Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hotel de France Ferney-Voltaire; Hotel Taillard Goumois

In his old age Voltaire lived in the little village of Ferney, five miles from Geneva, so that if, as had often happened before, he got in trouble with the censorship, he would be able to make a quick escape into Switzerland. Today the modern, functional Hotel de France can be made to serve a somewhat different purpose: If one has business to transact in Geneva but is unwilling to pay the really astronomical prices that decent hotels in that city demand, this is an acceptable alternative. A double will cost you about $125 and you can be either in the city center or at the airport in less than ten minutes. But one caveat, unless you've rented a car on the Swiss side of the Geneva airport you'll be subjected to the scam that the Swiss have in place with their thruway stickers.

Goumois is a little village in the midst of a forest in the Jura, quite close to the Swiss border. The Hotel Taillard, owned for four generations by the same family, sits atop a plateau with a good view of the mountains. There's an outdoor pool and many hiking trails lead into the woods. While the rooms are rather small and the furnishings old fashioned the cuisine is a very good example of the French classical style. Half pension runs about 110 per person per day. This is a good place to unwind or a weekend if one has been working hard all week either in Switzerland or in Southwestern Germany; I used to come here from Konstanz and really enjoyed the change of pace and the food.

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