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Christmas in Geneva?

vancouver
Level Contributor
57 posts
Christmas in Geneva?

Is it a good idea to visit Geneva during Christmas? I have visited this city only in the summer and and I know it will be pretty different in winter times.

Besides Dec 24, 25, 26, are stores (and train) usually closed on other dates?

Does it rain/snow a lot in the winter?

Suggestions on things I can do it the area during Christmas?

Many thanks.

Mannheim, Germany
Destination Expert
for Zurich, Mannheim
Level Contributor
14,849 posts
5 reviews
1. Re: Christmas in Geneva?

>Is it a good idea to visit Geneva during Christmas? I have visited this city only in the summer and and I know it will be pretty different in winter times.

Not so much - it is a city after all, not a tourist-dependent resort...

>Besides Dec 24, 25, 26, are stores (and train) usually closed on other dates?

Not sure about the 26th - it is different in different cantons. at 24th the stores open in the morning but close in the afternoon. Otherwise, Dec 31 is like a saturday, and on the 1st everything is closed.

>Does it rain/snow a lot in the winter?

It doesn't snow often - sometimes but it rarely remains. A lot of rain is usual though.

CAB
Geneva
Level Contributor
291 posts
13 reviews
2. Re: Christmas in Geneva?

Geneva is indeed fairly quiet during the Xmas period since traditionaly most of the locals are either: - skiing, - sunbathing, - quietly celebrating Xmas at home.

However, as you know from having visited the city in the summer, Geneva is a pleasant city to stroll and there are a few events during that period that could make your trip worth while.

Like in many European cities, Geneva has its Christmas Market. While it will not compare with any of the markets in the German speaking world, it still gives an extra buzz to the pre-Christmas shopping period in the downtown shopping streets. From the end of November until Dec 24th, a large number of wooden huts appear on the Place de la Fusterie where one can discover local artisans presenting and selling their craft and products.

On the place du Rhône (right on the banks of the Rhône river), next to the Fusterie, a winter ice skating rink is open to all and operates during all the winter.

It is also a time of the year to enjoy the Old Town and discover the pleasant Xmas decorations.

Since 2004, Geneva now organises a big New Year's Eve event in the Old Town. I did not go last year because the weather wasn't to great, but 2 years ago it was really great fun. You may visit the following web site to get a little idea of the atmosphere of the event (it is not yet in English - will be - but you may have a look at the pictures of the last 2 events).

http://www.geneve31decembre.ch/index.html

It is also a time of the year to visit Carouge and use the 12 tram to get there. Carouge is a small charming historical (Sarde) suburb of Geneva with tons of art galleries and good restaurants.

And of course, the Xmas period is a time of the year to try our excellent local food specialties and our great local Geneva wines. Should you be interested, I would be happy to give you more details.

vancouver
Level Contributor
57 posts
3. Re: Christmas in Geneva?

Thanks a lot Altamira and CAB! Wow, that's very informative. I am still a bit indecisive actually. The last time I visited Genf a few years ago in the summer and it was so beautiful that I cried. Hopefully the rainy weather during winter won't ruin my impressions of the city.

Rockford, Illinois
Level Contributor
18 posts
24 reviews
4. Re: Christmas in Geneva?

Just a small PS: the 31st of December is a holiday in Geneva, we celebrate the day the French troops left the city in 1813.

vancouver
Level Contributor
57 posts
5. Re: Christmas in Geneva?

Thanks. I was totally unaware of it. This holiday is not applicable to other Cantons I suppose?

Rockford, Illinois
Level Contributor
18 posts
24 reviews
6. Re: Christmas in Geneva?

You are very right, this is typical for Geneva. Most people think we are celebrating the New Year. Anyway this year the 31st is a Sunday, I had not realised it.

Rockford, Illinois
Level Contributor
18 posts
24 reviews
7. Re: Christmas in Geneva?

And for the weather, it can either be sunny (but cold and windy), which is really invigorating, or rainy, a bit warmer grey and sad. You'll only know about 24 hours in advance. We usually get a little bit of snow once or twice a year, so that's not very likely, I think we had one white Christmas in 10 years

vancouver
Level Contributor
57 posts
8. Re: Christmas in Geneva?

Thanks again! I had a very good impression of the area last time when I visited in the summer. Hopefully the weather won't ruin my trip too much.

9. Re: Christmas in Geneva?

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