Geneva: Ideally Ideal
Swiss Geneva is a city of international business and governance. Carefully protected by mountains life here flows like a water in the lake: never on fire.
They speak French with gorgeous Suisse romande accent which is very gentle and funny. Once a famous actor Michel Simon (1895-1978), said, that unfortunately in Geneva they did not have the museum of language dialect and accent. He confessed that every time when he wanted to listen to the music he called by phone to hear sweet voice of phone operators.
Living in the city of international agenda where 41% of population are foregners speaking 2 or more languages at home the Genevans perfectly speak English. However you will please their ears trying to express something in French. Sometimes during conversation if you speak English they will answer in French showing you the real attitude to language. You should accept that. Don’t be afraid to speak and make mistakes, they will understand.
I remember how I embarrassed I felt once being once stopped by a guy in the street after dropping a short “Bonjour” to him: “Please, chere mademoiselle. Pouvez vous répéter vos “R”?” French here is in the core of everything: language, lifestyle, jokes. Another thing is politeness.
They respect personal distance but it is normal to smile and say “Bonjour” while you walk in the street and approach someone quite close. This small thing always sometimes surprises people coming from the East. However I would say it influences the mind: when you once try to speak their way it becomes your habit. Geneva is calm.
Maybe too calm for those who got used to a noisy life and the rhythm of a megapolis. But when you climb St.Pierre Cathedral’s steps to see the roofs of the city below, the mountains at the horizon, listening to the winds’ whisper, you will say this is an ideally ideal place.