Our final day saw us with stunning blue sky again and free time until our departures.
We set off for a walk around the main part of Geneva with plans to stop at the Patek Philippe boutique and the Vacheron Constantin boutique.
Looking back across the Pont du Mont Blanc.
Our first stop was the Patek Philippe Boutique. Located on Rue du Rhone and facing the lake, the salon has maintained the heritage feel of the building and the interiors. Gorgeous embossed and gilded wall paper and many antiques fill the space.
Watches are elegantly displayed and service is impeccable.
After Patek Philippe we headed to the Vacheron Constantin Salon where Mr. CA4G was wanting to see the vintage pieces they had for sale. It was great to see a high end brand actively buying, servicing and reselling their own historic pieces.
While the salon is housed in an old building the interior is thoroughly light and modern with subtle references to the past.
Then it was time for a bit of exploring. Walking the cobble stoned streets was an exciting experience and great way to see the town. I would hate to walk these streets in heels. The local ladies were mostly in elegant flats or low heels only some silly foreigners were in mega heels.
We found Christie’s Auction house. Alas no auction preview exhibition while we were there.
Perched on the hill above the city is the Cathedral of Saint Pierre. Built in the 12th century, the Cathedral became the local seat of the Protestant church in the 16th century when it also underwent some modifications. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to climb the 157 steps of the north tower for the views over the city and lake.
The Palais de Justice, the courthouse of Geneva and the street out front of it. The cafes were quite busy. I guess lawyers need to fuel up on caffiene like the rest of us.
Then it was time to head to M.A.D. Gallery and visit Max Busser.
The items for sale in M.A.D. Gallery are very eclectic and quite visionary. The Machine Lights by Frank Buchwald are quite amazing and I could see some of these in our house(anyone got the winning Lotto numbers for me?). Prior to making these unique lights Frank Buchwald was a freelance artist and science fiction illustrator. He then moved on to making metal furniture and in 1993, entirely self taught, he started producing the lamps.
Machine Light Type No. 1. I could see this in a movie featuring a mad scientist.
Machine Lights Type No. 3, this would sit nicely on our mantelpiece.
While the art is important at M.A.D. Gallery, Max Busser also has the fantastic mechanical wrist art that is M.B&F Watches. Mr. CA4G was keen to show me the HM6, also known as Space Pirate, that he saw in Singapore earlier this year. Max was inspired to design this watch by a cartoon he used to watch as child called Capitaine Flam.
The front two bubbles tell the hour on the left and the minutes on the right. The central sapphire crystal dome houses a tourbillon which has an articulated titanium cover that can be raised and lowered by the wearer. The rear two bubbles contain the twin spherical turbines that automatically regulate the winding system in case of excessive speed to reduce stress and wear. Very technical and very complicated.
Watches like this continue to astound me due the amount of research that goes in to the design and the movement. The sapphire crystal is incredibly hard to do as each dome is shaped from a block of crystal. Out of every 100 crystal domes produced there is around an 80% reject rate. Incredibly time consuming and costly. Makes you appreciate why mechanical timepieces like this cost what they do.
Who doesn’t love robots, especially these Melchior ones, designed by M.B&F and built by L’Epee 1839. These are table clocks that put boring run of the mill table clocks to shame. The dome on the head houses the movement . The body has jumping hours and minute indicators and the eyes are retrograde seconds indicators, the dome on top reveals the regulator which governs the clocks precision . The left forearm detaches to become the winding key. The good thing? With 40 day power reserve you don’t need to wind it too often.
And Max’s latest idea was a clock in the shape of a spider. Yep, not my cup of tea. Called Arachnophobia, Max Busser’s over active imagination was inspired by the giant spider sculpture “Maman” by Louise Bourgeois and bought to life by L’Epee 1839. The legs are articulated and it can either sit on a desk or be mounted on a wall.
Arachnophobia on the wall and Damien Beneteau’s kinetic sculpture ‘Spatial Variation’ in front.
