When it comes to shopping, Geneva has it all. The city has a human scale, yet it is international and ideally located in the centre of Europe, with all the luxury brands one could ever dream about. However, it would be a mistake to limit Geneva’s shopping culture to luxury boutiques only. There are plenty of refined and authentic shops or ateliers where one can find top quality products that won’t break the bank.
Here, at Mandarin Oriental, Geneva, our team of four Clefs d’Or concierges (myself included) has selected a few of the best specialist stores, starting, of course, with Switzerland’s most-wanted delicacy: chocolate. For chocoholics, Geneva is a paradise for all tastes. The old ancient town of Carouge, also referred to as ‘Geneva’s Greenwich Village’, is home to one of the best and most modern chocolatiers, Philippe Pascoët. His colourful creations are made with an extensive choice of flavours, such as pistachio, saffron, passion fruit, mint and white truffle. For those who prefer something more traditional, we recommend the refined chocolatier Du Rhône, or the well-known Auer boutique for its chocolate almonds called Princesse.
But before being totally enchanted by cocoa, remember that another star of the region is cheese. Find fresh and seasonal cheeses at La Halle de Rive in the city centre. Aficionados might also enjoy the wide selection at luxury department store Globus, where many different kinds can be tasted. Switzerland is also renowned for its Victorinox Swiss Army Knives. Visit the brand’s flagship Geneva store for watches, clothing, and to create your own personalised Swiss knife.
Luxury watchmaking and jewellery are not to be missed, either. Geneva is the cradle of the world-famous Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin brands; the former even has a historical museum in Geneva, where fans can discover the tradition and secrets of fine watchmaking. The Bucherer boutique makes it easy to compare and choose brands by offering the widest selection of luxury watches in Switzerland. Horology enthusiasts looking for a unique experience will be seduced by the MB&F Gallery (also called MAD Gallery), which we consider a must-visit when in the city. It is a place where several watchmakers and their co-workers have joined forces and pushed the limits of creativity to make one-of-a-kind mechanical and art masterpieces.
For those who would be more tempted by the sparkle of jewellery, Cartier has recently opened a luxurious new boutique. Otherwise, visit Adler, one of the most famous local jewellers. And finally, stock up with the finest beauty and cosmetic products made in Geneva, by the renowned L Raphael – perfect for pampering after a long day of shopping. Alternatively, post-shopping, replenish your energy with a dark chocolate mousse cupcake, just one of many flavours at Geneva’s creative bakery, Cupcakes & The City. Or have a laid-back lunch at L’Adresse, a charming restaurant with a rooftop terrace and an integrated fashion boutique, where you can buy hip labels such as Isabel Marant Etoile and APC. And if you are around on a Saturday, don’t miss the Mediterranean-style morning market in Carouge, for fresh local food and to enjoy a coffee on the terrace of one of the surrounding cafés.