Ferney Voltaire is a small French town just across the border from Geneva. If you find yourself a bit lost for ideas on a Saturday morning or would like to try a new restaurant, take a look at our list of cool places in Ferney Voltaire that, incidentally, are also way cheaper than Geneva!
Beauty & Shopping:
- Institut Cristine, tucked away in a side street not far from the Swiss border, this is a really lovely beauty salon where you’ll be able to indulge in all kinds of wonderful treatments: pampering facials, massages, manis & pedis, alongisde laser hair removal, sunbeds and sci-fi cellulite treatments. For the brave: fish pedicures.
- Librairie Centrale, don’t be put off by its slightly dingy exterior. Yes, it doesn’t look like much from the outside but they do have a great selection of books for children (French, English and ‘readers’ for all levels) as well as Haba, Selecta and Lilliputiens toys. We like.
- Restaurant de la Truite it’s a modern but very cozy coffee/tea-room and shop (I think there’s also a restaurant upstairs), perfect for some mid-morning or afternoon treats.
- Saturday morning market, every Saturday morning from 8am to 12.30. It’s probably not the most picturesque market in France but you’ll still be able to find some delicious local cheese, fruit and veg, cold meats, tartes à l’oignon, roast chicken & duck with potatoes, sausages with cabbage and – of course – fresh oysters.
- Restaurant Istanbul, this small Turkish café has become our favourite take-away. They only have a few dishes on the menu but they’re utterly delicious: the bulgur is fluffy, the meat tender and the stuffed aubergines to die for. Everything is lovingly home-cooked and, in my book, that’s worth a million stars.
- Restaurant Le Chanteclair, I was tempted by the number of “recommended & rated” plaques outside the door so we ventured inside with Little Miss Cutie and had a scrumptious lunch. Shame I didn’t have my camera with me that day because the food was a truly mouthwatering combination of Mediterranean and exotic flavours, very beautifully presented. All their commendations and ratings are thoroughly deserved, and I am still beating myself for not spotting it years ago. They were also very accomodating and kind to Her Royal Toddlerness, which doesn’t always happen around here. A sign outside says they also have an outdoor garden for al fresco dining in the summer.
- Hotel de France, just around the corner from Le Chanteclair, this is another delectable restaurant with all the right ratings in all the right places. I did bring my camera with me this time so feast your eyes on these succulent dishes!
The food is traditional French (no fusion or exotic influences here) and lip-smackingly good. They even serve…wait for it…
…chunky, home-made chips, British-pub style! How I miss those…because, let’s be honest, when it comes to chips size really does matter.
- Restaurant Made in Sushi on Place de l’Eglise (right in the centre of Ferney) is a cool, modern sushi bar where you’ll find all the classics but also some new rolls with a definite French influence: maki foie gras with fig chutney and salmon spring rolls with chives. Mais oui.
History & Culture:
Last, but by no means least, this pretty French town is not called Voltaire by accident. In 1759 the Enlightment writer and philosopher Voltaire left Calvinist Geneva, purchased the estate of Ferney and proceeded to set up potteries and a watchmaking cottage industry here, building a theatre and the local church as well.
Voltaire lived in Ferney for 20 years and his mansion, known as the Chateau Ferney, can still be visited today. They open to the public on the 31st of March until the 4th of November, check the chateau website for full details.
Take a look at Ferney Voltaire’s official website for more cultural events coming up this winter.
If you have young children, click on the Théâtre Micromégas’ website for information about puppet shows and story-telling sessions. The Théâtre Micromégas is located at 24bis rue de Meyrin, Ferney Voltaire. Ticket prices are 5 euros for children and 7 euros for adults.