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Geneva and Villars Almanac

Geneva and Villars Almanac

By Susan Reifer
posted: 10/15/2001

  • GETTING TO GENEVA SwissAir and American Airlines fly direct to Geneva from New York's JFK Airport. A railway station in Geneva airport makes connections to downtown Geneva and outlying ski destinations a cinch.
  • GENEVA TO VILLARS Take the train to Bex, where you change trains for Villars. For timetables, check or call Rail Europe (800-848-7245). Ask about the special rates for visitors to Switzerland that allow unlimited rail travel. (Passes must be purchased stateside.)
  • SKI AREA STATS 75 miles of prepared pistes; 60 runs; 2,690 vertical foot drop; 45 lifts; 314-472 inches of snow at the summit; 118-300 in town. Lift tickets: $26/adults; $16/kids under 16. Four-of-five day passes, $99/adults, $60/kids under 16.
  • SLEEPING IN GENEVA *Rooms at the historic Beau-Rivage start at $360 (011-41-22-731-0221). In Old Town, check out Hôtel Les Armures, built in the 17th century; doubles start at $285 (011-41-22-310-9172). A good budget choice is Hôtel des Tourelles, with doubles from $80 per night (011-41-22-732-4423). Geneva Tourism offers weekend lodging packages, starting at $49, including breakfast and more. Contact Geneva Tourism, 011-41-22-909-7020;
  • DINING IN GENEVA Eleven of Geneva's 1,100 eateries are rated in the global gastronomist's bible, the Michelin Guide. Many say La Favola (15 Rue Jean-Calvin; 011-41-22-311-7437) serves the best food in town. Locals are faithful to the more reasonably priced northern Italian at Roberto (10 Rue Pierre-Fatio; 011-41-22-311-8033) and the perch filets (a local specialty) at Brasserie Lipp (8 Rue de la Confederation; phone 011-41-22-311-1011.)
  • SLEEPING IN VILLARS The five-star Grand Hotel du Parc is Villars' finest hotel ($105-$170, including breakfast; 011-41-24-496-2828; Four-star Eurotel Victoria features unusually spacious rooms ($65-$105, including breakfast; 011-41-24-495-3131). Families with kids may want to check out Club Med Villars sur Ollon (800-258-2633;
  • VILLARS DINING & APRÈS-SKI For French haute cuisine, reserve a table at La Parénthèse. For a genuine raclette experience, head to Refuge de Frience, 15 minutes from town by car in a high mountain pasture. Ten minutes away in Gryon, La Cremaillère serves light, French-influenced cuisine. Also in Gryon, the family-style L'Escale has game tables and serves pizza, fajitas and salads. Charlie's Bar hops at après. Boogie down all night at El Gringo.
  • OFF-HILL ACTIVITIES Villars and neighboring Gryon offer ice skating, indoor swimming, indoor tennis, bowling, more than 30 miles of cross-country ski trails, sledding tracks (called "sledging"), snowshoe tours, paragliding, heli sightseeing and more.
  • A GREAT DEAL Lake Geneva Tourism (011-41-24-495-3232; has Villars-Gryon packages, such as six days/seven nights from $525 per person in a three-star hotel, including half board and lift tickets, as well as free lodging and lift tickets for children under six.
  • INFORMATION Geneva Tourism, 011-41-22-909-7000; Villars-Gryon Tourist Office, 011-41-24-495-3232;
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