Day trip to Geneva in summer: BAD tourism office, terrible overall experience.

After visiting Annecy’s attractions on a rainy day, on the next day we woke up in our hotel disappointed because… it was raining again!

We decided on a “day trip to Geneva”.  We have  been there at least three times… Anyway, all  our previous visitings to Geneva happened in winter  as a “overnight stop”   after long international flights, usually  on our way to ski slopes in Zermatt, Courchevel, etc.

The distance between Annecy and Geneva is approximately 70km.  I didn’t want to feel the stress of driving under heavy rain,  so we opted for a train trip.

The train ticket is cheap  (11 Euros each way  by passenger).  The unique possible schedule  was:  board  on the 10.30AM  train  from Annecy to Eaux-Vives and return  at 7.30pm  by bus from Eaux-Vives  to  Annecy.


 Inside the train on our way to Geneva

The trip  by train takes around 60 minutes as the train stops in many little towns along the way.

The views are not “special”.  I would  say they are rather “regular” .

Our disappointment  began when we arrived at Eaux-Vives “train station” .   That  shit is not a train station!  It is only a shit!   There is no information office,  there is no information billboard,  there are no toilettes,  there is NOTHING  there.

It doesn’t  look like Switzerland.  It  looks like some train station  in a 3rd world country.

Outside  the train station there is a ticket machine where it’s possible to buy tram tickets.  Possible?  Not for us!   The machine doesn’t accept bills (Euros or Swiss bills, it doesn’t matter).  The tram ticket machine only accepts COINS.  Swiss coins.

We had to go to “Bureau du Change”  (this is unique “service”  offered at the train station)  in order to change money.

The guy who  works at the “Bureau the Change” was as polite as a furious monkey.

Anyway,  after  paying commission  to have  Swiss coins,   we bought our tickets  to tram number 16  (the one that goes to downtown Geneva  from Eaux-Vives).

It cost 10 SFR  for each of us,   for an “all day”  ticket.

Considering that we only used it in two trips, we found it expensive.

We got off the train when we saw the “Jet d’ Eau” .   After taking pictures we went  to search for  Geneva Tourist Office in order to have some  local maps.


Jet d’ Eau,  Geneva

It is a shame that Geneva, a city frequently reported as “an important city in Europe”   has no information  regarding how to get to the Tourist Office!

There was a lot of road work going on,  so it was tough to walk along the streets and public squares.

After following arrows pointing to the Train Station we went  Cointrin Train Station where we were informed that…  there’s NO TOURIST OFFICE booth there!!!

Come on….  an office to give information for tourists is quite common in ALL train stations around Europe. They don’t have this in Cointrin???  Shame on you, Geneva!

After entering in a few hotel lobbies to ask for directions, we were told to go to the “Post Building” where we would find the Tourist Office.

There we went.

Long  line and only TWO people to  receive MANY travelers!

I can not believe that a small town  like Annecy  has  more than five  people welcoming travelers  and providing  information at the Tourist Office, and on the other hand, a large city like Geneva  has only  TWO  people  working!?!?

The guy working at Geneva Tourist Office should be working anywhere but in Tourism.   He was unfriendly, answered our few questions  monossyllabically  and gave us a map as if he was doing  a “huge favor” .

Where NOT to eat:

It was lunch  time  but we were  so “pissed off”   with the terrible train station and the poor service at the Tourist Office  that we had no appetite for a fancy restaurant.

We decided to eat “anywhere”.

We went to Manors, a shopping store  with several floors,  where  the food is reasonable and usually good _ at least in Zurich  it is.

The restaurant is located on the 4th floor in a  crowded place.

The “plat du jour ”  (risotto avec crevettes)   was already  “sold out” . We decided on a small piece of chicken  breast  with  vegetables.   It was TERRIBLE.   No taste at all.   NO salt,  no olive oil, no onions….  no nothing.   It was worst than eating  in a Hospital.    It cost  40 SFR  for the  two of us  (without dessert and we only drank one  can of soda).  I felt  like  been assaulted.

Old Town and gardens with ugly wood fences

After leaving  Manor we went  to explore the Old Town attractions using  the map we picked up at the Tourist Office.    We went basically to see the same attractions where we have been in previous visits. The difference is that this time it was summer and we didn’t need our heavy coats.

geneva fences-1

 As everyone knows, gardens are usually public spaces where it’s possible to admire flowers and take pictures of them.  Not in Geneva.

In Geneva  almost ALL public gardens have a FENCE  around them!!!  It is IMPOSSIBLE  to take a good picture of a  garden and its flowers with a FENCE  between the camera and the subject!!!

Why they  have the fences?   Because if they don’t will people pick up the flowers?   Because people’s dogs  will pee on the flowers?  I don’t know…

Looks like people are not polite in Geneva and they will destroy the flowers if there’s no fences there?

Again,  it is like I would expect a garden  to be in a 3rd world country. NEVER in Switzerland. 

geneva one day-1 Beautiful St Pierre Cathedral

Continuing  our tour around the Old Town of Geneva  we  stopped by Place du Bourg de Four. We have been to this restaurant a couple of years ago, where we had a delicious meal.  At the side of the restaurant there’s a small store selling delicious pastries! Unfortunately the store was closed.  Usually I would say “next time” but I must confess that a return trip to Geneva is not in our plans.

geneva one day-2 geneva one day-3

After our  tour through “Old Town” we took the tram  back to Eaux-Vives  train station.

One more thing that is bad about  Eaux-Vives  train station:The tram  does NOT stop there!

It’s necessary to have  some French  skills in order  to understand  that  SNCF  is “near”   the station.   When  you get off the tram there is NO information (even  in French)   about HOW TO GET  to Eaux-Vives Train Station.    We had to ask more than once, in our poor  French, how to get to Eaux-Vives.   The bus to Annecy departs near the station.

Open letter to Geneva’s Mayor:

Please do something to IMPROVE  your city.    Geneva is located in Switzerland!!!

ALL  public toilets  were a complete MESS.    Near St Peter Church,  a place with tourists  coming from all over the world, the public  toilets  were worse  than  in  ALL  “poor cities”  I have been before.

 I should  have taken pictures of what I saw there, but the scenes were so disgusting  that I did not have the stamina for that.   In one of the toilets I was entering, the girls who were leaving  (they looked like Swedish or Norwegian)  told me:  “Be aware…. it is very dirty inside” .  In fact it was.

A mess like that in Switzerland??????   Give me a break!

THANKS  LORD  we took  the bus and left  dirty Geneva  and returned to Annecy.   

Unless in the future we decide to go again to Zermatt or Courchevel and NEED  an overnight stay in Geneva we will go there… otherwise Geneva  will not see us for the next FIFTY  YEARS. Merci.

About CeciliArchitect

World Traveler ~ Photographer ~ Social Media Specialist ~ Tourism Vancouver Certified Specialist ~ Independent Tour Manager and Events Coordinator ~ Blogger ~ Architect & Interior Designer (in my previous life)
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