Where to live in Geneva: Neighborhoods pros & cons
Some of the questions I get the most on my Instagram & social media are “Where should I live in Geneva?”“Which neighborhood should I choose ? “.
I totally understand this concern, because before moving to Geneva you want to know more about what is going on each neighborhood and sometimes you do not have the opportunity to come to Geneva before the move.
So, to summarise this eternal question here is my cheat sheet about the main Neighborhoods in Geneva!
Location: Left bank of the lake by the Jet d’eau.
Postal code: 1207
Pricing: Around 2,000 – 2,300 CHF for 50-60 m2
Transport: Eaux-Vives is very well connected to the rest of the city, either with the CEVA, the bus & tram (terrasiere, villereuse, Eaux-vives gare) and also the Mouettes that are the boats that cross the lake to the right bank.
Supermakets: Around the neighborhood you have Coop, Migros, Bio C bon, all walking distance.
Pros: The closeness with the lake and park la grange, a lot of bars and restaurants (Rue Henri-Blanvalet ) it is very well connected with public transport, lively. There are nice “old” apartments with high ceilings & wooden floors.
Cons: Very hard to park, some streets can be very noisy (specially during Summer).
Ambiance: People living in Eaux-Vives are usually young professionals or couples. There are also families living there. It is lively without being impossible to live there or too noisy.
I really like Eaux-Vives I lived there when I started working in Geneva. I always recommend this neighborhood to young single professionals that are going to move to Geneva, since the cool bars and restaurants are mostly there, during Summer you have the lake just next door and now with the CEVA (internal train) you can go to France or the other side of the lake directly.
Location: In the center below the old town (commercial zone)
Postal code: 1204
Pricing: Around 2,000 – 2,300 CHF for 50-60 m2
Transport: Well connected with the tram & buses and the mouettes that also cross the lake. For the train station it is on the other side of the lake, but usually 2-3 tram stops max.
Supermarkets: The main supermaket in this zone is Globus which is quite pricey or a Coop City (big supermarket and department store) at Rue du Rhône. If not there is a small Migros at Place de la Fusterie
Pros: You have all the main shops & businesses around the corner, it is in the middle of the city so easy access to any part of the city. Close to the Old Town / Vielle Ville that is very charming and has a lot of cute restaurants and cafes.
Cons: Impossible to park around this area, unless you go to Parking du Mont Blanc. On Sundays it is quite “dead” since all shops are closed. There are not a lot of options on this neighborhood, it is mostly offices and commerce.
Ambiance: As mentioned, there are mostly offices and shops in this area, so it might feel a little “dead” during the weekends and maybe there are not a lot of neighboors around.
It is not a bad option if you find an apartment in this area, it is well located and has a great advantage to have all the shops around. If you have a car, it is quite a “mission impossible” to have a parking in this area and most streets are either pedestrian, or tram only.
Location: Left bank, higher-up (like in a little hill behind Eaux-Vives)
Postal code: 1206
Pricing: Apartments are usually bigger (for families) 3,200 – 3,600 CHF for 100 – 120m2
Transport: CEVA train connected to the train station, eaux-vives & France, regular buses to the city center. No tram.
Supermarkets: Around Champel & Florissant there are numerous Coop & Migros.
Pros: Beautiful Park Bertrand in the center of both neighborhoods which is great for kids, a morning run, or an evening picnic during Summer. It is very calm, most streets are not very busy so it is quiet. Mostly residential.
Cons: There are not a lot of restaurants in the area, it is a mainly residential with the exception of Drs offices and a few offices. It can feel like a little far from the center, but it is accessible in 15 min from any point of the city. If you like to ride a bike you have an uphill to take every day, it can be a daily challenge or a deal breaker.
Ambiance: It is very quiet, most people living in the area are families and older people. There are a lot of daycare facilities and schools in the zone.
I have lived here for the last 6-7 years and really like this neighborhood, it is calm and green thanks to the park. I recommend this zone for people moving in with families or young kids. Apartments are big and you usually have parking easy in the area. The CEVA now connects really well Champel to Eaux-Vives, Lancy & the train station and other stops in France. However, if you are looking for a lively neighborhood, this is not the place to choose.
Transport: There is a mini bus that goes around the old town, if not you need to walk down to the tram or bus at Place the Neuve or Bel-Air
Supermarkets: A There is a small coop at the beginning of the Old Town, and a few stores with a selection of products. For big supermarkets you need to walk more.