Some of our favourite pieces were the ‘comma men’ by Chinese artist Xia Hang. These delightful, highly polished stainless steel sculptures are quite whimsical and fun.
Hanging on one wall was one of the most unique musical instruments we have ever seen. Ulrich Teuffel began making and designing guitars when he was 14. At age 30 he radically changed his approach to guitar making by focusing on conceptual design. His BirdFish design is now ranked among the best guitars in the world and used by people such as Billy Gibbons(ZZTop), David Torn, Kirk Hammett(Metallica) and many more.
Mr. CA4G has a thing for steam engines and has looked at these Bohm Stirling pieces on line. They do not rely on water to generate energy but heat from a small flame that heats up the engine and gets it going.
There was even one that can be placed over a mug of coffee and is activated by the heat rising off the hot liquid, also acts as a coffee insulator.
Also on exhibit were the works of Damien Beneteau. Originally a photographer, Damien began working with light and creating kinetic ‘light sculptures’. Moving parts within the pieces change the way light plays on them. Quite mesmerizing and somehow hypnotic.
It was great to finally meet Max Busser and visit M.A.D Gallery. As my flight left earlier I had to depart and left Mr. CA4G to enjoy a catch up and lunch with Max.
We had a wonderful 5 days in Geneva and were very glad to have had the chance to go.
We would like to thank James Kennedy and the team from LK Boutique for inviting us on the tour, Patek Philippe for their wonderful hospitality and the opportunity to visit the factories and learn more about their watch making and design processes.
Our wine dinner at work way back in June was St Hallett from the Barossa Valley.
Our canapes were corn fritters with aioli, potato and leek soup and pork, veal and mushroom terrine with chutney. These were accompanied by 2014 St Hallett Eden Valley Riesling .
Our first course was a dish that I used to help make at Astral restaurant, a ravioli of lobster and salmon served with a ginger and treacle beurre blanc. This was very popular with our attendees. Served with 2014 St Hallett Poachers Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.
Our main course was a Sous vide pork loin in cider, Czech bread dumpling, braised red cabbage and cider gravy. After removing the skin and setting it aside, I rubbed the pork loin with a spice mix of juniper berries, ground dried orange, salt and rosemary then marinated it over night in cider. Then we bagged the loins with some of the cider marinade, vacuum sealed them and slow cooked 4 hours. The pork was nice and tender with a hint of the spice rub which really had our diners asking where the orange was. As Mr. CA4G’s heritage is Czech I really wanted to pair the pork with the bread dumpling that his mother used to make. A great alternative to potato, the dumpling really soaks up the sauce. The main was served with St Hallett Blackwell Shiraz from two vintages, 2008 and 2013.
As our last wine for the night was to be another red, 2012 St Hallett Old Block Shiraz. I decided to serve a cheese plate with house made breads. The cheeses were Trinity Cellars Jersey Brie, L’Artisan Fermier and Trinity cellars blue. The L’Artisan Fermier is like an Australian version of Morbier. The breads we made were walnut bread, lavosh and oat crackers. The walnut bread is a staple on our cheese plates in the restaurant, the lavosh I have made before and makes a nice crisp addition to the plate. I have been wanting to make the oat crackers for some time and this dinner was the perfect opportunity. Who knew they were so easy to make?? We also added some honey to go with the blue cheese, grapes, walnuts and Maggie Beer quince paste.
I will be posting recipes for the breads in the future so keep an eye out for them!
Our venue for dinner was Auberge d’Onex, located in the suburb of Onex on the southern side of Geneva. Nestled amongst a lush garden, Auberge d’Onex is housed in the building that was originally the clubhouse of the first golf club in Geneva. Cuisine is Italian and the owner/maître d’ is a very vivacious host.
Auberge d’Onex is a homely and cosy restaurant, dark wood exposed beams on the ceiling, floral curtains, white clothed tables with comfortable wooden chairs.
Red wine was the drink of the night, a lovely 3 year old Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico.
