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Born and raised in Geneva, Joël Dicker is a novelist who takes great pride in the city of his roots.
Though the plots of his first two thrillers are set in the US, Dicker’s highly anticipated new book, The Enigma of Room 622, proudly places the action and characters in his home town, where he continues to live and work. “Geneva is a quiet but very buzzing city,” he says. “I love the fact that its small size makes it very enjoyable to live in or visit – and there’s so much to do.” Here, the 35-year-old shares his favourite Geneva haunts, restaurants, neighbourhoods and views.
“I absolutely love this place. It’s a little rocky beach on Lake Geneva filled with paddleboarders. You feel like you’re in California. And on the lake, you have the most incredible view of Geneva, with the mountains behind. I love to come here, paddle for a little while, then eat a delicious burger at the little shack, watching the sun set.”
“This is a fantastic restaurant in Cologny, the ritzy neighborhood of Geneva. In the summer, it’s where you’ll find one of the most beautiful views you can imagine. In winter, they have a ‘little chalet’, serving typically Swiss dishes such as fondue au fromage.”
“Who comes to Geneva and doesn’t want to try some good chocolate? This is one of the oldest chocolate shops in the city – I came here with my grandparents when I was a kid to drink hot chocolate. Now, 30 years later, I’m one of its investors.
“Since it was founded in 1875, Du Rhône’s maîtres chocolatiers have been creating delicious Swiss chocolate by hand. I love the Noble Rhône – it’s shaped like a mountain and filled with praline.”
“This little Italian grocery shop has a restaurant in the back, and it’s a must-see, full of the most delicious food and wine. Even though it’s all about Italian food, your welcome will be very Swiss. You’ll be greeted warmly, and if you sit at a table, all the customers say hello. It’s lovely for a nice long lunch with friends – sadly it’s not open for dinner, but lunch is served all day. Try the spaghetti cacio e pepe – it’s proof that this is the best Italian restaurant in Geneva.”
“Carouge is a charming neighbourhood with an abundance of delightful little shops and restaurants. It’s almost like being in a different country, partly because, until the end of the 19th century, the area was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. So it’s a city within a city, and the architecture looks straight out of an Italian village. If you want to eat a Swiss dish, try the Vieux-Carouge restaurant – it’s a typical Swiss eatery, but the cheese fondue is the best in Geneva. Afterwards, I love to stroll the streets, making sure I take in Place du Marché for an Italian ice cream.”
“A popular French restaurant where you’ll feel like you’re in another world. The atmosphere is wonderful, the food stands out, and you’ll enjoy a selection of Swiss meat cooked in a French way. I love their creamy fish delicacy quenelle de brochet, and the Paris Brest pastry is a must. Also try the île flottante – I guarantee you won’t have seen a dessert quite like it.”
“Fondation Martin Bodmer is, quite simply, one of the greatest museums in the world. It’s a museum of manuscripts, laying out the entire history of civilisation through the history of writing. From ancient hieroglyphs to the latest novels, it showcases the most amazing pieces of writing.”