If you want to fall in love with Geneva, you just have to delve into its rich history and get to know the bustling districts. In Basel, the slogan “where tradition meets modernity” is not only an empty advertising phrase. Let’s set off on a fascinating journey to both of these Swiss cities.
What to see in Geneva:
Museum of the luxury watch brand founded by the Pole Antoni Patek: Museum Patek Philippe; St. Pierre Cathedral, where Calvin himself preached; a prominent trademark of Geneva: the Jet d'Eau fountain; the Red Cross and Red Crescent museum; the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN; the UN Palace.
What to see in Basel:
Rathaus – the red sandstone town hall at Marktplatz; Münster - the impressive cathedral where Erasmus of Rotterdam is buried; the city gates - Spalentor, St. Alban and St. Johannes; Augusta Raurica - the best preserved ruins of a Roman city located north of the Alps.
What to eat in Geneva:
a typical Swiss cheese fondue, i.e. cheese melted in a pot, in which pieces of bread are dipped. A delicious variation of this dish is the Burgundian fondue with hot red wine in which thin slices of beef are cooked. The local, light, white Chasselas wine perfectly brings out the flavour of cheese dishes. On the other hand, the heavier bourguignon fondue tastes best when served with Gamay wine with a beautiful cherry colour produced in Geneva.
What to eat in Basel:
rösti - potato pancake with bacon, egg and cheese – a typical Swiss peasant dish from Bern canton; raclette – melted cheese, which is eaten with mini jacket potatoes and marinated vegetables. The well-balanced dishes are strongly accented by strong Swiss alcohol, such as the herbal Appenzeller Alpenbitter or the apricot Abricotine.
A stroll in Geneva:
following the promenade along the shores of Lake Geneva from the Jet d'Eau fountain, through the English Park with a flower clock, to the small, artificial island of Rhone-Ile Ile Rousseau with the monument of the famous thinker. From the island you go to the other side of the bridge and head towards Les-Bains-des-Pâquis.
A stroll in Basel:
along boulevard by the Rhine. During the walk, you can sit down on the wide stairs going down to the river, where the citizens of Basel sunbath and rest.
Events in Geneva:
Open Wineries day (end of May), Festival of Geneva – L’Escalade (December).
Events in Basel:
The Baselworld Trade Show of international Watches and Jewellery; the largest Protestant Carnival of Fasnacht; the Art Basel – Modern Art Fair.
RIVER – THE BREATH OF THE CITY
The Rhine sets the tone for Basel. It opens the city, allows you to take a break from the high walls, and together with tremendous, stone bridges constitutes the background of countless photographs taken by tourists. But above all, the Rhine is an enormous, flowing bathing beach, where residents put their clothes and shoes in a duffel bag, which they wrap up to make a buoy helping them stay afloat. Having done that, they jump into the water right behind the railway bridge and let the current take them to the last bridge in the city centre. Such behaviour is allowed, and the official entry and exit points from the water are well marked. Daredevils who want to try this traditional Basel sport are asked not to jump from bridges and swim in the middle of the river. After the bath, the citizens of Basel go to Mama India, who is a culinary idol and a living institution in this city of the Basilisk.
CITY OF MUSEUMS
Basel boasts the largest number of museums per square kilometre in Europe. Fans of classic art will be delighted with the works of Picasso, Monet, van Gogh or Warhol gathered at the Beyeler Foundation. On the other hand, those who look for avant-garde must head to the Museum Tinguely, which houses cyberpunk art pieces created by one of the greatest Swiss artists of the 20th century – Jean Tinguely. It is also worth visiting the surroundings of the Historical Museum located on the Theaterstrasse, with a fountain designed by this artist.
ARTISTICALLY AND WITH GUSTO
After enjoying the art pieces to the fullest, it is time for something more specific. Two steps from the train station you can find Markthalle – a market hall with stalls and stands serving dishes from all over the world. In the midst of this colourful mess there are tables. It is the perfect place for a larger group meeting, as everyone will find there something for themselves. A more alternative place can be found at Holzpark Klybeck, which is known for concerts, crazy artistic ventures and climatic pubs. Recommended for all free spirits, especially when the weather is beautiful.
MAGIC AT SUNRISE
If you happen to be in Geneva during summer, start the day with a concert at sunrise in Les Bains des Pâquis, located on the pier on Lake Geneva. It is a gem of alternative culture hidden in a city known for finery, banks and diplomacy. It combines a bar, spa, gallery, as well as centre of art, sport and relaxation. Then have breakfast in a restaurant on the pier. On the other side of the lake, you can see the symbol of Geneva – Jet d’Eau – a fountain that ejects a stream of water to a height of 140 meters at a speed of 200 km/h.
BY WATER TRAM TO THE OLD TOWN
The lovers of walks can go on foot from Les Bains des Pâquis to the Old Town, passing the Pont du Mont Blanc Bridge or the artificial island Ile Rousseau. However, the more interesting option is to get on a water tram, the so-called mouette, which runs every 10 minutes throughout the day, allowing you to cross over to the other side of the lake. You can buy a 60 minute ticket for CHF 3.50 or a one-way ticket for CHF 2 at the ticket machine located on the river bank. If you stay at a hotel, during check-in you can receive a Geneva Transport Card, which entitles you to free travel on public transport.
CITY OF CALVIN
When in the Old Town, definitely visit protestant St. Pierre Cathedral, which centuries ago was one of the main centres of the Reformation. From the cathedral tower, you can admire the beautiful panorama of the city, the dark blue Lake Geneva surrounded by majestic mountains, and the Jet d’Eau fountain. Attention! The stairs to the tower are steep and narrow, but for such a view it is worth taking a risk!
HEART OF THE WORLD
Geneva is the seat of so many international organizations that this article is too short to cover all of them all. The mass of office workers doing business there undoubtedly contribute to the unusual demographics of the city, with more than 60% of its inhabitants having foreign roots. One of the most important international organizations is the UN. If you want to visit the famous Palace of Nations with the avenue full of flags, do not forget to bring your passport – the UN area is treated as a separate state. In turn, science enthusiasts must visit CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). It is worth booking a guided tour in advance. Currently, the Large Hadron Collider is switched off – it resumes work in 2021, which means that the underground areas that are almost always closed off to visitors are now open to the public.
A MIRACLE OF NATURE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY
Finally, I would like to mention a unique place, which is very rarely mentioned in tourist guides – the confluence of Arve and Rhone rivers. Arve is milky brown, whereas Rhône – emerald. The rivers have a different temperature and density, which is why their waters never fully mix – a phenomenon which creates a spectacular mosaic best observed from a nearby bridge.
Bazylea jest położona na trójstyku granic Szwajcarii, Francji i Niemiec. Z centrum miasta to zaledwie kilka minut drogi tramwajem nr 8 w kierunku Weil am Rhein.
W Bazylei mówi się po niemiecku, w dialekcie alemańskim.
W Genewei mówi się po francusku. W części Szwajcarii od równie dawna jak we Francji, a język ten nie został narzucony przez Francję w wyniku wydarzeń historycznych, w przeciwieństwie do wielu innych państw frankofońskich.
Także nazywana Jet de Genève to najwyższa fontanna w Europie, symbol Genewy. Wyrzuca wodę w górę na wysokość 140 metrów, z prędkością 200 km/h. Fontanna jest czynna cały rok.