CHOOSE YOUR PICNIC
CHIC, BOHEMIAN, EN FAMILLE, BY THE LAKE, BY THE RIVER, ON THE BEACH
by Gaëlle Forget and Alexandra Belz
Whether you like your picnic posh, Bohemian or a family affair, by the river, by the lake or on the beach, Geneva’s got a picnic spot that’s perfect for you.
PERLE DU LAC
This park on the right side of the lake and in our opinion it is the best view of the city, the lake and the Mont Blanc in the background. It is the perfect backdrop for your laid-back picnic. The wife of Rolex founder and former owner of the park, Hans Wildorf aptly named the park the Pearl of the Lake and its name suits it perfectly.
In the summer, you can catch a free open air movie at “Ciné Transat”. People bring pillows, blankets, lounge chairs, and happily sit on the grass by the flowerbeds with music playing in the background. The atmosphere of the entire park is so convivial and the party goes on until late at night during these hot summer nights.
Rue de Lausanne 128, 1202 Geneva
Throughout the year, open 24 hours
Cycle path and foot path.
Restaurant and buvette
Public barbecue spots where you’re allowed to enjoy a barbecue.
Dogs are allowed as long as they’re on a leash.
For an easy, luxury picnic experience, why not order a gourmet picnic basket from the Tiffany or EasWest Hotels. These picnic baskets come with plates and cutlery and a blanket for added comfort. Prices range from CHF28 to-CHF35per person upon reservation one day in advance.
More information at: https://www.tiffanyhotel.ch/en/actualites/chic-picnic/
On the left bank of the lake, in the trendy Eaux-Vives neighbourhood, you’ll find the beautiful Parc La Grange with its impressive rose garden that contains more than 200 different varieties of roses. It is the largest green space in Geneva and the park with the most history. There are even a few roman vestiges hidden in the park.
During the summer, the park hosts “Musique en été”. All summer there will be free concerts in the park, from jazz, to reggae, music lovers will love it. It also is home to the Théatre de l’Orangerie, which was built in 1856 in a neo-Greek architectural style and which throughout the summer hosts 8 plays, dance shows and 4 great parties with eclectic DJ sets featuring funk, soul and house music. The Théatre de l’Orangerie is a great place to grab a drink on their beautiful pop-up terrace. During 2018 they partnered with “Ou Bien Encore”, a delicious vegan restaurant in the artsy neighborhood of Les Bains and they propose a delicious selection of dishes and even brunch!
Monday – Sunday: 7 am to 9pm
Splash pool in the summer, free deck chairs in the summer, theatre, Ella Fitzgerald stage, dedicated dog area, public barbecue area and public toilets.
PICNIC ON THE BEACH
This beach is a bit further out. It is a nice 40-minute bike ride or about 10 km from the centre of Geneva. There is a bicycle path the whole way and it could be the perfect half-day trip. Pack you picnic, borrow one of the free bicycle from “Genève roule”, a non-profit public association, and leisurely bike your way to la Savonnière Beach. You can also take a public bus. The best places are usually the ones that require some effort. La Savonnière beach is definitely among the best beaches in Geneva.
It is less crowded than others beach areas in Geneva. It has anything that you may need, barbecues, large grass area to lay on, shade, easy and safe beach access for children, public toilets and so on. You can rent paddles and treat yourself to a delicious pizza from the resident food truck. During the summer, Geneva Paddle organises a few crayfish festivals. We attended one on American Independence Day, and we had such a great time. The crayfish goes down very well with white wine.
Chemin Armand-Dufaux 13, 1245 Collonge – Bellerive
Monday – Sunday from 8 am until 11pm
Public toilets, buvette (restaurant), parking, barbecue spaces, showers and paddleboards for rent.
This beach is on the right bank of the Lake, approximately 5 km away from the city centre, on the way to Lausanne. It is relatively easy to reach this beach by bicycle as there is a bike path the whole way. You can also come by car, as there is a paid parking at the entrance of the beach. However, during the summer the parking is usually full and it can be hard to find a free parking spot in the surrounding area.
The view from the city with both the Mont Blanc and the Jet d’Eau in the background is breathtaking. The atmosphere is familial, friendly and laid-back.
This beach is perfect for large groups of friends or for big family reunions, get-together and kids birthday parties. It has a big grass lawn for people to lie on and for the kids to run around and play ball safely. It is large enough that it never feels crowded.There are barbecue and grills available at the far end of the beach by the shade of the trees.
