Geneva: take advantage of your trip to visit charming French villages!
The city of Geneva is located exactly on the border between Switzerland and France. Therefore, access to some cities of the neighboring country is quite easy.
There are numerous French villages very close to Geneva, all very charming, but some stand out for some particular feature and attract the attention of visitors. Chamonix, for example, in addition to the spectacular view of Mont-Blanc, is also well known for offering various sporting activities, whether winter or summer.
Another tourist attraction worth visiting is the Mont-Salève, just a few minutes away from the French Customs.
Do you know a place that you can visit any time of the year and always think it’s beautiful? Yes, this is the small village of Chamonix Mont-Blanc or simply Chamonix, as it is best known.
Located in the French Alps, Chamonix is the world capital of outdoor activities (mountaineering, hiking, parachuting, etc.) and is located just 88km from Geneva. A trip that is worth at any time, every season makes it a different place, full of charm, and always with the dazzling view of the giant Mont Blanc Massif (Mont Blanc Massif).
The center of town is full of shops and restaurants, as well as a small river that leaves the place even more beautiful. Outside the center, Chamonix has two major attractions: the L’Aiguille du Midi and the Mer de Glace.
The visit to Aiguille du Midi is done by means of a cable car that, in 20 minutes, rises more than 2700m and offers an incredible panoramic view of the region.
Another spot worth visiting is the largest french glacer, the Mer de Glace (1913m). The trip is made by train and also lasts 20 minutes.
How to go to Chamonix Mont-Blanc from Geneva?
- By car: Follow Autoroute Blanche (A40) for at about 80Km then you’ll see the signs to Chamonix;
- By public transportation: You can take the bus at Gare Routiere. The trip lasts 1h30. The train definitely is not a good option because the trip is very long.
- Another way to go to Chamonix is to hire transport services departing from Geneva Airport.
Annecy is a small French town located only 47km from Geneva. The city is famous for the landscape and water quality of the lake which, thanks to protection efforts, is considered the purest of Europe.
The clear and pure waters of Lake Annecy flow towards the canals of flowers that run through the historic city center. That is why Annecy is called the “Venice of the Alps“.
The city offers various cultural activities (museums, castles, exhibitions), as well as a boat trip on the lake. On Sundays in the morning there is a market of fruits, vegetables and artisan crafts that is very interesting.
The tents are scattered in the historic center and you can try and buy several delicious delicacies.
How to go to Annecy from Geneva?
- By car: Follow A1 and take the exit Annecy Nord;
- By public transportation: You can take the bus at Gare Routiere. The trip is a slow 1.5 hours.
Yvoire is a fortified medieval French village, very small but full of history. Founded in 1300, the village is located in the part of Lake Léman that is narrower and is divided into a “small” and “large” lake. It was a very important military strategic point because it was on the route between Italy and France.
Invaded by the Bernese, who destroyed the Castle, the village lost its importance and spent years in complete abandonment.
After many years Yvoire has become a tourist destination with crowds appreciating the medieval buildings covered with flowers.
Those arriving by car soon see a sign informing that inside the city walls is a pedestrian only walkways – no vehicles.
In addition to the beautiful view of the lake with its crystal clear waters, several restaurants and many, many flowers, the old fishing village preserves the imposing Castle of Yvoire and the curious Garden of Five Senses.
Access to the city can be done by car, by bus or by boat. The boat trip from Geneva is a good option. As there are other places of embarkation / disembarkation of passengers during the route, it is possible to take advantage to visit other villages of the region.
How to go to Yvoire from Geneva?
- By car: Follow the direction of Thonon-Evian until Douvaine. There, take D60 and follow the sign to “Les bords du lac”. In Messery, take D25 in direction of Yvoire.
- By public transportation: You can take the bus at Gare Routiere. The line is Thonon or Douvaine.
- You can also go to Yvoire by boat. It’s a beautiful trip. The boats depart from two different points (Mont-blanc and Eaux-vives). Click here for more information.
The Mont-Salève (or Salève Mountain) is so close to the border between the two countries that, it is normal to think that it is part of Switzerland. We could say that the Salève, even being in French territory, is considered a tourist attraction of Geneva, as, like the Jato D’Eau, it can be seen from various points of the city.
The Salève is divided into two areas: the lower area, the Petit-Salève (Small Salève) with a height of 898m and the Grand-Salève (Grande Salève), with a height of 1375m.
On a sunny day the panoramic view of the Salève is simply fantastic. It is possible to see the whole extension of the city of Geneva, the mountains of the Jura, much of Lake Léman, the Alps and even Mont-Blanc.
The mountain is widely used for sports. There are also a few restaurants in the area.
The Salève is also a privileged laboratory of observations in the areas of geology, botany and paleontology, being considered one of the most studied mountains in the world.
The easiest way to get to Salève is by using the cable car. But it is also possible to climb the mountain by car or, if you like adventure, walking , but only if your in good condition as the route is a bit challenging and takes 1.5 hours.
The cable car does not work in the months of November and December. From May through September, it works every day, with departures every 12 minutes. Starting mid October, the cable car operates only from Tuesday to Sunday.
If you decide to take the tour, do not forget to take the twenty-minute walk from the cable car station to the place called the observatory, from where you can have a slightly different panoramic view of the city.
How to go to Mont Salève from Geneva?
- By car: Follow D41A. The address is Route des 3 Lacs, Monnetier-Mornex, France. See in the map;
- By public transportation: Take the bus number 8 (direction Veyrer-Douane). Get off at the last stop of the bus, walk 50m, cross the border and follow the signs indicating the cable car (Téléférique du Salève).