Baskets of bread were dotted around the table with some fantastic olive oil to dip it in. Antipasti was served from platters and included, grilled asparagus, grilled witlof, burrata cheese, artichokes, sausage, salamis, whitebait, grilled eggplant. My favourite had to be the burrata cheese, so creamy and soft. Servings were quite generous.
Main was a large whole fish that the staff bought out on a trolley and served to us with some caponata. Not being much of a fish eater I had veal scallopine.
Before dessert bowls of peaches, plums, grapes, fresh dates, kiwi berries and small mangoes, were placed on the table.
We had a choice of 6 desserts served from the dessert trolley. We were also offered grappa and house made Limoncello with dessert. I chose meringata and promptly forgot to take a photo, while Mr. CA4G had the tiramisu.
After a fabulous dinner it was back to the hotel for our final sleep in Geneva.
After breakfast it was back on the bus and then to Plan les Ouates for our final visit to the Patek Philippe factory.
The morning saw us broken in to two groups again. One group went over to the service department while the other group was taken for a talk about the design and research and development of new watch models.
Our group first went for the design/R&D talk. Very interesting to hear how a watch is designed from sketch to model and then to prototyping. Sketches and 3D printed models are presented to a panel of 6 that includes Heads of design, R&D, Watchmaking, Mr and Mrs Stern. After deliberation and critiques, go ahead is either given or the piece goes back for refinement or changes. Some pieces may take a year or two of playing around with before the final design is set.
It was very interesting to see and handle the 3D models. Several sizes are presented; a life size one, a large one, and then case and bracelet(if not on a leather strap) separately. Prototypes are made from a base metal after the go ahead is given and mock up movements are installed. These are then presented and critiqued again.
We also saw examples of dial designs and prototypes. We saw samples of some enamel dials and the steps in their making. A sample piece (around 10cm x 10cm) is made first and then sent for approval. A sample strip of the colours used is also made up which is also presented witht he sample piece. Enamelists are true artisans and the work they do on such a small scale is astounding.
After our time learning about the design process it was time to swap with the other group and head to the service department.
In the service department we learnt about the amount of work and quality control that goes in to servicing Patek Philippe watches. We were then taken to see the head of vintage watch servicing . A team of 3, one master watchmaker and two junior watchmakers handle repairs and restorations of the vintage timepieces.
On display were some of the botch jobs that they are sent from people who just go to a bad watchmaker, rather than send their watch back to Patek Philippe. One watch had a paperclip used in the repair!
The head watchmaker is so skilled at his work that he is able to tell when a part he is machining is not right just by the sound it makes. He is also able to hear it across the desk on work one of the junior watchmakers is doing.
The restoration department has a ‘library’ of information built up by the head watchmaker. While some parts are available, quite often the restoration department needs to manufacture their own parts based on the components in the watch they are restoring. This requires meticulous measuring and skilled hands and eyes. This information is then stored for future reference in the ‘library’.
After our visit to the restoration and service department it was time for lunch. This time we had a three course lunch in the cafeteria.
Entrée was a tasing plate or borscht, foie gras mousse on a crouton, smoked salmon and cream cheese roulade.
Main was duck breast with plums, roesti and seasonal vegetables.
Dessert was a delicious orange and chocolate ring.
After lunch we stretched our legs and had a look at the site where Patek Philippe is constructing a new expansion of the factory. This new building will see Cadrans Fluckiger move from St. Imier to Geneva, the case and jewellery departments will also move to the main site, relocation of the service centre and a watchmaking school.
We then jumped on the bus for the short drive to the case and jewellery departments. We saw first hand the machining and finishing of the cases, from a lump of precious metal or a lump of steel the case comes to shape in a CNC machine. It takes hours for the case be finished in the CNC before it heads off for polishing.
The polishing department was quite fascinating as well. Depending on the type of finishing (shiny, brushed, matt) the polisher will have a different approach and finishing method to the process. Some pieces such as the Nautilus bracelet require both a brushed and shiny finish, this then requires the futher step of ‘blocking’ the polished areas before applying the brushed finish.