You regularly see people kite surfing or windsurfing, you can also rent paddles and learn how to sail at “Force 5”, a sailing club and small bar. They even organise kids summer camps. This place is perfect for active people who like water activities.
The access to the water via big stone steps might not be ideal for small infants
284 Route de Lausanne
Open all year round until 10pm
Public toilets, small bar, paddle boards for rent, sailing club, parking.
PICNIC BY THE RIVER
If you want to truly experience Geneva like a local, you must head to the Rhône River for a different and unique picnic and swimming adventure. Jonction offers a very different and definitely worth your time, way of sightseeing and experiencing the city. Spending a day at Jonction is like being on vacation. This place is where the River Arve and the River Rhone meet and merge; it is the junction of the two rivers. There is a distinct color difference between the two rivers. The Rhone has a pure blue color while the Arve has a more brown and muddy color. It is a wonderful natural occurrence and the walk is really lovely even in the cold of winter.
In the summer, it is also where people from all social classes and from all kind of backgrounds meet, where tourists and locals alike, gather for get-togethers with family and friends. People grill on public barbecues, play music, swim, jump from the bridge (at their own risk). Swimming is only recommended for good swimmers as there are a lot of strong currents and it can potentially be dangerous for young or inexperienced swimmers. There are not many places like this in the world. You will also get a lot of fresh air and shades from the trees, cooling off in the fresh water of the Rhone is an amazing way to spend your afternoon. It is truly a blissful journey into nature and in the summer it gets really fun.
On the banks of the River Rhône in Jonction
Open all year round, 24 hours
Wooden decks for sunbathing, public toilets and a buvette – À la Pointe, which serves drinks and light meals.
THE FAMILY AFFAIR
PARC LES EVAUX
A good start to a full day is Park Aventure (we strongly suggest to go in the morning as it gets very crowded in the afternoon), which offers different levels of accro-branching (tree top courses) and three giant zip lines. Prices are not cheap but worthwhile as you can easily spend 3 hours and build up a great appetite for a nice picnic in the shades of the trees (you can find tables and public bbq`s set up all over the park). Cold drinks and simple snacks can be bought at a small buvette, that has been set up while the restaurant is currently being renovated.
Smaller children enjoy the close by playground or the famous `tortillard`, a little train that runs on Wednesdays, weekends and during the holidays all summer (Chf 3,— per ride). You can hire pedal-karts to use on a dedicated concours or to explore the park or make reservations for the beach-volleyball pitches and tennis courts. Make use of the nearby skate park, football pitches and a full-sized running track as well as a run-in- nature parcours of 3, 5 or 10 km, table tennis and a lot of fun is a round of disc-golf (parcours).
You will find plenty of parking close by but again, arrive early (around 10:00) to be sure to get a spot.
Fondation des Evaux, Chemin François- Chavez 110,1213 Onex
To learn more : www.evaux.ch
For reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
To call: 0041-22-879 85 85
To learn more about Parc Aventure and make reservations online: www.parcaventuregeneve.com
This park is much smaller than Les Evaux but closer to the centre of Geneva. It offers sports activities for kids and adults and nice walks in the greenery and in the forest. Plenty of grassland invites to have a picnic and four public bbq´s help to make it a nice experience. A playground with different slides, a sand pitch, swings, a climbing pyramid and table tennis help entertain the young and the old. If you are lucky, you can find one of the chairs to hang out in, that have been placed there in summer or walk down to the river Rhône.
While dogs are allowed but need to be kept on a leash, there is the fenced zone where you can let them run free under your supervision.
The small nearby zoo is worth seeing as it is home to some historically Suisse races of peacocks, sheep, wolly pigs, cows from Hinterwald and Appenzell- chicken and the small lake with different species of ducks is very peaceful.
Parking is rather limited so you might have to tour around the area for a while.
In the area of the park you can find two cafés- restaurants:
Le chalet du Bois-de-la-Bâtie
Le café de la Tour de Bois-de-la-Bâtie, Tel: 022-793 98 18
Le Bois-de-la-Bâtie, Chemin de la Bâtie, 1202 Geneva
In winter (November- Mars): 08:00- 18:00 every day in summer ( April- October): 08:00- 20:00 every day