Yvoire is a small medieval town in the southeast of France that looks like it was created for a Disney princess movie set. Vibrant green ivy hugs onto buildings with wooden shudders and flower boxes, cobblestones guide you down quiet (car free!) streets, and boats sit in the harbor.
In that same harbor, CGN boats take you from Geneva to Yvoire and back again! The journey is about two hours to get from point A to B, and the views are gorgeous as you take in Lake Geneva by boat. It is very important to look up the boat schedule for when you are travelling, and take note of the last boat from Yvoire back to Geneva (as that is something you do NOT want to miss!) Click on the CGN link below to find boat times:
When you arrive, walk to Jardin des Cinq Sens (Garden of Five Senses). True to its name, the garden houses plants that invoke the five senses. For example, there is a section of the garden that has aesthetically pleasing plants, a section that is comprised of interesting plants to touch (it was very fascinating touching a fuzzy leaf!), an area that is quite aromatic, etc. The people who work at the Garden are extremely nice, and explain a map that is given to you at the beginning of your visit. CJ and I visited towards the end of May, and it was the perfect time to see wonderful greenery, roses that crawled across stone, and bees a buzzing. Also note that it was not crowded at all when we arrived at noon on a Tuesday, and we had little pockets of the garden to ourselves.
It takes about an hour to experience Jardin des Cinq Sens, but you can always stay longer. On the website, there is even a note that says you can visit before lunch, leave for food, and come back if you are so inclined. There is also a darling garden shop, filled with plants for purchase, books on gardening, and sweet jars filled with things like honey. For rates and more helpful information, see the link below:
For lunch, head to La Terrasse, a restaurant with delicious and insanely fresh menu items that is down a side street next to Jardin des Cinq Sens. We sat outside and it was incredibly relaxing. For more information:
Then spend the rest of the day walking around the Old Town. Historical sights are the Church of St. Pancras and the Yvoire Castle, a chateau you can see from the boat. The former kitchen garden of the castle is actually where Jardin des Cinq Sens resides! Sprinkled on every street are shops filled with art, woven baskets, scarves (which is something I picked up), antiques, and souvenirs. We spent the afternoon walking in and out of the stores, sitting on benches taking in the views, and walking down to the water. CJ and I both had sorbet at Une Glace a Yvoire two times in the afternoon. We could not get enough!
Yvoire has celebrated its 700 years in 2006, and stands the test of time. (Some of the houses are truly from the Middle Ages and are not replicas.) It is charming, romantic, and beautifully preserved. Hop on a boat and see the town for yourself!