If you’re looking for an easy day trip from Geneva, the charming Medieval town of Yvoire, France is a short boat ride or drive away. The summer crowds have gone and leaves are beginning to turn, so before the first hints of winter arrive, don’t miss this charming lakeside village.
Yvoire is a member of the Most Beautiful Villages of France, and upon arrival, many reasons why the village made the list are immediately apparent. Along the car-free old town’s winding cobblestone streets, shops offer local and handcrafted goods. Colorful flower boxes line the windows of homes and art galleries alike, and the onion-shaped bell tower of the church of St. Pancras is a focal point near the waterfront. Restaurants serve fare such as fresh filets de perche; many offer panoramic views of the lake, while others are tucked into cosy corners of the old town’s streets.
Le Jardin des Cinq Sens
One of the central attractions in Yvoire is Le Jardin des Cinq Sens (the garden of five senses). Inspired by gardens of the Middle Ages, Le Jardin des Cinq Sens offers one the chance to experience the gardens through sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. Gardens for meditation and medicinal herbs can be explored, and then there is a central labyrinth of hedges and trellised apple trees that is divided into five sections, one per sense.
The theme of the garden is “Festina Lenthe”, or “make haste slowly”, and visitors are encouraged to relax and discover the garden’s nearly 1000 plants at one’s own pace. The garden is open from 10 a.m., April through October. Admission costs €11.80 for adults and €7 for children (4-16 years).
By car: Yvoire is a 22-kilometer drive from the center of Geneva. Click here for autoroute details.
By train/boat: Depending on how much time you have, you can take a boat all the way from Geneva to Yvoire (about two hours, each way), or to save time, take the regional train to Nyon and then connect by boat to Yvoire (about one hour, each way). Purchase boat tickets at the CGN offices (Quai du Mont-Blanc and Jardin Anglais) or a combination train-boat ticket at Gare Cornavin (select the Genève-Yvoire Via Nyon route).
For trips by boat, be sure to check the timetables in advance so that you don’t miss the last boat of the day! The Autumn timetable (08/9/2014-19/10/2014) is available here.
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