Geneva in Switzerland is a dazzling place to visit at Christmas. The city has a clean and fresh feeling enhanced by its wealthy populace and fresh mountain air. Particularly popular for car hire Geneva
customers who want to use it as a base for skiing. Whether you are heading into the French or the Swiss Alps, Geneva is close to some of the world’s premier skiing including Chamonix and various peak resorts along the Grand Massif.
Yet the city centre also revels in the Christmas spirit. Although this is an expensive part of the world there is nothing to pay to enjoy the International Tree and Lights Festival between November and January. This has been running for many years and sees the combined creativity of Swiss and international artists putting their heads together to come up with the most enchanting Xmas decorations. Like all good festivals there is lots of food and drink to keep you warm and satisfied with Swiss specialties like Fondue being particularly enjoyable in cold weather. There are also competitions and street parties which make this a truly memorable event.
But it is not the only festive event which Geneva puts on. The Fête de L'Escalade or L'Escalade is an old tradition which takes place in the city centre with a large procession. The word L’Escalade means the scaling of the city walls. It celebrates a failed attack on Geneva by the Duke of Savoy and involves the carrying of burning torches, meaning that L’Escalade has similarities with Guy Fawkes Night in England. Legend has it that a Geneva mother emptied a cauldron of boiling soup on the attackers below, and so hot soup is just one of the many delicacies that you can enjoy in the bracing Geneva night air. There is also a whole host of confectionary including nougat and the famous Swiss chocolate. At the centrepiece of the celebrations is a great chocolate cauldron filled with marzipan vegetables. Meanwhile all candies are wrapped in the Geneva colours of red and gold. The carnival atmosphere is completed by drum music and entertaining period costume.
For more information on L’Escalade, which takes place from December 10-12, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Geneva Tourist Office on +41 (0)22 909 7070. Car hire Geneva Airport
should be booked in advance if you want it as this is a very popular event with locals and tourists.
Geneva has now also welcomed the famous Gagosian art Gallery which has been introduced by a New York entrepreneur. Larry Gagosian is one of the world’s most successful contemporary art dealers. It will join other Gagosian galleries worldwide in places such as Los Angeles and Paris. The first exhibition involved the work of Giacometti while in Switzerland and there will be three or four shows per year. The gallery is at Place de Longemalle 19, 1204 Geneva and can be contacted on 022 319 36 19.