AUTHORED BY JAYA16 and Katherine07

We’re on a roll with the ‘staycation’ ideas! If you find yourself staying in/around Geneva this summer, don’t forget to take advantage of the beautiful tourist sights on our doorstep.

It’s sometimes easy to neglect these little gems, or to think, ‘Been there, done that!” if you’ve visited previously, even if the visit took place years ago. For example, have you checked out Yvoire recently? If not, read on to discover (or rediscover) this charming French village that is just 22 km from Geneva’s city center.

A drive of less than 40 minutes from Geneva brings you to the enchanting little town of Yvoire, France, where you are transported to another world altogether. Yvoire’s fortified medieval walls surround the village’s historical center, and indeed the entire old city retains the look of its 14th century roots (take in the impressive gates as you enter.) Glittering in the sunshine, the St. Pancras church (dating from 1250), features an unusual onion-shaped dome, wrapped in stainless steel in 1989.

If you enter from the car park or main road, and walk downhill, you will suddenly see the lake. Take in the breathtaking panoramas, and admire the crystal clear water in Yvoire’s harbour. Speaking of the lake, and if you have some extra time, you can take a CGN boat ride to and from Geneva (two hours each way) or Nyon (about an hour each way.)

The cobbled pathways and buildings winding around the town are rustic, but don’t be fooled: Yvoire definitely has a funky and artisanal streak, highlighted with local shops, crafts, art, and delicious fare (crêpes, gelato, and fine dining, as well.) The homes are often bright and colorful, with gorgeous flowers tumbling from planters and terraces. Be ready to snap some beautiful photos during your visit.

Euros burning a hole in your pocket? Well, don’t forget to shop ’til you drop in Yvoire! Various artisans sell their handmade wares (soap, wooden toys, jewellery, glassware, clothing and much more).

An imposing castle overlooks the lake, but unfortunately is closed to visitors. Neverless, the castle’s former kitchen gardens have been transformed into the charming Garden of the Five Senses (Jardins des Cinq Sens.) Inspired by the layout of medieval gardens, there is a magical feeling amidst the flowers and herbs. Remember to employ all five of your senses to absorb the beauty, scents, tastes, and more. And for our readers with green thumbs, the Jardin’s gift shop is packed with lovely gardening supplies and local products (honey, perfumes, and more.)

Restaurants may be full, so plan ahead by making a reservation or consider bringing a picnic to enjoy lakeside.

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/.