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what to buy in Geneva: what to buy in Geneva
Geneva is an expensive city so probably you have to forget expensive restaurants and stick with some kebap spots, Asian restaurants, menu of the day or cheap offers in malls, museums etc I took advantage of some super markets too, a picnic at one of the parks is a good idea anyway on a nice sunny day.
If you are into chocolates you will find plenty of specialty stores but I have to say that I bought many nice chocolates in any general store (lots of offers at the train station too with packages of 5 different chocolate bars). Some say swiss wine is good but I didn’t try it as we focused on numerous French excellent wines. Local cheese is famous all over the world for sure so we took some extra calories there :)
Clothe shopping isn’t really a priority here, most of the clothes seemed very kitch to me anyway. But I guess not everyone travelling on budget like me so take your wallet to Rue du Rhone for some serious high class clothing.
Along Rue du Mont-Blanc may be interesting for tourists as there are many stores with souvenirs, some extra tacky of course as expected. Swiss Army knifes are also popular and can be seen everywhere.
You can buy the funny cuckoo clocks (have in mind they are all made in China), but also regular watches, Switzerland is famous of its clocks/watches so no surprise many manufacturers based here too.
For flea markets check Plaine de Plainpalais (Wednesday and Saturday)
I was surprised to see lots of gun shops too, but it seems normal for a country that has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, behind USA and Yemen.
If you really want to waste your time inside a department store MANOR is the most popular selling everything (food, clothes, souvenirs etc) located at 6 rue de Cornavin, open Monday to Saturday
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music albums: music albums
I like to find record stores in any city I visit and Geneva was no exception with a few of them around. The main problem is that most of the items are more expensive than usual which is not a surprise of course. But there are always some good offers on second hand items.
First I visited STIGMATE RECORDS (link) which is centrally located (3, Rue de la Servette) 300 meters from Cornavin train station.
But worth to visit Plainpalais square where you can find more than one stores.
I liked SOUNDS RECORDS (8 av. du Mail) (link) where I noticed many new entries on vinyls (mainly indie, post, heavy but also some french, folk, pop, blues, jazz) and bought an antistatic brush for a local friend that bought his first turntable that week.
At the other side of the square (2 Rondpoint de Plainpalais) is MUSICS (link) with numerous second hand items. The store focus on jazz and classical music with several rare but expensive records.
Some other stores that didn’t find time to visit:
Au Point Du Jour, at 4 Passage Rond-Point, focusing on classical music
Music Lover Records, at 15 Rue du Lac, Eaux-Vives, about 250meters from Jet D’EauRelated to:
NOTTING HEEL: Best luxury shoes in town for women
Everything is special about this shop. From the joke in its name "Notting Heel", the great welcoming, the modern decoration, and of course the shoe selections. The number of brads in amazing and all fashionistas are going to die for these brands: Valentino, Casadei, Chloé, Marc Jacobs, giambattista Valli, Oscar de la Renta, Gina, Nina Ricci and many more. Definitely a stop to make while you're in town. 10/10 :)
What to buy: The latest "it" shoes. I got a pair from Valentino Rockstud pumps. They have the in every colour with matching bag/clutch.
What to pay: This is a luxury shop so of course you know where you're going when entering this kind of shop. But still reasonable if compared to some other shops of the same elevel.Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Luxury Travel
- Business Travel
Rue du Mont-Blanc: Rue du Mont-Blanc
Appealing to the tourist trade more than local interests, this wide boulevard extending to the quay will fulfill everyone's desire for Swiss souvenirs. The numerous shops have a good range of traditional Swiss crafts and mementos, both tasteful and tacky. From cuckoo clocks to chocolate confections, lacy girls' dresses to folk style blouses, delicate china to porcelain cows, the Rue du Mont-Blanc offers a mountainous selection of goods. Swiss Tradition, 15 Mont-Blanc, NIC SA 5, Affolter Kurt et Eric Noll, Devillon and La Civette are gift shops that prove especially popular with visitors. With the Rue du Mont-Blanc so close to the water, this attractive district always has a fresh, pleasant air and there are many tempting cafes and bistros to cure flagging energy after an intensive shopping expedition. With the sound of lapping water nearby and numerous pretty cafés, many shoppers are happy to devote the entire day to this areaRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
- Food and Dining
- Luxury Travel
Tax Free Shopping in Geneva: Save your money...
