AUTUMN STROLLS THROUGH GENEVA
TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS by Selin Alperer
It’s hard to choose a favourite season in Geneva between the pastel spring blossoms, sun-kissed lakes of summer and snow-peaked mountains of winter, but for me it’s got to be autumn. I just love the mellowness of the gentle transition – particularly when there’s an Indian Summer – to prepare us for the harshness of winter. The colours are magic and the light is beautiful. I LOVE autumn and wanted to share some of my autumn strolls through Geneva with you.
PARC DES BASTIONS
I start my autumn stroll in Parc des Bastions.
The Reformation Wall stands in Parc des Bastions, portraying the major figures of the Reformation in the form of huge statues, with John Calvin in the centre … a glimpse of history while strolling through this beautiful park.
It’s always fun to watch locals, young and old, play chess on the giant chess boards at the entrance of the park.
It is the season!! What is more exciting than seeing roasted chestnuts around the corner. Autumn is never complete without heart-warming roasted chestnuts, so I had my share!
THE OLD TOWN
One can never get tired of a stroll through the Old Town with its cobbled-stone paths, picturesque cafés, cute little restaurants hidden in every corner. The old town offers a nostalgic atmosphere for autumn lovers.
I love stopping for a coffee at one of the cafés lined up in Place du Bourg-de-Four. I opted for a local beer at Café La Clémence this time round and soaked up the last rays of sunshine while watching people pass by. I love the bohemian touch in this particular part of the city, little statues here and there, art galleries and antique stores on either side of the streets, secret passages and steep steps. Allow yourself to get lost in this charming setting.
Then I walk up narrow streets decorated with Swiss flags towards the magnificent St. Pierre Cathedral. It almost feels like walking through history when you wander through the winding streets.
The beautiful murals and canons across from the Town Hall are just a few of the things to admire in this enchanting neighbourhood while traveling back in time and discovering the mysteries of centuries hidden in the heart of the city.
PARC LA GRANGE
A moment of peace and solitude while capturing the final sunny days and soaking up all the calmness this season has to offer. I love getting lost in such huge parks, under the shade of the trees, birds singing cheerfully and walking through paths unknown – therapy for the mind and soul…
And you fall in love with this city all over gain upon seeing the breath-taking view of Lac Leman.
With its remarkable landscape, immaculate flowerbeds and diverse fauna and flora, Parc de la Grange is no ordinary park! Did you know that this 12,000 square-meter park boasts one rosebush per square meter and is home to more than 200 varieties of flowers and plants?
Since the park is so close to the city centre, I decided to extend my walk to the Eaux-Vives neighbourhood for a coffee pit-stop at one of my favourite local coffee shops, Boréal. Their flat white is not to be missed and their friendly baristas will always welcome you with a warm smile. A great finale to a lovely long autumn stroll.
BOUT DU MONDE AND VEYRIER
Located on the banks of the Arve River, the Centre Sportif de Bout-du-Monde has a lot of facilities to offer, but is also a great place to go for long walks on a weekend. With scenic walking trails in the woods along the riverbank, it reminds me of Robert Frost’s infamous poem, the Road Not Taken … “two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by … and that has made all the difference”.
From Bout-du-Monde, I walked up to the quartier of Veyrier, where I live, to enjoy the plat-du-jour at the Auberge Communale du Grand-Donzel. This is a great café/restaurant with an open terrace from where you can enjoy the views of the Salève, ideally situated in a park, so your children can have fun at the playground while you sip your coffee out on the terrace and enjoy these last days of wonderfully sunny weather …
I love taking long strolls through this neighbourhood, as a surprise awaits around every corner: green leaves turning into a beautiful shade of orange and red.