The month of March in Geneva marks not only the gentle awakening of nature leading into spring, but also the opening of some unmissable events that decidedly bring the city of international diplomacy out of its winter lull.
Have your agendas at the ready for our own rundown of the month’s hottest events in and around Geneva!
Geneva’s 82nd International Motor Show
Geneva is home to Europe’s only annual automobile show, which launched in 1905 and has since been the backdrop for the biggest car premieres in the world. Now in its 82nd edition, the Geneva International Motor Show will be taking place from March 8-18, 2012, at the Palexpo-Geneva. With 260 exhibitors ready to present their new products and latest developments over an incredible exhibition space of 110,000 square meters, this year’s show is set to be a definite winner.
The secret of its success and longevity is, according to many, the fact that this is one of the most representative motor shows in the industry. Thanks to its “neutral” approach (we’re in Switzerland, after all!) space and position are wisely allocated to ensure fairer exposure for everyone, from smaller brands and specialty makers to manufacturing giants.
This year, the Green Pavillion, dedicated to all the latest ecological developments, will also allow visitors to test drive 16 different models of 100% electrical vehicles. Last but by no means least, remember that if you decide to travel by train to the Geneva’s motorshow (and save yourself hours stuck in traffic), you will receive 10% discount from Swiss Railways on single and return tickets to the exhibition.
Versoix 8th Chocolate Festival
Expat chocoholics must head to the 8th Festival du Chocolat in the pretty lakeside town of Versoix, located 10km (or one train stop) northeast of Geneva. The festival, which is the largest of its kind in the Suisse Romande, will take place on Saturday/Sunday, March 24/25, 2012, and will offer a varied, delectable programme of chocolate-centred activities.
A marquis measuring 1,000 square meters will host the “Salon des Artisans”, providing the means for over 20 elite artisans chocolatiers from Switzerland and neighbouring France to display their amazing skills.
This is where the magic happens: Chocolate fountains flow incessantly, new chocolate flavours can be tasted, delicious chocolate creations can be bought. The festival will also include a unique exhibition of chocolate sculptures, chocolate-making sessions for children, an Easter egg-hunt and free rides on the shuttle chocotrains!
Versoix is also home to one of the few independent chocolate factories still operating in Switzerland and the oldest in Canton Geneva: Chocolats Favarger.
During the Chocolate Festival, they will open their doors to the public for a series of special guided tours of the working factory. Spaces are limited, so you must book in advance to ensure you won’t miss out on this unique Willy Wonka experience!
Audrey Hepburn Celebrations
Audrey Hepburn, one of the most iconic Hollywood stars of all times, was a long-time resident of Tolochenaz near Morges. She lived here for over 30 years until her death in 1993. This is where she was laid to rest and to this day her most dedicated fans undertake the pilgrimage to visit her grave and her home.
As 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of her death, the town of Morges will host a series of events as a tribute to Audrey Hepburn, including a special exhibition, movie screenings, concerts and a previously unseen documentary.
These celebrations, dedicated to Hollywood sweetest and most elegant darling, will begin on the 16th of March and run until the 25th of November 2012, so - if the quintessential doe-eyed waif stole your heart in Roman Holiday or Breakfast at Tiffany’s - don’t miss these unique events and visit www.foraudrey-morges.ch and www.troispetitstours.ch for further information.
Annecy Venetian Carnival
Finally, one of the most amazing events which takes place close to Geneva during the month of March is the annual Annecy Venetian Carnival.
Annecy is a truly beautiful French town located within a short drive from the "City of Calvin" and is well worth a visit. Only 35 km south of Geneva, this charming ville fleurie is known, befittingly, as the Venice of the Alps. Exceptionally well-preserved medieval quarters unfold through a series of intricate canals, shaded by bridges over-flowing with brightly coloured geraniums and arcaded streets.
It is in this perfect alpine setting that Annecy Venetian Carnival will take place from March 2-4, 2012, filling its medieval alleys with over 350 sumptuous Venetian masks who will stroll leisurely along the streets of the old town, allowing visitors to admire and photograph them.
This is our summary of the best events taking place in and around Geneva in March. We hope you will enjoy an unforgettable visit!
(Photographs copyright by Jônia Miranda)