HOW TO SPEND THE PERFECT DAY IN JONCTION
by Gaëlle Forget
Main Photo: Caro Blackwell
It’s easy to forget about Jonction – a little sidelined from the city centre and a little misunderstood, but locals know that this quirky eco quartier could just become the best place to live in town.
JONCTION REJUVENATED – BACKGROUND
Jonction is a neighbourhood undergoing renewal. Historically, it was mainly farmland, located in between two rivers: the Rhône and the Arve. In the 20th century, Jonction became home to a gas power plant, which exploded in 1909. Metal manufacturing companies followed, all of which closed in the 1980s.
To fight any underground pollution from its industrial past, the city of Geneva inaugurated the innovative “Ecoquartier Jonction” in 2009. The Ecoquartier is composed of 300 apartments, which enjoy a high-performance power supply, and which are kept warm by nearly entirely renewable heat. This area has potential to become the best place to live in Geneva, due, not least, to its variety of unique shops and outstanding restaurants.
SPEND A JOYFUL DAY IN JONCTION
9:30 am: BREAKFAST OR BRUNCH
Visiting le Petit Vingt-Trois during the weekend is even better, when their delicious brunch is on offer. For CHF19, you get two poached eggs, bacon, toast, truffle-infused white ham, potato rösti and a selection of cheeses. You may also be tempted to try their set of three pancakes (CHF 9).
Le Petit Vingt-Trois
Rue de la Coulouvrenière 23
11 am: A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
At the tip of Jonction, you will come across a most unusual and spectacular sight, where Geneva’s two rivers, the Rhône and the Arve, meet but do not mix. Take in their very different colours and rhythms: the Arve is light brown, sandy and fast; the Rhône is a beautiful deep blue, and quite slow. The best place to see this spectacular natural phenomenon is from the middle of the railroad bridge walkway, just above the two rivers.
WHERE TO SEE THE RIVERS MEET
Follow the Rhône and walk on the sentier des Saules all the way to the end of the road. During the summer, people come here to swim in the Rhône, jump from the bridge, and enjoy barbecues and picnics, making the best of the sunny weather.
Once you walked all the way to the end of the road, turn around and walk back, turning right at Rue de la Truite. Cross the Arve by taking the Bois de la Batie footbridge, and you will find a small zoo, a big park and a playground. It is the perfect place for children – and entry is free!
On the left side from the Café de la Tour, which is a wonderful little restaurant surrounded by nature, follow the yellow signs indicating Saint-Jean. The path follows the train tracks, and leads to an impressive bridge over both rivers, from where you can see the meeting of the waters. On the other side of the bridge, you will find a small path downhill on your right – the Rhône walk. Head back to the Pont de Sous-Terre, where you initially started your journey.
The entire walk takes about one hour to complete.
Café de la Tour
Chemin de la Bâtie 32
1pm: AN UPSCALE LUNCH
For a posh experience, only during the week, try Le Neptune for lunch. It is a contemporary gastronomic restaurant, which received an excellent review and score (15/20) by Gault & Millau, and featured in the Michelin Guide’s 2018 edition.
The chef carefully selects his suppliers, favouring produce that is both organic and locally sourced. He creates dishes that are innovative as well as delicious, and offers wine pairings to complement them. The restaurant’s Scandi design and décor gives it a vintage feel; somewhere in the background, a turntable plays jazz, along with 1950s classics.
For lunch, a dish of the day is offered at CHF29, the starter plus main course formula is at CHF36, and if you also want dessert, it will be CHF45.
The Neptune’s menu is seasonal and changes regularly.
Rue de La Coulouvrenière 38
Open Tuesday to Friday (12pm – 2:30pm; 7:30pm – 11pm); Saturday (7:30pm – 12am)
2pm: A BIT OF PAMPERING
In the Ecoquartier Jonction is a hidden jewel, a place where beauty, health and sustainability come together perfectly. A haven of peace and quiet in the heart of Geneva, Pachamama is an organic hair salon and beauty parlour, where a passionate and dedicated team will take care of your hair, skin and nails, in a way that suits you and the planet. In addition, Pachamama’s interior design is beautiful and cosy – truly a beauty cocoon!
All of their shampoos and products are fair trade, and certified by sustainable development networks. In addition to the usual services offered by a hair salon, they also do natural hair extensions, wedding services, organic and vegetal hair colouring, organic waxing and organic face masks.
Chemin du 23-Août 2
When: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (9am – 6:30pm); Thursday (10am – 8pm); Saturday (9am – 6pm); closed Sundays and Mondays
7pm: ASIAN DELICACIES
For an upscale, yet affordable and totally unique experience in Geneva, you must try Bao Steam Kitchen. Booking a few days in advance is recommended, as the restaurant is very popular; and rightfully so – the food is delicious.
The atmosphere is modern and romantic, with dim lighting and elegant décor. I recommend sitting at the bar, so you can observe the chef and his kitchen. The main attraction of the restaurant is the traditional XiaoLongbao: a steamed bun filled with hot soup and pork. They offer a large variety of dumplings and raviolis, all of which are delicious – I especially loved the shrimp raviolis. Last but not least, the wine selection is outstanding.
Pricing is reasonable for the quality of food and service, which is warm, attentive and friendly.
Bao Steam Kitchen
Chemin du 23-août 28
When: Tuesday – Saturday (11:30am – 2pm; 6:30pm – 10pm)
9pm: ONE FOR THE ROAD
This small bar, a sister outlet of Le Neptune’s, offers local, natural and organic beers and wines along with a few things to eat, boasting luscious green plants hanging from its exposed concrete walls and ceiling, not unlike an impeccably chic greenhouse. Le Tabouret makes its own bread in-house, and more adventurous patrons might wish to try their absinthe fountain.
I promise, a last drink here will provide the grand finale to a perfect day!
Rue de la Coulouvrenière 38
Tuesday to Saturday (5:30pm – 1am); closed on Sunday and Monday
Casa Tiki aims to transport you to a tropical location and to make you forget that you are in Geneva. Once inside, you may as well be in a Tiki bar in Fiji. You feel like you’re on an exotic holiday, without a care in the world. You can almost hear the waves in the background.
The mood is warm, friendly and tropical, with beautiful rattan chairs, pineapple lamps above the bar and jungle-themed wallpaper. The cocktails are original and come in fun Easter Island-shaped totems. They are all CHF 16, which is within the average for Geneva. It might be the ideal place to brighten your long winter evenings!
Rue du Vélodrome 11
Tuesday and Wednesday (5pm – 12am), Thursday (5pm – 1am), Friday and Saturday (5pm – 2am); closed on Sunday and Monday