The jewellery department is where those pieces that require stones to be set in the dial or case are finished. Cuff links and ladies jewellery pieces are also produced here. We were very lucky to be able to meet the gemologist for Patek Philippe. He travels the world looking for some of the most amazing stones. For example a row of around 20 flawless Zambian emeralds, a suite of 6 perfect ‘pigeons blood’ rubies and many flawless diamonds in all sizes. The special stones don’t always get used straight away, it may take several years before a design comes along to utilize them. We were able to see one of the stone setters working on a pave diamond bracelet for a watch.
After our tour of the case and jewellery departments it was back to the main factory for the final part of our afternoon and tour. An hour of inspecting the current novelties and standard production pieces.
Trays of watches were passed down each side of the table, with plenty of time for looking, handling and asking questions. There were lots of exciting pieces to contemplate. I had two favourites, both from the ladies Gondolo range with a real art deco feel.
Of course Mr. CA4G is a watch fanatic so he ended up with a dream wish list of around 8 favourite pieces.
After a mesmerising hour and a half of watches, we wrapped up the official part of the tour and headed back to the hotel for a short respite before dinner.
Stay watching for our final dinner at Auberge D’Onex.
After visiting Maison Cailler it was time to head to the hill town of Gruyères where we were to have dinner. Located in the Canton of Fribourg, in the foothills of Mont Moléson, the town is perched atop an 82metre hill. It was quite interesting to see snow on the nearby mountains even though it was the end of summer. The country side around the town was stunning, so green and lush.
It is a fascinating old town with many of the buildings being beautifully maintained in their original style. Cobble stone streets make for an interesting walk and not a walk I would want to attempt in high heels.
The largest building in the town is Chateau de Gruyères (castle) built between 1270 and 1282 and now home to a museum covering 800 years of architecture, art history and culture of the region.
Chateau St Germain, the second castle within the town, was acquired by the artist H.R. Giger and now houses the H.R. Giger Museum and the Giger Café/Bar. Sadly time did not allow for a visit to either museum, which gives us a reason for a return trip to do so.
Gruyères is of course the area where that fabulous cheese of the same name comes from. Given that we were in Gruyères, it was only natural that dinner would be fondue. Our restaurant was Café – Restaurant des Remparts which, like many buildings in the town, is built in to the external wall of the town.
The outer walls of the town are situated on the edges of the hill and thus give amazing views out over the surrounding countryside. We were fortunate that the clouds parted and we were able to enjoy the view with a little sun before it set.
The interior of the restaurant is very traditional Swiss style. Lots of wood, red and white, lace and very homely touches. The ladies who served us were dressed fairly traditionally as well.
An entrée of salad and platters of cold meats with pickled onions and cornichons was presented first, shortly followed by fondue of vacherin and Gruyère cheese.
While we usually have 2 or 3 fondues a year at home, it was a revelation to have it in Switzerland. Steamed chat potatoes are served along with bread cubes. The fondue itself was thick, cheesy and creamy and totally delicious. I think I will be searching for Vacherin cheese next winter to replace the Emmentaler I normally use in our fondue.
All that cheesy goodness was followed by a dessert of wonderful fresh berries, topped with luscious, thick Gruyères cream. The cream was served at the table by the waitress who came around with a wooden bowl that the cream had been set in and the scooped out with a paddle shaped spoon. I asked for just a little and was served around 1/3 of a cup. Very naughty but sooo good!!
Walking outside after dinner it was lovely to see the town lit up in the twilight.
Day 3 was a very long day and we returned to the hotel around 1030. It was however a very fascinating and fantastic day full of interesting things to see, learn and enjoy.
Day 3 saw us with an extra early start. We had a 2 ½ hour drive to the dial factory, Cadrans Flückiger at St Imier in the Canton of Jura. Under grey skies and a light shower we boarded our bus and headed out of Geneva along the lake. Once we were out of the city we drove through beautiful green countryside with the occasional rainbow.
