did you decide to do?
Chelsea: I wanted to go to a chocolate factory tour and take a cable car
Q: Why did you want to go to a chocolate factory tour?
Chelsea: I heard that Swiss chocolate and Belgian chocolate are the best and I wanted to try it
Q: Why did you want to go on the cable car ride?
Chelsea: When I did my search on things to do in Geneva in the summer the cable car tour came up and I thought it would be a cool thing to do
Q: What was the best part of trip?
Chelsea: The view from the mountain at the top of the cable car ride had a nice view.
Q: Would you recommend that people visit Geneva?
Chelsea: Yes, and you don’t need a long trip; three days will do