The heart of the city: first accommodation in Geneva

The move to Geneva continues quietly in the background, inexorably marching on. This is the plan: we spend six weeks or so in serviced accommodation and use that as a base to explore the region in more detail and find a place to live, hopefully for the remainder of our stay. We are having our possessions shipped via courier, so we’ll only have with us what we can squeeze into our car. That in itself might require a blog post: it feels like one of those “If the house was burning down which book / instrument / gadget would you take?” kinds of questions, which clearly requires some serious thought!

Anyway, we’re not sure where we are going to live right now, either France or Switzerland: both have several implications which we haven’t fully explored yet. But I always thought it a good idea to begin right in the heart of Geneva, the city that will be a focal point for the near future.

There are two rivers – The Rhone and The Arve – nearby, and Lake Geneva is around 15 minutes away too, so there’s lots of riverside walks and such. This location is close to the old part of town, too – you know the sort of thing, cobbled streets, little bistros, quiet parks lined with trees and so on. Lovely.

Geneva's old town and parks

Geneva's old town and parks

It’s vital, I think, that we start well even though it might be a bit more expensive. I think first impressions last, and although we’ve visited the city before, it’s not quite like living there. Geneva has a relatively small town feel for a city that known for its international organisations and banking. There’s quite a bit of traffic at peak times, especially over the main bridge Le Pont du Mont-Blanc which links the Rive Gauche to the Rive Droite. Speaking of which, here’s the view across the Le Pont du Mont-Blanc – as you would expect, it’s dominated by one of the the mountain ranges which surround the city.

The view along Le Pont du Mont Blanc, with the range at the end

The view along Le Pont du Mont-Blanc, with the range visible

It feels like we’ve taken a big step: once you’ve got an address you can start believing you’re actually moving on: as well as the practical stuff, like getting mail (re)delivered and beginning to fill in the mountain of forms that require a Swiss address. What’s more, I’ve only one month or so of work left from today. Combined with the spring feeling in air, it feels like there’s a big change coming…

(I’ve yet to really take photos of Geneva in earnest, so I’ve snaffled these from Flickr: a link will take you to the original and the alt text has acknowledgements).

2 thoughts on “The heart of the city: first accommodation in Geneva

  1. Speaking as an ex-pat of 10 years’ standing may I wish you all the best in your new venture, but sound a well-meant note of caution?

    Living in another country means always being an outsider. In little ways every day, you will be reminded that you don’t quite belong.

    Then, when you come home for a visit, you will find that you don’t quite fit in there any more, either. You will change and your homeland will change while you are away.

    You will be frustrated at the narrowness of vision of those who have only ever lived in one country and accept the status quo as the way things are done, when you know it needn’t be that way.

    You will find it odd to see things that you consider ‘everyday’ being regarded as out of the ordinary.

    If you can make you peace with these things, you should be fine, but living abroad is not easy. Make sure you and your family spend time talking about how you feel and the effect it has on you, because emigration has caused the demise of altogether too many strong relationships.

    • Hi Karyn

      Thanks for your thoughtful post and friendly reminder that it’s not all a walk in the park. I think you’re right about lots of this – we’re mindful of the cloud as well as the silver lining. We’re ready to leave and are looking forward to the challenge.

      See you


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