This must be the place

To those merely passing through, Geneva’s Old Town might seem like the very definition of dignified Swiss restraint.

Take a moment or two, however, and the neighbourhood’s true nature begins to reveal itself.

Stay a while longer, and that warm, village-like atmosphere becomes a happy thrum as evening falls and the neighbourhood’s many little bars and restaurants come alive.

Before you know it, you’ll find yourself watching the world go by over a morning coffee at Ferdinand or sipping a glass of rosé in one of the many bars at the square Bourg du Four.

Then again, perhaps you’ll be browsing the windows of design boutiques like BE design, where you’ll find classics from the likes of Jean Prouvé, Isamu Noguchi, and Charles and Ray Eames.

With your thirst for design quenched but your appetite a little sharp, you could hardly be blamed for deciding to sample what is perhaps the finest Italian food this side of the border at Osteria della Bottega, just up the road.

It’s on days like these and after meals like those that this 18th-century warren of picturesque streets, winding passageways and secluded squares makes its presence felt.

You forget that you’re in the very centre of thoroughly modern city, ten minutes from anywhere else you might want or need to be. 

And as you pass through the long shadow of St Pierre’s cathedral on your way back to the Hamlet,

the Old Town very suddenly – and very completely – feels very much like home.


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