In my final day in Geneva, I opted to do a day trip to Yvoire, France. As soon as I stepped off the boat, I knew Yvoire was the perfect choice with its medieval architecture, blooming flowers, and cobbled streets. The old town is small and easy to navigate with only a few streets connecting the waterfront to the centre of town. The medieval part of the city is also a car-free zone. I love this feature because you can freely walk around without disturbance from vehicles. Yvoire is known to be the loveliest town in France and it certainly convinced me.
Getting to Yvoire
The easiest way to access Yvoire is to take the boat service from Lausanne, Geneva or Nyon with CGN (link to website). Otherwise you can drive or take the train over from Geneva. I recommend going by boat to enjoy beautiful views of Lake Geneva.
What to Do
Discover the Garden of Five Senses: As the name suggests there are four gardens each catering to one of the senses: touch, taste, smell, and see, along with a fountain for hearing. What is unique is that you can actually eat the plants in the taste garden and you are encouraged to touch and smell the plants to gain a full experience. Aside from the immersive approach to the garden, it is beautifully maintained and is organized like a labyrinth making it a fun experience. It is the way I imagine the secret garden would look like. They also have activities for children if you are visiting as a family. Check out their website: https://www.jardin5sens.net
Shop in boutiques: There are lots of local artisans and Yvoire is the perfect place to purchase a straw Panama hat (with lots of shops selling a variety of styles). If hats aren’t your thing then there is a handmade soap shop, an antique boutique, a glass maker, along the usual souvenir type shops.
Visit Saint Pancras Church: Initially built in 1250, the church is known for its unique bell tower that looks like on onion. It is covered by stainless steel and gold leaves making it glisten in the sun. Although the inside is simple, it features colourful stained glass windows and an incredible view of the lake and castle from the church entrance.
Where to Eat
Les Jardins de Leman is an upscale, Michelin-rated dining option. Sumptuous food and an even better view with a panoramic terrace overlooking lake Geneva
Pulse Gourmand is a small stand that sells panini, crepes, and ice cream for under 5 Euros. Grab your meal and head down to the waterfront to eat in the cool shade of the trees.
Le Traboule serves local Savoyard dishes alongside expertly prepared meat and fish mains. The menu varies seasonally to provide fresh, local ingredients and keep the offerings varied.
La Creperie d’Yvoire is a great place for sweet and salty crepes with large portions and reasonable prices.
Discover even More
Combine your visit with a stop over in Nyon just across the lake. Nyon features the impressive Castle whose museum houses a historical porcelain collection in their permanent collection. They also having temporary exhibits, currently it is on the masked balls.