One of the world's most truly cosmopolitan cities, Geneva is a gem glistening on the shores of Europe's largest Alpine lake. The city is also the nerve centre for international administration, with more than 200 prominent world organisations based here. As a result, there's no shortage of luxury hotels, fine restaurants, and sumptuous sophistication. Here are just some of the attractions you can take in (when you're not working on a mission of great international significance, of course):
United Nations HQ
The epicentre of international affairs, the United Nations
has its the European headquarters in Geneva. Once the main HQ of the League of Nations, the Palais des Nations is situated in the middle of leafy Ariana Park, on the banks of Lake Geneva. Now it's home to the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights. A monument to the best of 20th-century architecture, it commands exceptional views of the Alps and Mont Blanc.
Many of Geneva's main attractions are contained within Old Town
(Vieille Ville), a charming home to the Cathédrale St-Pierre, Barbier-Mueller Museum, and the Maison Tavel. To get an idea of how important Geneva was in the great religious turmoils of the 16th century, visit the International Museum of the Reformation, where you can learn about French theologian and Geneva transplant John Calvin. Take a stroll through the winding pedestrian streets and savour an early evening drink at the magical Place du Bourg-de-Four in the historic heart of the Old Town.
The Reformation Wall
Constructed in the early 20th century to mark the city's significance in the religious unrest of the 16th century, Geneva's Reformation Wall,
in the Parc des Bastions, is a remarkable monument to the city nicknamed the "Protestant Rome." The wall itself is an enormous 325 feet long and 30 feet high and features 15-foot-tall statues of Guillaume Farel, John Calvin, Theodore Beza, and John Knox.
You really cannot miss Lake Geneva
. Spread out in front of the city like a sparkling mirror, Western Europe's biggest lake extends east of Geneva, from French-speaking Canton de Vaud in the north to France in the south. Do more than just look at it: You can cycle or golf along its shores and enjoy watersports such as swimming and parasailing on its crystalline waters. Keep an eye out for Jet d'Eau, a 140m-high fountain of water that shoots up from the lake with enormous power.
Mont Saléve Cable Car
Nicknamed 'Geneva's Mountain', the Saléve is in French territory. From Geneva, drive 6km to the valley station of the aerial cable car in Veyrier
, and you could be at the top of the mountain within 5 minutes of your arrival. The views from the summit are breathtaking: Geneva gleams below you, set against the Jura Mountains, with the Alps and Mont Blanc towering in the distance. This is also a great site for hiking, climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, and cross-country skiing.