Pros: The charm of being in the oldest part of Geneva! I love this part of town. You can walk anywhere and see beautiful buildings, cafes, restaurants & a small park. The apartments there have a unique charm with old wooden floors and high ceilings.
Cons: The main one would definitely be parking and car accesibility, there is St Antoine parking but that is mostly what is available in Old Town. Also, for people with walking disabilities is is uphill and pebble-stone streets which makes it difficult to walk. The rents are probably one of the highest in Geneva and also, there are a lot of buildings without an elevator.
Ambiance: It is super charming, pedestrian streets, cafes, restaurants. The charm of a historic old town with its old stone buildings and pebble-stone streets. Simply charming!
My favorite part in Geneva is definitely the old town, I would love one day to live there. I find it extremely charming and full of magic. Of course the disadvantages are there, but give or take if I would have the opportunity to live there I would! Maybe not the most practical with kids.
Pricing: An apartment for 1,500 -1,800 CHF of 55-70 m2
Transport: It is an area that is really well contected because of the train, all trams arrive here, most buses and now the CEVA.
Supermarkets: You have a wide selection of supermarkets, Migros at the train station open 7/7 until 23:30, Manor is an amazing supermarket too, you have Coop & Denner close by too.
Pros: If you take often the train or plane it is a great place to live in order to avoid long commutes. The lake is very close, you can got to Bain des Paquis in a minute and enjoy the lake shores. All sorts of restaurants, bars and cafes are open in the Paquis area. Very lively and meltingpot ambiance.
Cons: Depending on where you are at Paquis it could be “red light district” ambiance. Make sure to visit the exact zone you will live before. In addition there is a lack of parking and can be considered a noisy neighborhood.
Ambiance: Considered the melting pot of Geneva, restaurants of all types of food, colors, bars and diversity are part of the panorama.
The first neighborhood I lived when I arrived in Geneva for my internship in 2009. It is very lively and “exotic” I would say, you have a lot of people in the street constantly and noise around. I would recommend this neighborhood to a young professional that has to commute to Lausanne or travels a lot to be close to the train station. I would avoid it if I had a family or if I was looking for a quiet place.
Pricing: An apartment for 2,500 -2,700 CHF for 55-70 m2
Transport: It is connected thanks to the tram 12 to the rest of the city.
Supermarkets: You have a great selection of Migros and Coop and small food shops around the center. You have a great market on Wednesday Saturday morning.
Pros: A town-like feeling with picturesque houses with an Italian flare. A lot of walking places, restaurants & shops. It can feel like it is far away from the city, but it is actually close with the tram or by car.
Cons: As I said previously the distance can be an issue, but it is accessible easily. In addition, not all parts of Carouge are picturesque and town-like, some are big buildings with a lot of apartments, it depends where you rent.
Ambiance: Calm neighborhood, with a lot of families and couples. A lot of cafes and restaurants. I like that there are markets and during the holidays shops are open on Sunday. There is a lot of live and neighborhood feeling.
Carouge is like a town inside Geneva, you have a completely different vibe and architecture. I have never lived there, but I think you can build a nice live there. You can do most of your shopping by foot, and move by bike to Geneva. It is definitely more calm than living in Eaux-Vives, but it is also super lively and up coming. There are theaters, cinemas, restaurants, exhibitions and always something going on.
Pricing: An apartment for 1,800 – 2,000 CHF for 45-55 m2
Transport: Very well connected to the rest of the city since it is in the middle. Tram & bus pass through Plainpalais all the time.
Supermarkets: There is a Coop city in Plainpalais, also a Migros close to Cirque. I love that there is a market every Sunday and even a flea market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Pros: Right in the center of the city, yo have everything very accessible. I really like the “Quartier des Bains” that goes around Rue des Bains, that has a lot of Galleries and museums. There are several cafes and restaurants I like in this neighborhood like Cafe de la Paix, Ou bien encore or Fabbrica Pasta. You also have the cheapest Pizza in Geneva: La Pignata for 10CHF take away. It is also super close to Carouge.
Cons: Some friends living there have complained that it can be noisy, specially if you live in Rue Ecole de Medicine (a student bar street) or by Unimail and you have the tram passing by. Some people do not like it because at the esplanade you can sometimes see some “weird” people hanging around and feel unsafe. I have never felt unsafe in that area, but also I rarely hang out there at night, I mostly pass by during the day.
