Bustling with the well-heeled, being close to France, Geneva is a stylish and vibrant city, famed for its Jet d’eau (a fountain), the United Nations buildings and rich history.
Lake Geneva is the nucleus around which the city revolves. And the action unfolds the minute you step outside the rail station, right into the middle of a busy office square. Just 500 metres away, you spot the lake and your eyes crave to get a closer look at the majestic fountain that soars into the sky. Called the Jet d’Eau fountain, it is an icon of Geneva. Gushing high into the sky at 140 metres with 500 litres of water being propelled into the sky at 200 kilometres per hour, the fountain has been a tourist attraction ever since it was moved to its present location way back in 1891.
Legend has it that the Swiss set their clocks by it. It spurts into the sky at sharp 10 am. On a good day, if the weather permits, you can also catch a glimpse of the peak of Mont Blanc (in France) in the backdrop.
Sights and sounds
A sprawling English-style garden was developed next to the lake, and another famous landmark — the Flower Clock — makes tourists scramble for a photo here. A symbol of the Geneva watch industry, this clock is a masterpiece of technology and floral art. The seconds-hand of Geneva’s Flower Clock is the largest in the world (it is more than 2.5 meters long)!
Geneva is a city seeped in history. The huge white Reformation Wall stands in the Bastions Park, which also houses the University. The construction of the Reformation Wall in the Bastions Park began in 1909, the year that marked the 400th anniversary of the birth of Jean Calvin, and the 350th year of the foundation of the Academy of Geneva. Geneva is also known for its UN buildings, and a drive around would take about an hour. The city first housed the League of Nations that was constructed between 1929 and 1936. It became the headquarters of the UN in 1946 when the former organisation was dissolved.
How to get there
Though you can take a connecting flight straight into Geneva, the nine-hour Mumbai-Zurich direct flight is a better bet, thanks to the amazingly efficient Swiss railways. Soak in the beautiful Swiss countryside as your train makes the three-hour journey from Zurich to Geneva.