Cadrans Flückiger S.A. is a subsidiary company of Patek Philippe. They specialize in the manufacture and finishing of dials. Not only do they make dials for Patek Philippe, they also do dials for companies such as Audemars Piguet and IWC, among others. It was fascinating to learn that a dial can have anywhere from 40 to 70 processes applied to it and can take up to 3 months to make.
Dial enamelling and guilloché engraving are also carried out at Cadrans Flückiger and we were fortunate to be able to see the artisans working at both techniques. Enameling is very pretty but the amount of work involved explains why the pricing can be quite a bit more for an enamel dial watch. The engraving studio also had several guilloché machines dating back to the 1800’s still being used.
Lunch was at the Hotel Beau Rivage Neuchatel,a hotel we stayed at several years ago. Not associated with the Beau Rivage Geneva, this stately hotel is also situated by a lake, Lake Neuchatel to be precise. It was nice to return even if for a little while.
Memories of our dinner on our last visit had us anticipating the wonderful lunch that awaited us.
The wild mushrooms in puff pastry were very tasty and the freshness of the mushrooms was evident in the level of flavor.
Main course was a simple prepared chicken supreme, with vegetables and a chorizo cream sauce. The sauce had a nice spiciness to it.
Dessert was an apple tart tatin, beautifully presented and very delicious!
After lunch we had time for a quick walk outside.
After our fantastic lunch it was back on to the bus. Our next destination was a visit to the chocolate factory of Maison Cailler, located in the town of Broc, situated in the mountains of the La Gruyere region. Now part of the Nestle Group, Maison Cailler was founded in the early 1800’s by Francois-Lois Cailler. Over the next 100 or so years the manufacturing of chocolate was perfected with the ultimate secret to creaminess being the use of condensed milk made with the high quality milk from the cows of the region.
We took part in a tour of the factory which started with a series of rooms, each depicting a different period in the history of chocolate. From the Aztecs to the Conquisatadors, the arrival of chocolate in Europe, right up to the founding of Maison Cailler and the 20th century. Very interesting and well presented.
After the history rooms you start in to the factory proper. Glass walls separate the factory from the tour area where displays and samples of ingredients are arranged. An audio device is given to each tour member at the start and when held to an icon at each display, you learn more about the ingredients and where they are from. There is also information on the farmers/growers and their locations in the world.
And of course you can’t finish a chocolate factory tour without trying some freshly made chocolate. There were around a dozen samples to taste. Thankfully I only tried 4 which was quite sufficient.
We also had time for a bit of chocolate retail therapy.
This ends part 1 of Day 3 part two will see us head to the historic for town of Gruyeres for dinner.
For history buffs: the Beau Rivage Geneva started operations in 1865 and since then they have had many famous guests. Empress Sissi of Austria spent her final days here before being assassinated while boarding a boat to Montreux. She was returned to the hotel and died shortly after. In 1918 documents were signed in the Masaryk Salon creating Czechoslovakia. Other famous guests have included Sarah Bernhardt, Charles de Gaulle, composer Richard Wagner, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson(who enjoyed sardines with strawberry jam for breakfast at the Beau Rivage), drummer/singer Phil Collins, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Jean Cocteau, King Farouk of Egypt and many more.
Since 1987 it has also been the Geneva location for Sotheby’s jewel and watch auctions, of which the most spectacular must be the auction of the Duchess of Windsor’s collection of jewels. It was also the first hotel in Switzerland to have an electric elevator (third in the world) and the first in Switzerland to offer wireless LAN connections to guests.
Back to the tour!
Waking up early we headed down for breakfast. An elegant enclosed terrace overlooks the lake and provides a perfect backdrop for enjoying a relaxing breakfast.
Checking our weather app we found we were in for another beautiful, sunny day.
