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Expat in Geneve

nuclearalchemistnuclearalchemist Registered User regular
edited June 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Hi all!

I haven't been really active on the forums for a while, but I had a question that seemed good for everybody here. The first question is that I remember there was an Expat thread at some point, but I can't seem to find it. Anybody know where it is? The second is that I was wondering if anybody had any experience living on the French side of Geneva, and was willing to share their experiences: where to go, where to shop, things to do, places to eat, fitness opportunities, etc.

Thanks!
~NA

~Eigen-fleichen
nuclearalchemist on

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    TankJitsuTankJitsu Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Greetings nuclearalchemist, and welcome to Switzerland! I currently live in Bern, so I can't give you specific info on Geneva, but I use http://www.englishforum.ch Head to the forums there, and browse away.

    It's basically the biggest and pretty much only ex-pat forum for Switzerland. There are social forums, fitness forums, chat forums, job forums, etc etc. Geneva (or Genf as we call it here in the German speaking part) has some ex-pat activities (unlike Bern :? ), although Zurich is where most the ex-pats live. Hopefully you will have good luck finding good information about things to do and places to go.

    Enjoy and welcome to Switzerland!

    TankJitsu on
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    nuclearalchemistnuclearalchemist Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Sweet! I am checking that out now, hopefully will have a whole bunch more information in the meantime. By the way, since it sounds like you have been here a little bit, what is the best way to travel around Europe? My wife is coming out mid August, and we were going to go to Rome/London/Paris in some order and make a european tour of it. Have you done something like this, and what did you do?

    Thanks! It is good to be here at CERN/Switzerland/France now.

    nuclearalchemist on
    ~Eigen-fleichen
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    KubKub Registered User new member
    edited June 2011
    http://www.glocals.com/geneva/

    I lived in Thoiry while I was at CERN. The best advice I can give you is to never ever go grocery shopping on the weekend in France. Super crowded, stale bread, etc. Go on weekday mornings for best results. I personally preferred the smaller grocery shops over the gigantic Carrefour but the prices are about the same either way. There's a cool little British grocery shop in St. Genis that carries some things you might get nostalgic for (for me it was Dr. Pepper).

    Ferney-Voltaire and Thoiry both have great farmer's markets on Saturday mornings (I think, it's been awhile) that you should check out. You can get some really great baked goods and produce there.

    In general it's cheaper to shop on the French side, but that's not always true. If you're looking for a one stop type shopping place the Balexert mall is great, and has a pretty good movie theater as well. They always have recent non-dubbed US movies there (look for a VO next to the listing for non-dubbed films), as well as all the recent French releases.

    There's also a decent gym in St. Genis that is relatively cheap for the Geneva area, but for some reason I can't remember the name of it, sorry :(

    I highly recommend getting yourself a bike. Lot's of places to go within biking distance and beautiful scenery. I also highly recommend getting into climbing while your there. You mentioned you were at CERN so you should definitely check out the various CERN clubs. They have running/climbing/skiing/etc clubs and they can help you get started.

    Finally, if you go to bars in Geneva, expect to pay a lot for drinks. 10+ CHF beers and 20 CHF mixed drinks is the norm.

    Kub on
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    nuclearalchemistnuclearalchemist Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Hi Kub,

    Sweet! Thanks for the info! I am living in St. Genis-Pouilly, so I will have to try and find the British grocer you talk about. I have been to the Migros in Val Thoiry and the Carrefour in St. Genis, but that is about it for now. Once I get the bicycle situation figured out, I am going to try and make it to the farmer's markets. I wasn't necessarily going to go during the weekends to grocery shop - I never did in college anyway. I will have to check out the Balexert, I am sure that the tram to CERN (now completed!) must run somewhere by there.

    I heard that the gym in St. Genis burned down by a friend, but I need to confirm that with her. I am still looking in the area, but maybe I will be able to join the fitness club or something. In the bike realm, I was looking at trying to get a used bike. There are some bikes in the basement of the house that I am staying in, but I need to figure out how good a shape they are in. I am trying to avoid using the CERN bicycle pool just so that I don't have to pay the 400CHF or whatever it is now to rent one. Do you have any ideas on where to look for used bikes at CERN? On top of that, the only club that I have seen an advertisement for is the fitness club, should I just check out the skiing/climbing, etc clubs online or have you had experience.

    Yeah, I figured that the drinking in Geneva would get pretty expensive fast. For now, I think I will stay with the wine bottles that I procured.

    nuclearalchemist on
    ~Eigen-fleichen
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    KubKub Registered User new member
    edited June 2011
    https://espace.cern.ch/cern-market/default.aspx

    http://www.jims-british-market.com/

    http://user.web.cern.ch/user/Communication/SocialLifeActivities/Clubs/Clubs.html

    Finding a used bike is a pain in the rear, unfortunately. I sold my bike when I came back to the states a little over a year ago, and I had people calling me within 5 minutes of putting the add up on the CERN market. Also, the summer students at CERN really make the market worse since they're all looking for bikes too. I think the CERN bike pool cost is just a deposit that can be put on your team account, so you might look into that, though it's hard to get a pool bike in the summer for the same reasons as above.

    Someone in my office just confirmed the St. Genis gym burned down :( That's a real bummer.

    Kub on
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    TankJitsuTankJitsu Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I've been traveling alot since I've been here, been to Paris, London, Berlin, and a bunch of others. The trains are a good bet, the TGV service to Paris was relatively cheap and damn fast! 170mph in a train is rather incredible! Easyjet is a good option for flights, they do fly out of Geneva, and go everywhere in Europe. Within Switzerland itself, you have the SBB Rail service. You can buy a half-price fare card, good for a year, for about 165 Swiss francs, which does as it says and gets you 1/2 off all the rail, tram, and bus service in Switzerland. If your not traveling that much on the Swiss rail, but still want to do the occasional jaunt to Zurich or the alps, you can check out SBB "SuperSaver" offers, where you can buy rail tickers for specific train trips for up to 60% off. I have some friends coming to visit, and they checked the site and saved about $125 USD off their trip.

    You probably will have more options being near the French border, but as you can tell everything in Switzerland is EXPENSIVE. And while there are amazing food and restaurant options, most of the time we cook at home (getting our food from our local Migros of course ;-) ) to save some $$$.

    And I second the bike idea, although I had mine shipped with me, so I can't help with where to get one. But I do know that in Bern there are a ton of bike shops all over the place, I would imagine Geneva would have some as well that might carry used bikes. But I've heard also from my Swiss friends that http://www.fr.ricardo.ch/ is the Swiss equivalent of eBay. Might be a good place to look.

    TankJitsu on
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    TankJitsuTankJitsu Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Also, I was justtold about (from my friend in Geneva) www.glocals.com, which seems to be another good place to find info.

    TankJitsu on
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    nuclearalchemistnuclearalchemist Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Thanks for the help both of you! I am getting a bike today, and made it into Geneva this last weekend. I am planning a trip for my wife and I on the TGV and EasyJet for late August, which seems to be coming together nicely. At CERN, I am checking out the martial arts club today (if I can get away from meetings). So thanks again for all of your help!

    nuclearalchemist on
    ~Eigen-fleichen
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