Are you moving to Geneva or just planning to move within the area and want to know more about Geneva’s neighborhoods? This is another installment in our series profiling each of Geneva’s neighborhoods. We’ve polled our members who live in the various Geneva neighborhoods and asked them all about their neighborhood.
Name: Old Town (Vieille Ville)
Neighborhood Website: http://www.ville-geneve.ch/
Location: Old Town is located in the heart of Geneva, in the area surrounding Cathedrale Saint-Pierre. Many of its buildings date back to the 15th and 16th centuries and most of its streets are paved with cobblestones. On foot, I can be on the shore of Lake Geneva in 10 minutes, at Gare Cornavin in 15-20 minutes, in Carouge in 15-20 minutes, Champel in 5 minutes, or Eaux-Vives in 15 minutes.
Favorite Thing about Old Town: Being in the center of the city! It takes me only a short amount of time to get anywhere by walking or public transportation. Plus there are frequently different parades, concerts, and other events. I rarely go a month without watching a cortege or marching band go by outside my windows.
Least Favorite Thing about Old Town: I would say the lack of a large grocery store is what I like least about living in Old Town. There is a small Pam grocery store for essentials, but to do any substantial shopping, I must walk to one of the Coop or Migros stores in Plainpalais or Eaux-Vives.
Why Did You Choose Old Town? We liked Old Town because of its charm, proximity to the center of town and my husband’s workplace, and variety of cultural attractions like museums and galleries. There are several restaurants steps away from my front door, and there’s always an interesting mix of people in the town square next to the La Clemence café. Plus, Old Town has winding, one-way, pedestrian-friendly streets, and I enjoy being able to walk my dog without too much concern for traffic.
How Easy is Trash and Recycling to Deal With? neutral
Additional Notes about Trash and Recycling: Trash is very easy to manage; we have a trash room in our building and the garbage is collected twice each week. Recycling is a bit more complicated and varies by building. We live in a smaller building that lacks communal recycling bins, so I must carry glass and tin cans 5-10 minutes away, PET bottles to the little Pam grocery store on rue Chausse-Coq, and plastic milk bottles, light bulbs, and batteries to Coop, Migros, or Manor (10-15 minutes away by foot).
How Convenient is Public Transit? Very convenient
Do You Need a Car in Old Town: Not at all
Other Notes about Transportation: Public transportation is very convenient; from my building near Place du Bourg-de-Four, it’s only a five-minute walk to the Rive, Plainpalais, or Bel-Air TPG hubs. Plus, the neighborhood has its own little bus (#36) that circulates every 15-20 minutes. I would say it is difficult to have a car in Old Town; parking is scarce, and public garages like Saint-Antoine can be expensive. My husband has a five-minute walk to work and we have been car-free ever since we moved here. For weekend trips and times when we need a car, we use Mobility car-sharing service. Mobility cars are available at the Saint-Antoine and Plainpalais parking garages.
What Kind of People is Old Town Best Suited For? Old Town is best suited to anyone except those with limited mobility; the streets can be uneven and many buildings do not have elevators/lifts, parking, or access ramps. I see people of all ages in this neighborhood; in my building alone lives a retired couple, a single adult, a younger couple who are both working professionals, and myself and my husband. There are enough bars, restaurants, and cafés in the neighborhood to suit singles, couples, and families alike. I see young families often, though it can be difficult to manage strollers/prams on some of the streets.
What Amenities does Old Town Have? The amenities I most enjoy about Old Town include its Medieval charm, all of the little boutiques and shops, several different restaurants and bars, and assortment of art galleries and museums. There are no parks in Old Town, but Parc des Bastions is a two-minute walk away. For dog owners, there is a small grassy area near Place du Bourg-de-Four, plus dog-friendly areas in Parc des Bastions and in the park across from the Musée d’Art et Histoire. There are playgrounds near Hotel de Ville and in Parc des Bastions. There is a primary school on Promenade de Saint-Antoine, plus Calvin College is also located in Old Town.
What is the Nearest Hospital or Urgent Care Facility? The HUG complex is 5 minutes away by car/bus, 10 minutes by foot.
Other Information about Old Town: We have fallen in love with Old Town in the two years we’ve been living here. That said, the apartments/flats in the neighborhood are in high demand although the quality of housing varies. Our apartment lacks some amenities (e.g., a dishwasher) and our building isn’t state-of-the-art, so I’d say to anyone looking to move into Old Town, be prepared to look for awhile if you have specific needs or requirements in a living space. Beyond that, Old Town is a great place to live in – and also a great area of town to visit!