The VAT rate in Switzerland is 8 % and is included in the sales price. All visitors residing outside of Switzerland are entitled to claim back the VAT, if they spend more than CHF 400 in one shop in one day. The goods must be exported within 30 days after purchase date and the export must be confirmed by an official Swiss customs stamp.
What to buy:
3 easy steps to claim your refund :
1. In the store
Shop where you see the Tax-free Shopping logo and simply ask for your Global Refund Cheque. You will receive an information leaflet with detailed explanation in different languages.
2. At customs
When leaving Switzerland, present your Global Refund Cheque to Swiss customs authorities and have the goods ready for inspection.
3. Get your refund
Hand in the blue original of your Global Refund Cheque. You have several choices to get your refund:
- Immediate cash at our nearby Cash Refund Office.
- Mail your Cheque to Global Refund. The refund will then be credited to a chosen credit card, a Swiss bank account or you will receive a bank check to your home address.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Luxury Travel
- Business Travel
Brachard & Cie: Best stationary and card shop
Its a good quality stationary and card shop. It has beautiful and sophisticated greeting cards and stationary items. It is a quality shop and things are above average price.
What to buy: greeting cards, post cards, high quality stationary items.
What to pay: As much as you can afford. 50 swiss francs??
Migros Airport: Sunday shopping in Geneva
Most shops are closed by law on Sundays in Geneva. Neevbertheless, in case of need, you have alternatives:
1 Supermarket MIGROS at the airport, open from 8 am to 8 pm
2 Many small food shops in central Geneva, especially in the Paquis region, open daily, some until after midnight
3 Sunday market at Plainpalais (see above)
4 Sunday morning markets in Collonges/Saleve and Ville-la-Grande in France (use Geneva bus ti birder) for food and clothes
5 Certain supermarkets in France on Sunday morning (Fenrey, St-Julien, Annemasse)
On a budget in Geneva: The Swiss Franc
First rule: Don't pay in foreigh currencies, trades will add a "padding". Change your money at an indepedant currency exchange shop to avoid commission.
While Geneva is a playground for the rich, the majority of its population has to live on a modest budget. Prices have remained pretty stable in Swiss Francs over the last few years. Not so in other currencies: the Swiss Franc has risen by more than 15 pct against the Euro in the last 12 months. Switzerland generally is expensive compared to other European countries.
Even so, budget travelers will find ways and means to enjoy the country, by eating in cheap Asian or kepab places, or shopping malls. By staying in small towns, or in youth hoatels (good fun guaranteed). And by selecting the right bargain shop. For Food: Coop, Migros, Denner, Aldi, Lidl.
Avoid drugstores/pharmacies, English pubs, tourist spots...even many Pizzerias. The Plat de Jour (menu of the day) offered for lunch at most restaurants is usually a good deal, especially the lunch buffets at some Chinese and Indian places are great value. And you still can get a good pint of beer at less than CHF 6.00.
What to buy: Chocolate, cheese, Gerber cheese fondue (my favourite), a Swiss non-electronic watch of course (if you can afford it), Geneva wine from Dardagny.
What to pay: Here again: pay in Swiss Francs whenever possibleRelated to:
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Plainpalais Street Market: Plainpalais Open Air Markets
Open air markets at Plainpalais take place on the following days:
TUE+FRI morning: veggie and food market
WED+SAT all day: Flea Market
SUN all day until 5 pm: Food, clothes etc.
What to buy: The Saturday Flkea Market attracts lots of visitors, especially on a sunny day.
Bucherer: Be very carefull to b uy watches in Geneva
Do not believe that you can buy best swiss watches in this shop. Together with 5 friends I visited this shop last Wednesday, which cliamed to be one of the best watch sellers in switchland. We totally spent over 50,000 CHF on watches. We paid the goods with cash and credit card. We asked for discount, but got nothing. OK it does not matter if the watches are good. Unfortunately, we found two watchwes have problem back in the hotel. One watch has its time adjusting pin got totally lost and other is not working anymore ( it was working in the shop). We went back next day to the shop and want to complain to the manager. You just do not believe it. A chinese seller simply said that we should complain to the watch maker not to the shop. Althogh we got the new watches, but we are not happy at all about the service.
We have expected to buy best valued watch in Geneva, But we got a feeling like that we are shopping in HONGKONG street. You simply can not trust the seller.
Further tip, we found watches on other shops are cheaper than those in Bucherer shops.
Swiss Corner: A very expensive cuckoo clock!!!