Like the Beau Rivage in Neuchatel, the buffet isn’t large but offers a great selection of local produce. Freshly baked breads were delicious and there were several types each day.
After breakfast it was back up to the room to get ready for our first full day of the trip. As you can see from how I am dressed the first day was quite formal.
A quick bus trip found us at Plan Les Ouates, an industrial area on the southern side of Geneva. I know what you are thinking, luxury watches in an industrial area? Plan Les Ouates is no ordinary industrial area. Locals give it the nickname Plan Les Watches as it is home to many Swiss watch brands (Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, Piaget, amongst others). It is also home to several Swiss beauty/cosmetic brands like Clarins.
The fence with construction work behind is part of The Patek Philippe Factory. This new extension will house the dial factory, jewel and case manufacturing a watchmaking school and more. Patek Philippe is bringing everything in to one location rather than having departments spread out.
Upon arriving we had a quick coffee, met our guides and then headed in to the lecture room/ auditorium for a presentation about the Patek Philippe brand.
After the presentation we were broken in to two smaller groups to begin our tour of the factory. Sadly we were not able to take photos inside the factory areas, but it was fascinating to see how the parts are manufactured and machined. The size of some of the watch parts is mind blowing and then you think how hard it is to do polishing and finishing on a piece that is less than 1mm in size.
After the tour it was time for lunch which was in the private dining salon. Mr. Thierry Stern was our host for lunch. What a lunch it was! A three course lunch prepared by a chef poached from a Michelin star restaurant, we were informed that he also prepared the menus for the 2 staff cafeterias. These are not your ordinary run of the mill staff cafeterias either.
Lasagne style Zita pasta # 18, eggplant confit, poultry and Pata Negra ham.
Brittany lobster, cauliflower and curry foam.
Lemon cheese cake, thin vanilla crepes.
Coffee and chocolates ended our meal.
After our fabulous lunch we got on the bus for the short journey back to central Geneva for our tour of the Patek Philippe Watch Museum. WOW what a museum! The Patek Philippe Watch museum houses thousands of watches and pocket watches, and has examples of clock and watch making from the 1500’s right up to the year 2000. In the collection are pieces owned by many historical figures, Kings, Queens, aristocrats, Popes, Presidents, industrialists(think Getty’s, Astors, Graves, Chrysler), artists, actors etc.
Mr. Philippe Stern has built up a fabulous collection and continues to add to it, waiting for fine examples at auction or being offered for sale by other private collectors. The museum is broken in to two sections, Antique watches 1500’s to 1800’s and the Patek Philippe collection 1839 to present. There is so much to see that we will definitely be going back for another visit, you could spend a whole day looking at these masterpieces of horlogerie. My favourites were any of the enamelled antique pieces and the beautiful jewelled pieces from the Art Deco period.
Photography was not permitted in the museum but we managed to get the one below.
After a wonderful 2 hours in this fascinating museum it was back to the Beau Rivage for a quick freshen up and then to dinner at L’Observatoire Restaurant. We knew it was short walk from our hotel but didn’t realise it was in the hotel next to ours, Hotel D’Angleterre. The hotel is very old school British in style, very elegant and sophisticated. They even have a proper cigar lounge with wood panelling and buttoned leather chairs and sofas.
Offering views over Lake Geneva and the Alps, L’Observatoire is the private dining salon within Windows Restaurant at Hotel D’Angleterre.
I love a unique butter presentation!
Mille-feuille of crispy potatoes, vegetable puree flavoured with truffles and crispy chips.
Veal medallion Gamay jus, stuffed vegetables and mushroom filled potatoes.
Caramel pear, pink praline custard and orchid ice cream.
After our second three course meal of the day we were very glad it wasn’t too far back to our hotel and another good night of sleep.
Late September saw us jetting to Geneva, Switzerland for a watch factory tour. We were invited by LK Boutique and Patek Philippe to visit the Patek Philippe factories and see behind the scenes of watch making. I will focus only on the food, hotel and scenery in this post. We unfortunately were not able to take photos while in the factory but let me say it was a truly amazing experience.
