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A curious tension exists in Geneva between dour intellectual concepts and breathtaking physical beauty, and you will probably find yourself torn between the urge to wander the quays and the sense that you ought to hit the museum trail. Don't choose: try to divide whatever time you have in the city equally between an extended stroll along the waterfront and a thorough exploration of the Vieille Ville.

Make time for the International Area if it interests you—never mind if it doesn't. Do not, however, skip Carouge, the creative, convivial warren of craftspeople and artists to the south of the city. Try to see some specialist collections (the Fondation Bodmer and the Patek Philippe Museum are stars), check out the Rues Basses shopping scene, and make sure that you go somewhere—Port Noir, the tip of the Jet d'Eau jetty, the cathedral towers, La Perle du Lac, Cologny—where you can see distance: Geneva genuinely does look equally good from up close and far away.