I went in to buy a cuckoo clock for my son's birthday, following a friends recommendation. According to her this store always gave a discount even if you payed with credit card . The owner is a nice guy and won't force you into buying, but everything is terribly overpriced. He showed me a clock that met my criteria but was way over my budget. At the end I ended up buying it 'cos I was leaving the next day and ,was short of time, only to find out that the store next door had exactly the same clock for CHF70 less!!! So even with the 15% discount it still was CHF70 more expensive at Swiss Corner than at Swiss Shop (the store next door) .
So I went back and complained (as anybody would have done).
The guy simply told me there was nothing he could do. The price was clearly marked and I had the choice to buy at any other place and, if I had chosen to buy it it was a final sale, he turned around and. left me standing there! (Basicallyhe was telling me it was MY fault to have bought the clock there)
Maybe the americans have spoiled me, shopping in the U.S. guarantees you the best price. If you find something cheaper at another store simply return it or ask for a discount, either one will work without major hassles.
In any case, I was so upset that I stood outside the shop and warned every possible client walking in the store that the place not only was overpriced, but they wouldn't give me a refund.
5 minutes later I was surrounded by four police officers carrying guns and sticks and, in a very threatening way told me I was not allowed to do that and, that I had to leave. I said I was only doing a public service warning people. So they asked for my I.D. wrote down my name in a booklet and told me to leave immediately or I would be fined. A police 4WD came by, they talked something, laughed, the car left and, again I was told to leave. I told them it was the first time ever I saw the police defending the thief and not the victim. The chief police officer in charge of the group, almost screamed at me and told me to leave.
So I ended up with an overpriced cuckoo clock and nobody I could complain to.Related to:
- Budget Travel
MBT Shop Geneva: Work out while sightseeing!
MBT is a Swiss footwear brand that activates muscles with every step. It simulates walking barefoot on uneven grounds and therefore activates core muscles, burns extra calories and strenghtens the back. At the MBT Shop in Geneva you can rent out a pair fo MBTs for CHF 20.- per week and go sightseeing and shopping with them. This will enable you to convienently work out while visiting Geneva. But don't overdo it: you will feel muscles you never even thought existed the next dayè
What to pay: CHF 20.- to rent a pair of MBTs for a week
Most models cost around CHF 300.-Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
stuff: sportswear in Geneva
Very original store in a 5th century building, wow !
The idea is too find there what you won't find elesewhere. Great choice of branded sportswear mix and design objects.
I got myself some Von Zipper sunglasses and a tee-shirt that says je suis une princesse et je vous emmerde (I'm a princess and a pain your a**)
Lots of fun stuff.
What to buy: original tee-shirts, us and european fashion brands, design furniture
What to pay: 60 to 200 sfr
BORPAR S.A.: Official Swiss Army Knives!!
A tiny little shop with 1 shopkeeper, it has a vast range of swiss army knives, both Wenger and Victorinox :D
Shopkeeper is very friendly and will be able to carve your name on your purchases for free!
What to buy: All special editions of Swiss Army Knives!! but being traditional, I did settle for a white traditional 5-tool pocket knife thou :P
What to pay: Lower than usual, definitely cheaper here than at home!
Shopping guide: Daily necessities on a budget
Switzerland is known to be very expensive. If you look around, however, you will find many items to be less expensive than at home. Here a little help for budget travellers:
OPENING HOURS of shops vary from one canton to another. In Geneva, shops normally open from 8.30 am to 7 pm, to 6 am on Saturday and stores until 9 pm on Thursday. Ouutside these hours - including Sundays - there are many grocery shops that stay open until midnight, but are much more expensive (still useful, if you want to save on restaurant bills).
FOOD STORES: Look for special offers (Action!) with savings of up to 50 pct on standard items changing weekly. Good value are DENNER (limited choice), COOP, MIGROS, CARREFOUR, or ALLIGRO. Migros has a supermarket at the airport that stays open on Sunday until 8 pm. GLOBUS is a very nice department store, but in the medium-high price segment.
What to buy: A watch, of course. But beware: Swatch is cheaper in the US than in Switzerland. And there are no rebates on Rolex, Franck Muller or other luxury watches.
Why not a fondue set including a Gerber instant fondue?
Yoghurts and cheese are great in Switzerland.
And Chocolate, of course: Migros has excellent chocolates. At Manor, my favourite is the Villars chocolate with Kirsch (best in the box at about Fr. 10).
What to pay: Look around, and you will find that a number of products are cheaper in Geneva than elsewhere (the VAT is only 7.5 percent as compared to France 20 pct or Germany 16 pct.).Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- School Holidays
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