Kris à Genève

A Canadian living in Switzerland


with 3 comments

Classes resumed yesterday for my second semester. With that theme, here is a brief photo essay of the regular routes from my apartment (A) to the bibliotèque (B), then to the building where I have courses (C) and back home.

View from our balcony. We live in the corner unit on the first floor at the intersection of Rue du 31 Décembre (shady) and Rue de Montchoisy (sunny) in the Eaux-Vives (“lively water”) quarter. I begin my trip by walking along Montchoisy to the top left of this photo (roughly northeast).

At the head of Rue de Montchoisy I traverse Parc de la Grange: a big, open park that slopes down to the lake. It is my favourite park in the city. When it snows, the park becomes a sled run for families.

This statue sits in a rose garden in the northeast corner of Parc de la Grange.

Apart from a brief section along the walkway on the right of this photo, my route avoids the steady stream of traffic that flows along this main road (Quai Gustave Ador) into Geneva in the morning and out again in the evening.

I follow a very indirect route from my apartment on the southeast side of the lake to the institute’s buildings on the northwest side. This is chiefly to include in my route the mouettes: small ferries that cross the lake as part of the transit system. The photo shows two mouettes arriving at the Port Noir-Genève Plage marina on Lac Léman (Lake Geneva).

The mouette crossing (line M4) lasts only 10 minutes or so. It is peaceful and uncrowded, allowing me to read or shoot photos.

The M4 line arrives at Perle du Lac, named for a fancy lakeside restaurant near the pier. Both the pier and the restaurant sit in a string of parks on the west side of the lake, near the many international organisations with headquarters in Geneva. The right side of the photo shows Geneva’s “local” mountain (it is actually in France), the Salève.

Geneva sits in the Rhône River valley, with the Jura mountains to the north and west and the Alps to the south and east. This photo shows sunset alpenglow on the snowy Alpine peaks of Mont Blanc, the Grandes Jorasses and several other mountains that sit a two-hour drive to the east, above Chamonix in France.

I leave the tranquility of lakes and parks for the last 1km or so up the busy Avenue de France, which crosses the main set of train tracks. The left of the photo shows the centre of Geneva with the Salève in the background. Just outside the right side of the photo, our bibliotèque is an ugly building (no photo) on an ugly-sounding road (Voie Creuse: “digging road” directly translated).

From the bibliotèque to class, I walk down Rue Butini. The name of the quarter is Châteaubriand, of which a graffiti artist made an amusing homonym on this oddly abandoned-looking house: château bruyant means “noisy castle.”

These two photos show the building where I had all of my classes in first semester. It sits on Rue Rotschild. The entrance shows the institute’s branding and the attached cafeteria. The Graduate Institute, or Institut de Hautes Études Internationales et du Développement (IHEID) – phew – in French, is the two-year old child of the marriage of two institutes: the old HEI (international affairs) and IUED (development). This rather boring building belonged to the development side. Since I follow the development stream, I had all of my classes here. I hope to have a course this semester at the old HEI’s building, a sexy pink villa in a lakeside park.

If I am only travelling between apartment and class, I generally cycle, starting the ride home on the wide lakeside walkways of Quai Wilson.  The yellow sign in the photo is Les Bain des Pâquis, a lakeside institution. It offers downtown swimming in the summer, thermal baths and saunas in the fall and winter, and a reasonably priced restaurant with excellent food. The bike is a vintage Swiss Army cruiser my friend Donn lent me (I have been slow to return it). It weighs a ton, has an uncomfortable seat and only one gear, but is a classic.

From Quai Wilson I cross the Rhône River on the main Pont du Mont Blanc. It is a floating bridge and generally busy with car traffic. My route continues through the Jardin Anglais – the treed area on the left of the photo. The old city sits up the hill on the right of the photo.

I arrive at the only light-controlled intersection on my cycling route at the intersection of Quai Gustave Ador and Rue du 31 Décembre. Our apartment is a few hundred metres up to the right from this photo.


3 Responses

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  1. Nice photos! I want to go and check out that statue in the Parc de la Grange now.


    February 23, 2010 at 16:17

  2. Looks cool. let’s meet for a cafe soon.


    February 23, 2010 at 16:20

  3. Hey Kris, Thanks for the tour of your commute to work…I’m in Europe again at the moment, Barcelona, London and Berlin but not enough time to fit in Switzerland on this trip. See you this summer if not before! Joanie

    Joan Mara

    February 27, 2010 at 21:36

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