We traveled with Emirates to Geneva with a stopover in Dubai. On previous trips to Europe it has always been after a week in New York, so it was a novelty for me to fly west and north from Sydney. The flight is of course LOOOONNGGGGG, nearly 14 hours to Dubai with a 2 ½ hour layover, then a further 7 hours to Geneva. Of course First class lounges help.
The first meal of our trip was dinner in the Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney. A glass of rose Champagne got the trip of to a nice start. Mr. CA4G ordered minute steak with chips and salsa verde and I ordered pork with kale and sweet potato.
For our second course we ordered the cheese selection and a fig, toasted hazelnut and honey tart with a rosemary infused cream, housemade ricotta whey sorbet. Great cheeses and the tart was delicious and light.
Flying First Class is a rare experience and when you can upgrade to First you really enjoy the treat.
We arrived in Dubai early in the morning and after going through all the barriers, we stumbled along to Emirates First Class lounge. OMG!! Talk about a lounge. Massive, with water features, plenty of lounging areas, dining room, spa(you never know when you might need a quick massage or facial), business desks. One thing I really liked was the charging lockers where you could charge all your gadgets securely while you relax. The service was impeccable and the lounge very relaxing.
Freshly squeezed juice and bakers basket.
The only thing missing from breakfast was some bacon but it is a small thing. The sausages that we had (veal or chicken) with our scrambled eggs were sensational
Back on to the plane for the second leg of the trip, the sun had fully risen so we got some shots of Dubai as we left.
We forgot to take some photos of the fabulous food served in Emirates first class between Sydney and Dubai but here is what lunch looked like.
The flight from Dubai to Geneva saw us fly up over Iran, then across Turkey and the Balkans before crossing the northern parts of the Adriatic and Italy, over the majestic Alps and then in to Geneva airport.
After landing we headed to our hotel, The Beau Rivage, Geneva. Located across the road from Lake Geneva, it offers an old world touch of luxury with modern conveniences(namely excellent wifi!!).
Exterior Beau Rivage, Geneva.
Our room was one of several that had a balcony facing the lake and the Jet d’Eau, with views to the Alps and Mont Blanc in the distance.
After settling in, we had a little time to ourselves and decided to take advantage of the sunshine to explore a little. Our group was given public transport vouchers for the duration of the stay. We decided to use ours to take one of the Mouettes Genevoise across the lake. The Mouettes Genevoise, are wooden boats that have a long history on Lake Geneva. There are three routes to choose from and we took the one that goes directly across the lake and offers good views of the Jet d’Eau fountain.
From our drop off wharf we walked back to the city centre, a walk of around 10 minutes. Naturally, we had to find some watch boutiques.
We were also successful in finding M.A.D. Gallery, where Mr. CA4G was to catch up with Mr. Max Busser later in the week.
We also found the carousel/merry go round located in the street leading up to the cathedral.
A bit more walking found us at the Quai de l’Ile, historic headquarters of Vacheron Constantin. This building is now home to a Vacheron Constantin boutique as well as home to their heritage department.
At this point, Lake Geneva starts to narrow again and become the mighty Rhone River. I never realized that the Rhone River starts its 812 kilometer journey down from the Lepontine Alps in the canton of Valais. You can see the water starting to flow quite quickly in the photo above and below.
Peak hour traffic was a nightmare! We thought Sydney was bad, but the traffic in Geneva shocked us a bit. Although we were later told that the road in front of the Hotel is the main one people use to go around the bottom of Lake Geneva and there is only the one vehicular bridge at that point.
Back at the hotel we had enough time for a quick freshen up before meeting the other members of our tour group at a welcome cocktail party/dinner. Only a few shots of the food, as it was also dinner there was plenty of food and all delicious.
Tiredness was starting to catch up with us so we headed back to our room where we had this stunning view out the window.
That was the end of our first day in Geneva, stay tuned for more on our trip.