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Geneva’s Historic Vieille Ville (Old City)

This blog post was updated on October 11, 2018.

Famous for its narrow, winding cobblestone streets and 12th-18th century architecture, Geneva’s historic Vieille Ville (Old City) is located on the left bank of Lake Leman (sometimes called “Lake Geneva”), the large body of water that separates the city into two sections.


What to see and do:

The Vieille Ville is a great place to shop or browse in the area’s myriad upscale shops, bookstores, art galleries and antique/curio shops. The Horloge Fleurie (Flower Clock), one of the most popular tourist sites in Geneva, is located adjacent to the Jardin Anglais (English Garden), an expertly landscaped urban green space. I suggest packing a picnic lunch and enjoying it on the Jardin Anglais’ impeccable grounds.


There are also quite a few notable museums in the area, including The Musée Barbier-Müller (No. 10, Rue Calvin), which houses a large collection of non-European sculpture and artwork, and The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (No. 2 Rue Charles Galland), Geneva’s largest museum and home of Switzerland’s national art and historical object collection.


Where to eat and drink:

There are many small cafés and upscale eateries in the Vieille Ville.

One of the trendiest spots at the moment is Maison des Arts du Grütli /Café du Grütli (161 Avenue Général Dufour, )  an interdisciplinary arts center, gallery, bar and café in the heart of the Vieille Ville (Old Town). The innovative dishes and funky cocktails come at incredibly reasonable prices. The vibe is casual—a perfect place to grab a drink and meal with friends.

A tried and true upscale option is La Potinière Restaurant located in Le Jardin Anglais ( La Potinière specializes in European cuisine (mostly French and Italian-inspired) complimented by an extensive wine list. The flora-filled setting is enchanting, as are the views of the shimmering Lake Leman. A great place for a “special occasion” dinner.

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