by Chené Koscielny
When the glitz and materialism of Geneva gets to you and you need a shot of culture – you should head to les Recyclables. The Café Library is the type of place where you can while away hours in the company of a good friend or a good book (or, if it’s a very good friend, maybe both) and leave feeling inspired. Decorated with recycled furniture, lights and decorations (most of which are for sale – just ask the price), the atmosphere is something between a charming library and an old-fashioned living room. It’s not stately or stuffy and is flooded with soft natural light – no bright lights to make you feel conscious of your flaws.
It’s relaxed and inviting and there’s no need to dress to impress, or be someone you’re not.
What to read
Unsurprisingly, half of the floor space is taken up with bookshelves offering a fascinating selection of second-hand books, spanning all genres – including philosophy, history, novels and classics. Most books are French, but the English selection is not bad. There are smaller selections of German, Italian and Spanish books too. A good place to browse for bargains, stock up for your book club or re-discover that classic you’d forgotten about. On the day of our visit, I picked up the Girl on the Train for 7chf. The marked price was 17chf. If you’re de-cluttering at home and want to get rid of some books, why not consider selling them – either for cash or an exchange. Find out more here.
What to order
When you’re done browsing, take a seat, pretend to be engrossed in your book then start checking out the other patrons…
Expect to see literary types poring over their manuscripts in frustration and arty types, with flamboyant hats, engaged in animated conversation.
The à la carte menu offers a large selection of delicious fresh foods, all produced from seasonal and regional products. Expect to find at least one vegetarian and one ‘sans gluten’ option.
The choice for the “menu du jour” on the day of our visit, was a salad or gaspacho followed by a sauté (stir-fry) Porc Asiatique au curry, shiitake mushrooms and coconut milk accompanied with jasmine rice and veggies. It was delicious!
The plat du jour is available in a mini portion for children.
What to see – events, concerts
The venue also doubles up as a theatre in the evening with regular jazz or other music evenings, book readings, comedy evenings and discussion groups.
To see the full programme, click here to see their Facebook page.
53 rue de Carouge, 1205 Genève. Telephone: 022 328 6044.
Library hours: Monday-Friday 10am-6.30pm, Saturday 10am-5pm.
Café hours: Monday, Thursday & Friday 9am-10pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 9am-7pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, closed Sunday.