Shoppers revel in Lake Léman

THE city of Geneva, with the stunning Lake Léman (Lake Geneva) at the heart of the city and surround by the Swiss and French Alps, is an incredible destination for shopping, which has maintained its unique boutique shops while still catering to the high street and  luxury markets.

Far removed from the large malls we see in the Middle East, the largest department store in Geneva (and in Switzerland), is Manor which, from the outside, looks like a collection of enticing boutiques. Ideal for those who don’t have the luxury of time to explore the complete shopping district, Manor is home to various retail offerings including electronics, cosmetics, jewellery, designer clothes, home ware, sports accessories and more.

For luxury lovers, head to Rue du Rhône for a high-end designer shopping experience which will see you amongst brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Further down, the pedestrianised Rue du Marché offers a slightly less expensive option, but even if you’re not intending to buy anything, people watching and window shopping are both a pleasurable way to enjoy Geneva. Even if you’ve not budgeted for the city’s prices, you may want to treat yourself to some Swiss chocolate and there are plenty of shops to choose from. We visited the Chocolats Rohr, a 72 year old business with three shops in Geneva, but there are a variety of others and one of the pleasures as a visitor is exploring and sampling each one.  There are over 30 master chocolatiers but one of the oldest chocolatiers is Favarger which was established in 1826. You can find it at 19, Quai des Bergues and, as well as the chocolate, enjoy its interior style which showcases the link between the history of the brand and present day.

A visit to Geneva wouldn’t be complete without exploring the various watches and clocks. Renowned for their superior quality and accuracy, you can find all the world-renowned brand names including Bucherer, Chopard, Audemars Piguet, Bulgari, Cartier, Patek Philippe, Piaget and more. The choice is incredible and while expensive, Switzerland’s reputation for quality and value makes any purchase worthwhile.

These main shopping areas will appeal to every city slicker but the old town will delight any visitor in a completely different way. A picturesque  maze of steep narrow streets, explore the art galleries, antique shops and small boutiques before heading to rest on the famous bench, claimed to be the world’s longest at over 120 metres, overlooking the city and Jura mountains.

On certain days, the outdoor markets offer a different perspective from the high-end luxury shopping of Geneva. Flower markets, fruit and vegetable stalls as well as general weekly markets can all be found and are a particularly pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The Plainpalais Flea Market offers everything from general bric-a-brac to clothing and will entice those who love hunting for a good bargain. Check online for the latest updates on days and timings.