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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Detox Your Body and Mind in Geneva

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5. Oddball Day


Rich chocolate being made at Favarger; the slot machines at the Casino du Lac Meyrin-Genève.  

After experiencing the city’s healthy living, indulge just a bit in its sinful side. Start sipping early, as locals do, at Île Rousseau (Pont des Berges, 41/22-310-8470), a cozy café on its namesake island that specializes in eye-popping espresso and Swiss white wines. While you're in the area, pick up a box of chocolates at the city’s sweetest boutique, Favarger, whose small factory has been converting the Rhône’s hydraulic energy into elaborate milky truffles for over 200 years. Then, walk across the newly restored Pont de la Machine to the Rive Gauche, where you can buy something more substantial, like a six-pack of petit fours ($25), at A. Pougnier Boulangerie & Pâtisserie, behind the fragrant crêperies and rôtisseries at Marché de la Fusterie (open Saturday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Next, head to the Rue du Rhône, where expensive Swiss watch shops sit beside the usual luxury fashion suspects, including a nearby Davidoff, where you can score pricey cigars and a cheap carton of cigarettes ($60) thanks to Switzerland’s low taxes. Afterward, spin through the Pâquis neighborhood, home to a wealth of ethnic restaurants (from Eritrean to Iranian) thanks to the adjacent U.N. building. Stop in at Chinese newcomer Jia Wei (Rue de Lausanne 56; 41/22-738-9553) for homemade (and delightfully greasy) crunchy-chicken noodles ($19). Once the sun starts to set, wander toward the red-light district on Rue de Berne; prostitution is legal in Switzerland, but you don't need to partake to see that the working girls are as friendly and chatty as any shop owner. For dinner, treat yourself to a bubbling pot of fattening fireside fondue at Buvette, ($25; evenings only and reservations required), adjacent to the Bains des Pâquis. The restaurant also hosts Friday-night folk-dancing performances and serves spiked hot cocoa ($18). Geneva’s nightlife is sorely lacking, but after dinner you can gamble, smoke, drink, and watch French female dancers until 5 a.m. at the Casino du Lac Meyrin-Genève, which features 185 slot machines and classic table games like roulette and blackjack.


Published on Nov 15, 2013 as a web exclusive.

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