We are back in Geneva and settling in after a wonderful week in the US celebrating my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s wedding! After a pretty low-key week of getting our feet back on the ground, we decided to take a mini day-trip to nearby Yvoire, France off the recommendation of some friends that weekend.
On Saturday morning we were up early to catch the ferry, bag packed, sunscreen on, and immediately as we walked outside, the skies opened up – and we were forced to take a hang day at home. TV show catch up ✅
So we ventured out again on Sunday, forgot the sunscreen, and took an hour and forty minute CGN ferry to Yvoire from the Geneva Mont Blanc Bridge. You could also take it to Montreux if you wanted to go further!
We pulled up to Yvoire and couldn’t help but “wow” at the stunning 14th century village, often called one of the most beautiful in France. Not exactly a low bar, am I right?
Yvoire is a tiny, car-free place that packs a punch with lush floral displays on every street and restaurant after restaurant serving the local specialty, perch straight out of the lake.
Off a recommendation from a friend, we ate at the gorgeous Les Jardins du Leman. Absolutely make a reservation online and request to sit on the terrace. It is truly stunning view and a perfect way to spend an afternoon surrounded by fresh food and endlessly flowing rose. Like many of the other places we have been fortunate to visit, while it isn’t a “cheap meal” – you aren’t paying just for the view – the food is also fantastic.
One thing that always surprises us about eating out in Europe is that no server will rush to turn over your table like they do in the US. You actively need to seek out a waiter or waitress for the bill (which at home, we only find ourselves doing in the rarest of circumstances) as they feel uncomfortable disturbing your conversation! This is partially of course because the tipping system is very different here, but also reminds us to just slow down and hang. No need to scoop up the plates after you have taken your last bite. Just take a pause and soak it up.
We learned that they call Yvoire the “gem of the lake” and it had significant military worth in medieval times because of its strategic location right where Lake Geneva really opens up from a relatively small body to a massive body of water. The walls of the city go back all the way to 1306 (they celebrated its 700th birthday in 2006) but the origins are said to be even older. The castle (chateau) is privately owned and currently not open for tours, but you can wander the gardens and enjoy a wealth of gelato spots, shop at local stores, and just breathe.
On the way back to speed up our travels, we took the 20 minute CGN ferry back to Nyon, walked around a bit, and set back to Geneva by a quick train. We’d love to spend more time there in the future, we just happen to be very Irish and the “no sunscreen” thing was starting to become an issue.
Overall, our travel costs with our half-fare cards ran us under 50 CHF for transportation for such a breathtaking visit. If you are visiting us between May – October and want to add this to the itinerary, we will not be disappointed!
One of our big “goals” for our travel here was to visit as many places we may never get to for the rest of our lives. Big cities like London will always have our hearts and we hope to always return – but part of the magic of being abroad is to come across these little “gems of the lake” that we can remember always. We still can’t believe we can day trip to France (a little warmer than last time) but will not forget how fortunate we are for the opportunity!
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THANKS AS ALWAYS FOR READING – AND LET ME KNOW WHERE WE SHOULD VISIT NEXT!