Les Grottes is a Geneva that you do not expect, quite far from the image the city projects, as destination for high profile tourists who come for skiing or for enjoying a relaxing holiday by the lake. This neighborhood is the less dressed up face of Geneva, more eccentric and nonconformist, mainly residential, but that opens its doors to visitors hosting artists’ studios, cafes and second hand shops.
The structure of the houses is designed to encourage the gathering of the community with small squares, leafy corners, hidden stairs that connect the buildings, tables and benches that create a sort of open-air living room. Its community during the years has played a key role in defending the preservation of the area and in creating a strong sense of identity and belonging. Due to its peculiar architecture, this neighborhood is also known as The Schtrumpfs Buildings (The Smurfs Buildings).
Winter might not be the best time to take a walk by the lake or to stroll down the several parks that can be found around the city. During the winter period, as Geneva is located on a valley, the sun might shine brightly on the top of the surrounding mountains, but the city will be covered by a thick layer of white clouds.
We found our perfect shelter at the MAMCO The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Geneva, and at the close Centre D’Art Contemporain Geneve, that at the time of our visit was hosting the Biennale de l’Image en Mouvement, that had transformed the Center in a daze of curtains, each one hiding a different screening.