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Sun And Snow In Geneva

Neil Sowerby discovers the city that does all seasons

Published on September 16th 2011.

Sun And Snow In Geneva

THE Winter 2011/12 Jet2.com and Summer 2012 services to Geneva from Leeds Bradford are now on sale with flights from £31.99* (www.Jet2.com). From December to April 2012 there are up to five flights a week. From 27 June to 2 September the service is twice weekly. Here’s our definitive guide to getting the most out of the great Swiss city and its surrounding area.

Geneva is not only a gateway to the ski slopes, but is also a vivid city break destination in its own right, offering a chance to combine a white Christmas with a lively city and great nightlife.

Don’t miss the Geneva Christmas market, which runs from late November until 24 December. Stalls are built as miniature country cottages to form a traditional Christmas village in the centre of Geneva, on the Place de la Fusterie, offering visitors the chance to stock up for the festive season with locally made arts and crafts and colourful knick-knacks from around the world.

Around 10 December, Geneva adds another historic element to its Christmas traditions. L'Escalade is a festival that celebrates the city's victory over the Duke of Savoy's invading troops in 1602. A torchlight parade commemorates the event, with participants dressed in seventeenth-century garb.

Gva_Geneva_0211_03_RfGeneva offers so many other regular pleasures, too, not least the chance to gaze at its world-famous landmark, the Jet d’Eau fountain shooting 140m high out of Lake Geneva. It’s a great photo opportunity.

Rivalling it for iconic attention is The Flower Clock in the Jardin Anglais. 6,500 flowers form a piece of technological and floral art 15m in circumference, celebrating the Swiss watch industry.

The city itself is dominated by an architectural wonder, the hilltop twelfth century Cathédrale St Pierre. Inside and out, it flaunts its Romanesque-Gothic style.

To discover more about the background to the city – and indeed the whole of western culture – visit the Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, Switzerland’s largest museum, which contains European art and artifacts dating back to pre-historic times.

For the past 100 years, Geneva has been seen as a world city hosting around 200 international organisations including World Trade, FIFA, and the Red Cross (museum open to visitors) and, of course, the European HQ of the UN, which offers tours.

If you find so many must-sees daunting, never fear. Geneva is a delightful city just to wander in with a rich vein of fine cafes, bars and restaurants to refuel in along the way. From a cheese fondue in a bar to a Michelin three-star blow-out, there’s something for every palate.

The focus of all this is the Old Town, on the Left Bank of the River Rhone, with its picturesque, cobbled streets and characterful houses. It’s a hive of traditional shopping. A perfect place to pick up some top quality chocolates, or even the traditional cuckoo clock. Here too is the house where the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born.

For fresh air head to the Botanical Garden, which contains 16,000 plant species, or take a walk along Lake Geneva (also called Lac Leman). Don’t aim to get round it in one go – it stretches 72km!

Besides its sublime beauty, the Lake offers fabulous watersports opportunities – sailing, canoeing, rowing and water-skiing. Or why not visit one of the many vineyards overlooking the Lake and the Rhone which flows out of it?

You may merely be passing through the city en route to ski resorts either side of the Swiss/French border, in which case check out Jet2.com’s dedicated site www.jet2.com/ski. This includes information on drive times from Geneva Airport to popular ski and snowboarding resorts, up-to-date snowcams from November, ideas for weekend ski or snowboarding breaks and information on resorts close to Geneva such as Megeve and Meribel. Within easy reach are Gstaad, Crans-Montana, Champéry, Chamonix, Val d'Isere and many more world-famous resorts.

Jet2.com’s Winter 2011/12 service from Leeds Bradford Airport starts on 17 December 2011. The Summer 2012 service runs from 27 June to 2 September. Book flights from just £31.99* (www.Jet2.com) and enjoy the great advantages Jet2.com offers as standard, including friendly flight times, allocated seats, 22kg baggage allowance and the chance to earn points towards future flights. *One way including taxes.

*One way including taxes

Click here to find out more information about Jet2.com’s flight prices

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