This lakeside city of high finance and even higher mountaintops may seem like an exclusive Old World bastion, but it’s got the soul of a small town.
Author Jebediah Reed
IN MANY RESPECTS, THE SWISS CITY OF GENEVA is designed to cater to the very wealthy and the very powerful, which is why, to the rest of us, it might seem like a bit of a splurge. When so many of your visitors are interested in private banking services, high-level diplomacy and timepieces that cost as much as sports cars, it’s unrealistic to expect a lot of bargains. Fortunately, you get what you pay for in Geneva. The city is extraordinary in its history— Julius Caesar passed through, it was the world capital of Protestantism in the 16th century, and today it is home to a permanent office of the United Nations—as well as its natural setting, located as it is on the shore of Europe’s largest lake and under the towering grandeur of Western Europe’s tallest mountain, Mont Blanc. But despite Geneva’s global significance, the city proper is home to fewer than 200,000 people, and it rarely feels overcrowded: You can sip espresso at a café in the stunning Old Town and feel, as a visitor, as though you are part of the fabric of the place, enjoying its charms ever so discreetly. In fact, the Genevoise wouldn’t have it any other way.