(posted July 8, 2008)
I spent a couple of days in Geneva in July, 2008. Mainly used the city as a base, starting and ending there; in between, we traversed a fair bit of Western and Southern Switzerland, and Italy... but more on that later.
Geneva is at once pretty, and dirty (for a Swiss city), touristy (in a nice way) as well as just another big city. Taking the train from the Geneva airport to get to the city shows some grime. A far better way is to drive in; all at once you will experience the lake, the fountain, the wonderfully and warmly lighted up city, and the marquee names (Rolex, Tissot, Brietling - all have horribly big signs overlooking the lake and road coming in from the east).
Geneva's Fountain is quite cool - it is a single high plume, lighted from below so that the water is well lit up. During the 2008 Euros in June, the fountain had a football at the top. Of course if you've been to Vegas, you were probably spoiled by the fountains at the Bellagio. Don't compare - this one is quite nice on its own. And it even has a story, instead of just being a brain-child of some uber city-planning cabal. The story I heard told of a fire hydrant being knocked over; the resulting fountain attracted a lot of people, and voila!
The park near the fountain, next to the lake is really nice. In summer, it always seemed full of people relaxing and enjoying, some jugging and exercising, others dancing (semi-organized dances are held often in the park). The ice cream you get at the park is really really good, per Carina - wish I had gotten to taste it!
The Old Town is ok. The food is quite expensive, and in the ok to good range. A little bit to see there by walking around, but I didn't get the same feel of the old town as I did with other Swiss or European towns.