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Geneva - Shopping

Migros and COOP are the two main supermarkets in Geneva. Migros stocks their own house brands, and their outlets range from markets (smaller) to hypermarts. There are no cigarettes or alcohol sold in Migros – try COOP or other stores for such items. There is a Carrefour in Vernier (Route de Meyrin, 171). Aligro is a wholesale shop located in Acacias. Denner et pick pay is a discount grocery store chain, but do not expect a lot of choice here. Thursday nights supermarkets open till 9pm.

Many locals living in Geneva (and the Suisse Romande region as a whole) often hop over to France to grocery-shop on weekends, and it is something most expatriates would try at least once. French supermarkets are extremely well-stocked – the popular supermarket chains just across the border (apart from Carrefour) are Geant Casino, Intermarche, Champion and Leclerc. Groceries are generally cheaper in France than in Switzerland, but take note there are limits as to how much you can bring over into Switzerland on a daily basis. Another advantage of popping over to France to grocery shop is that several French supermarkets are open on Sundays.

For fresh produce, do try the local markets that offer a great selection of regional and local specialties and ingredients. There is a fruit and vegetable market at the rue du Grand Pre every Monday and Thursday (around 7am to 1pm). On Thursdays, organic fruit, vegetables, cheese and so on are sold at a market between avenue de Gallatin and chemin Francois-Furet, from 4pm to 8pm. French is commonly used in the markets.

For specialty products, try the American Market (3 rue de Neuchatel; Tel: 022 732 32 01) that stocks a decent range of products from the US. Maple syrup can be purchased at pharmacies.

Most stores in Geneva are open Mondays through Saturdays. To get the best range of fresh produce on Sundays, the markets are your best bet. Alternatively, you can buy groceries from the gas / petrol stations that are operated by Migrol – they carry a range of groceries from their sister supermarket chain, Migros. The Migros store in the train station is also open daily (8am to 8pm). Epiceries des Quatre Saisons at 1 rue Annexion is open daily from 630am to 8pm. Another possibility for food, beverages and newspapers is Au Jour et Nuit at 19, cours de Rive. This store is open Mondays to Thursdays from 6am to 2pm, and from 6am to 3pm on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays and Public Holidays, the store is open from 10am to 2pm. Magasin des Eaux Vives – Alimentation at 11 place des Eaux-vives is open until midnight from Sundays to Thursdays.

Shopping in Geneva is somewhat mixed experience for expatriates. Depending on your budget, you might find better buys across the border in France. For example, there are limited choices for discount outlets, and fresh produce is generally cheaper in France than in Switzerland. Still, there are good sales, for example, gourmet food items such as foie gras and champagne usually go on sale before the holiday season.

In Geneva, Balexert, La Praille (at 10, route des Jeunes, 1227 Carouge) and Chavannes Centre are some of the larger shopping malls, but they still pale in comparison to those found in neighboring France. For everyday clothes, there is Zara, Mango, H&M and Pimkie (the last two are popular with teenagers). Long-staying expatriates eventually do what the locals do – they take weekend shopping trips in France – just 10 minutes out of Geneva is French shopping mall Val Thoiry that is frequented by many Geneva residents. This is one stop for good buys (clothes, groceries and other household items). Other nearby French towns that are popular with Geneva residents for shopping are Annecy and Lyon.

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