|Geneva : orientation and information|
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Genevans orient the city centre around the Rhône, which flows from the lake west into France. The Rive Gauche, on the south bank, takes in a grid of waterfront streets which comprise the main shopping district (Les Rues-Basses) and the adjacent high ground of the Old Town. Just south is the university, spilling over into the Plainpalais district, and a little northeast is the populous working neighbourhood of Eaux-Vives. Six bridges, including the main Pont du Mont-Blanc, link the Rive Gauche to the Rive Droite waterfront, where most of Geneva’s grand hotels sit. Behind them lies the main station, alongside the cosmopolitan and occasionally rough Les Pâquis district, filled with cheap restaurants and much seediness. The international organizations are clustered together a kilometre or two north.
Parc des Bastions (©_OTG)
Geneva’s tourist office (022/909 70 00, www.geneva-tourism.ch) is one of the best-equipped and managed in the country, a mine of information on everything to do with the city and canton. The main branch is in the central post office at 18 Rue du Mont-Blanc (Mon–Sat 9am–6pm), and there’s also a desk within the information office of the Municipality of Geneva, situated on the Pont de la Machine (Mon noon–6pm, Tues–Fri 9am–6pm, Sat 10am–5pm; www.ville-ge.ch). Either office can give you an adequate street- and transport-map of the city for free, or sell you a detailed one for Fr.3. They also have endless stacks of material in English, including the useful Guide Pratique, along with lists of budget hotels, museums, restaurants, galleries, excursions and more – the Young People brochure is particularly comprehensive. During the summer, a bus parked at the station end of the Rue du Mont-Blanc houses “CAR” (Centre d’Accueil et de Renseignements) – they can help with accommodation and transport information (mid-June–early Sept daily 8am–11pm).
Genève Agenda, a French/English weekly publication, is a useful source of information on sightseeing, the latest exhibitions and other bits and bobs, available free from the tourist office and most hotels. Also handy is the monthly Genève: Le Guide which has good maps and trustworthy information (Fr.3; www.le-guide.ch). The quarterly La Clef is an alternative-leaning cultural agenda (Fr.5; www.laclef.ch), but most authoritative of the lot is the monthly Geneva News and International Report (Fr.6; www.genevanews.com), which has business and political news and features from Geneva and around the country, and some listings information.