Ambiance: It is a lively neighborhood, you have a lot of commerces and shops. I would say that there is all types of people living there, students, young professionals, couples, families, etc.
I would recommend Plainpalais if you find a nice apartment in a calm street. Personally I would not actively look to live there (I prefer Eaux-Vives), however if I happen to find a hidden gem in the area I would take it immediately.
Pricing: An apartment for 1,800 – 2,300 CHF for 80 – 90 m2
Transport: It is connected thanks to the tram to the rest of the city & also some buses. You have very close by the airport and also the train station at a couple of tram stops away.
Supermarkets: You have a great selection of Migros and Coop. Also one of the biggest malls in Geneva is located there, Balexert with a huge Migros.
Pros: Very close to the United Nations and all the NGOs in Geneva. You have also the lake close by and the Botanical Garden to enjoy. The proximity with the airport can be also very practical and the access to the motorway to go in the direction of Lausanne without crossing the city is also great. The prices for rental are more accessible than other zones in Geneva.
Cons: Depending on where you work you might need to cross everyday the Pont du Montblanc and experience some traffic and feel a little “further” from the center (although it is super close).
Ambiance: Calm and very green, there are a lot of parks and family oriented places. A lot of families arriving to Geneva choose to be close the United nations since many come to work for an NGO. There are also International schools in the area and makes it practical to live close by.
Since I am zero familiar with the area I asked a friend to tell me her experience living in the zone.
“I love Petit Saconnex, it’s very calm and family oriented. It has many lovely parks with gorgeous views to the Saleve and the lake, minus the crowds. My favorite is the “Jardin de la Paix” especially in the springtime, I call it the secret garden because it’s a hidden gem (blink and you’ll miss the entrance ).
It has great and varied restaurants, my favorite is the Cafe du Soleil and not only for its famous fondue, it has a many other delicious options like malakoffs and the steak with green pepper sauce. There’s an incredible local organic/bio farmers’ market called La Ferme de Bude. It’s walking distance from most international organisations, missions and many other businesses which makes it a great option in the rive gauche.”
Pricing: An apartment for 1,400 – 1,700 CHF for 35 – 40 m2
Transport: It is connected thank to the bus and also very close to the train station.
Supermarkets: You have Migros and Coop and also Manor not too far away.
Pros: For Grottes the pros are the closeness to the train station & the alternative vibe you have in the neighborhood. For Saint-Jean the pros are that it is a calm neighborhood, there are parks and also a restaurant I love Na Village.
Cons: Some people do not like Grottes because it can feel too alternative and grudge. I think it can be fun and a completely different atmosphere than other parts of Geneva.
Ambiance: Each neighborhood has its own atmosphere, Grottes is more alternative, graffitis and shops and Saint-Jean is more familiar and calm.
I do not go often to these neighbourhoods, but I like some spots on each of them. They are on the right bank and close to the train station, very practical for daily commuters and people going often to Lausanne. As previously said, Grottes is more alternative, with a lot of commerces I like Nature en Vrac, there are also very cool architectural buildings that are great to explore and take photos.
Many people choose the option to live outside of Geneva, either to live in another canton like Vaud or across the border in the French side.
Both options are great if you are looking to have more space, be more on the country side and of course pay a lower rent.
People living in Vaud (Nyon, Gland and even Lausanne) either take the train or the car every day. The train is extremely reliable in Switzerland and many people commute every day from Canton to Canton. It is a great option for families wanted to have a garden or a house that is more affordable than in Geneva.
Many people also commute from France to Geneva to work everyday, it is very common and now it is much easier since we have the train CEVA or Leman Express that makes it easier to commute. This also gives access to a more affordable rent and savings on groceries, services etc.
Both options are easy access and can have a lot of benefits, the only negative thing would be the daily commute from one place to another.
Voila! This is all the information I have to give you an idea about the neighborhoods in Geneva before you move here.
If you are looking to move with your company or offices you can also use this service to look for a moving service. And use the same information to choose where to move depending on your needs.
Diana was born and raised in Mexico and considers Geneva her second home. She studied Hospitality at Les Roches School of Hotel Management in Switzerland and loves to share everything regarding food, travel, hotels and special spots. She hold several collaborations including Kempinski Hotels, Dorchester Collection Hotels, Forbes Travel Guide, Caviar House & Prunier and many more.
She writes at livingeneva.com, dianacasalis.com regularly and has occasional collaborations with: EasyJet magazine, Forbes & other blogs.