Coffee with a local in Geneva

Friday, 24 February 2012 4:34 PM heads to the second most populous city in Switzerland, to enjoy some very glamorous drinks with Hannah Southall, and discover all the best local knoweldge...  

So, you’ve brought me to your favourite cafe/bar – tell me about it.
This is La Clemence, and we’re right in the middle of Place Bourg de Four in Geneva’s Old Town. During the summer it’s the perfect place to people watch in the sunshine.

Mmm... this is good, what are we drinking?
“Une Piscine de Rosé avec Pamplemousse”, which translates as a pool of Rosé and grapefruit. The huge glamourous glass with ice makes it the drink of choice for Geneva’s beautifully turned out clientele. During the colder months I’d have ‘un renversé’ which is how the locals refer to a white coffee. The ‘Vin Chaud’ is good too.

What are your favourite local dishes?
French-Swiss food such as Fondue, Potato Rosti, and Milk Chocolate can get a little heavy , so when I need something lighter I love to have Quiche Aux Epinards (spinach tart). Delicious, light, buttery pastry.

And where would you suggest I go to find these?
The best has to be those made fresh and locally at Chenevière Yolande Tea-Room-Boulangerie, Rue L’Atheneé. It’s a little out of town, but it’s the real deal: teaming with locals who epitomize the faded grandeur of Geneva in their fur coats. At the weekend most of the green leather booths are full all day.

The sky is blue and the sun is shining, what’s the best thing to do on a day like today?
Hire a free bike and cycle along the lake from the Jet D’eau (Geneva’s iconic fountain) to the Jardin Botanique. If it’s warm enough, go for a swim!

And if it rains?
Head to the Patek Philippe Watch Museum and prepare to be dazzled by diamonds.

If there’s one thing I should do while I’m here, what is it?
Try a chocolate or five from one of the local chocolatiers dotted about the city. The champagne truffles from Teuscher are divine!

Give us a local tip that other tourists wouldn’t usually know...
Eating out in Geneva can be pricey, but at lunch times you can join the locals for a spectacular and reasonably priced meal on the top floor of department store ‘Manor’. It even has an outdoor roof section with views of the lake.

Follow us @IdealBreaks

See Genevea's stunning Jet d'Eau

A 48-hour guide to Geneva

Geneva makes for an amazing short break destination, not least of all because its compact nature means it's easy to see a range of wonderful landmarks within the space of a few days. To really maximise your time in the city though, it's worth finding a company that offers car hire in Geneva.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Coffee with a local in Copenhagen

This week is in the hip Danish capital of Copenhagen to chat with local Astrid Hjort Møller over a Copenhagen cocktail and a plate of smushi.

Helsinki, Finland

Coffee with a local in Helsinki

It's a new year and we're back with another in our series of 'Coffee with a local'. This week we're in the Finnish capital of Helsinki with local Anna Savolainen, who chats to us about some of her favourite things in the city, from walking across the frozen Baltic, to eating fresh salmon soup.


Coffee with a local in Amsterdam

This week is in Amsterdam drinking strong black coffee with local Machteld Ligtvoet, who gives us tips on some of his favourite local haunts – including where you can go to find one of the best views of the city.

Florence, Italy

Coffee with a local in Florence

This week we’re in the romantic Italian city of Florence to talk Italian espressos and aperitivos with local, Roberta Romoli.

Coffee with a local in Lisbon

Coffee with a local in Lisbon travels to the Portuguese capital of Lisbon to find to talk secret custard tart recipes and the origins of tempura with local, Vítor Carriço.

Coffee with a local in Porto , Portugal

Coffee with a local in Porto heads to the northern Portuguese city of Porto to discuss UNESCO World Heritage buildings and the history of the city's most famous dish, with local Helena Gonçalves.

Geneva is a top choice for a luxury Christmas break

Swiss luxury on a Christmas break in Geneva

Before the family festivities kick off, treat your partner to a luxury Alpine break to help you unwind in the crisp mountain air. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Geneva is offering a romantic two-night retreat this winter including afternoon tea and a champagne reception.

Coffee with a local in Amsterdam


This week is in Amsterdam drinking strong black coffee with local Machteld Ligtvoet, who gives us tips on some of his favourite local haunts – including where you can go to find one of the best views of the city.

Top five alternative Christmas markets

Alternative Christmas markets

Forget the likes of Germany and Eastern European favourites, Budapest, Krakow and Prague this year and why not head to some alternative Christmas market destinations for something a little different this festive season?