CHRISTMAS SHOPPING IN CAROUGE 2019
by Brigitte Taylor
Carouge is Geneva’s bohemian quarter with an attractive old world charm. At Christmas time, there is no better place to find unusual and charming gifts. During the 13th, 14th and 15th December – don’t miss the Christmas market in Carouge, another opportunity to shop for upmarket handmade gifts and edible treats.
Also read our post about our 10 favourite festive things to do in Carouge.
Once a village known for its artisans and craftsmanship, modelled after an Italian-style hamlet in the 18th century, Carouge was incorporated into Geneva’s territory in the 1920s, after belonging to France and Italy. After that its watchmaking traditions slowly faded away, but the small businesses and artisans resisted and offer a treasure trove for those on the lookout for unique Christmas gifts – no big names or well-known brands here. So let’s take a stroll and find out what Carouge has in store for us.
Walk over to Place Octroi or Place Sardaigne, where Christmas trees are on sale. Before you know it, you’ll be overcome with Christmas spirit – past, present, and future…
SWEETS FOR MY SWEET…
Let’s start with the holy trinity of Christmas gifts: chocolates, tea and scented candles. You can’t go wrong with these. Carouge is home to many little patisseries, chocolate shops and bakeries, such as Mr and Mrs Renou, where beautifully packaged chocolate boxes look like pieces of art. Your mouth will water just from looking at the shop window…
Another chocolatier worth his salt is Philippe Pascoët, which offers chocolates in a variety of forms – hearty bars decorated with nuts and spices, little cakes with soft, rich fillings, dark chocolate cut thin as tissue paper… Choose your favourite, have it encased in one of the many sized boxes on offer, and convince yourself you really should wait until you get home before trying one.
TEA FOR TWO
On to tea. Here, you should look no further than Betjeman & Barton, a shop so dainty and fragrant one might mistake it for a jewellery box. With such a wealth of different flavours, trust the helpful and knowledgeable shopkeepers to guide you on your search. For gifts, you can’t go wrong with the classics – your Earl Grey, your jasmine, your green tea… But how about mixing it up a little? Betjeman & Barton offers combinations of flavours that are surprising and delicious. A lovely box of chocolates could be accompanied by a Ceylan infused with Bourbon Vanilla? A deep, dark chocolate bar would find the perfect match in a black tea infused with liquorice. Or why not keep it safe and try a box of shortbread cookies with a black tea infused with violet?
YOU ARE MY CANDY GIRL..
If you suffer from a restless sweet tooth, there should be one more stop on your itinerary: Jellyfish, a quirky and colourful store that will remind you of sweetshops of old. You’ll love the large glass jars filled with sugary treats in every colour imaginable.
DÉCOR & ACCESSORIES
Moving on to scented candles. Head to Ploum, a décor boutique carrying everything from cushions and blankets to lampshades and – yes – various scented candles to help set the atmosphere for Christmas in your home or that of a loved one.
Another décor boutique that may hold the key to the perfect gift is L’Echapée Belle, in the heart of Old Carouge, where poetry and design conspire to create stylish interiors. The store also offers a range of accessories for women, such as jewellery and leather goods, and for children, including adorable stuffed animals.
A BITE TO EAT…
Finally, it would hardly be Christmas without a place to eat, drink and be merry. For a relatively small area, Carouge counts an impressive number of restaurants that form the ideal setting for intimate dinners, as well as lively Christmas parties. If you are a traditionalist, Au Vieux Carouge serves up some of the best fondue in town. If you’re into old school French classics, there is no other destination than La Bourse brasserie.
For drinks and great sharing plates in a cosy atmosphere by the fireplace – try Qu’importe in Carouge, which will exceptionally be open early on Saturday the 14th December and Saturday, 21st December to accommodate shoppers. (from 4pm on both days)
For a modern, contemporary menu with a chic atmosphere, Le Flacon is just the ticket – exceptionally open on Sunday, 22nd December. And there are many, many more in between.
CHRISTMAS MARKET, ADVENT CALENDAR AND MORE…
On the weekend of December 13, 14 and 15, don’t miss the annual Christmas market – one of the best in Geneva!
These events are organised by the Parcours des Ateliers Carougeois (PAC), who represents the workshops and craftsmen and -women in the area.
Visit www.icarouge.ch today for more info and to sift through the dozens of little boutiques that are ready to welcome you and help you on your quest for the perfect Christmas gift, as well as a guide to seasonal events taking place in this beloved area of Geneva.