When asked, I often describe the location of my TAPIF placement as halfway between Lyon and Geneva. These are, of course, two well-known cities that can give an approximate location of the lesser-known town of Oyonnax. However, I’m actually closer to Geneva than I am to Lyon- by 27 kilometers!
So of course I was going to pay a visit across the French-Swiss border, it was only a matter of time. When Adam came to visit for a week, and I had the Friday before Valentines Day off, it only made sense to take a romantic day trip to the French-speaking side of Switzerland, home of the European seat of the United Nations (because we are International Politics nerds, I guess).
After waking up for a super-early train out of Oyonnax (6 AM!), and 2 changes, we arrived in the Geneva train station. Beyond checking out the UN, we didn’t have much of a plan for the day, and just wanted to wander and see where that took us!
To visit the United Nations, it was necessary to pay 12 Swiss francs, or about 10 euros for an excellent guided tour (In English, although other languages are available). For more information on guided tours of the UN, click here.
Our tour guide was a Swiss young woman with perfect English who explained to us the various conference rooms and libraries of the United Nations (all while walking backwards and using probably her third or fourth language!). The tour took us to the Assembly Hall, Council Chamber, Human Rights and Alliance of Civilization Room, and the Salle des Pas Perdus, along with art galleries! It was incredibly fascinating to visit one of the UN seats and see where so many historical decisions have been made! Pretty much heaven for two students with combined degrees in French, History, International Relations and History!
Now, we wanted to walk around and experience Geneva. However, the weather had other plans- we found ourselves alternately in pouring rain, heavy sleet, or snow the rest of our day in Geneva! The weather was so bad that we couldn’t even see the famous fountain from Lake Geneva- it was literally obscured by snow! However, we did get in some (soaking wet) walking and managed to see quite a bit of the Old Town! (And see the prices of watches. Ahem. )
I will make a return trip to Geneva for sure when its springtime! Have you been to Geneva? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!