advertisement

Babysitters -- A list of agencies is available at the tourist office. Most of the expensive hotels will also secure an English-speaking babysitter for you, or you can call Chaperon Rouge (tel. 022/304-04-82), an organization associated with the Red Cross responsible for teaching young girls about child-care rituals. Some students make themselves available for babysitting in either a private home or a hotel room; the service is particularly pertinent for sick children.

Bookstore -- One of the largest in Geneva is the well-stocked Payot, 5, rue Chantepoulet (tel. 022/731-89-50; www.payot.ch), with a good selection of books in French, German, and English.

Business Hours -- Most banks are open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm (until 5:30pm Wed). Most offices are open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm, although this can vary. It's always best to call first.

Consulates -- If you lose your passport or have other business with your home government, go to your nation's consulate: United States, 7, rue Versonnex (tel. 022/840-51-60); Australia, 2, chemin des Fins (tel. 022/799-91-00); Canada, 5, av. de L'Ariana (tel. 022/919-92-00); New Zealand, 2, chemin des Fins (tel. 022/929-03-50); the United Kingdom, 58, av. Louis Casaï, Cointrin (tel. 022/918-24-00).

Currency Exchange -- In a city devoted to banking and the exchange of international currencies, you'll find dozens of places to exchange money in Geneva. Three of the most visible outlets, however, are run by UBS-SA, one of the country's largest banking conglomerates. You'll find a branch at the Gare Cornavin, 12, place Cornavin (tel. 022/375-33-47), that's open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm; a branch at the Cointrin Airport (tel. 022/306-14-88) that's open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm; and a downtown branch at 75, rue du Rhône (tel. 022/375-75-75) that's open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm. The branches in the airport and in the railway station also house "money-automats" -- you receive an equivalent amount of Swiss francs for every $20, $50, or $100 bill you insert into the machine.

Dentist -- English-speaking dentists are available at one of the cliniques dentaires at 5, chemin de Malombré (tel. 022/346-64-44; www.malodent.ch), open daily from 8am to 7pm.

Doctor -- If you become ill and want to consult a doctor, including one who will travel to your hotel, call tel. 022/322-20-20; or arrange an appointment with an English-speaking doctor at the Hôpital Cantonal, 22, rue Micheli-du-Crest (tel. 022/372-33-11).

Drugstores -- Each night a different set of four drugstores stays open either till 9 or 11pm. Call tel. 144 or 111 to find out which drugstore will be open. One of the world's biggest drugstores, Pharmacie Principale, in Confédération-Centre, 8, rue de la Confédération (tel. 022/318-66-60), sells everything from medicine to clothing, perfumes, optical equipment, cameras, and photo supplies. It's open daily 9am to 9pm.

Emergencies -- In an emergency, dial tel. 117 for the police, tel. 144 for an ambulance, or tel. 118 to report a fire.

Eyeglasses -- You can go to Visi-Lab in the Confédération-Centre, 8, rue de la Confédération (tel. 022/318-66-80).

Hospitals -- A prime choice for medical aid is the Geneva University Hospital, 24, rue Micheli-du-Crest (tel. 022/372-33-11; www.hug-ge.ch). Most physicians speak English and German.

Lost Property -- Go to the Service Cantonal des Objets Trouvés, 5, rue des Glacis-de-Rive (tel. 022/546-09-00), open Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 4pm.

Luggage Storage/Lockers -- Luggage can be stored and lockers rented at the main railroad station, Gare Cornavin, place Cornavin (tel. 0900/022-021).

Newspapers & Magazines -- Newspapers in Geneva are printed in French, but the latest copies of the International Herald Tribune, USA Today, the New York Times, and the Washington Post are available at most newsstands and in large hotel newsstand kiosks. And if you're planning on moving to Geneva, or spending more than a month here, consider acquiring a copy of the Guide to English-Speaking Geneva, which is available free at the American Library .

Police -- In an emergency, call tel. 117. For nonemergency matters, call tel. 022/327-41-11.

Post Office -- There's a limited Office de Poste at Gare Cornavin, 16, rue des Gares (tel. 0848/888-888), open Monday to Friday from 6am to 10:45pm, Saturday from 6am to 8pm, and Sunday from noon to 8pm. A better bet is the city's main post office, Bureau de Poste Montbrillant, rue des Gares (tel. 022/739-23-58), which offers a full range of telephone, telegraph, and mail-related services Monday to Friday from 8am to 10:45pm, Saturday 8am to 10pm, and Sunday noon to 8pm.

Safety -- Geneva is one of the safest cities in the world, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take the usual precautions when traveling anywhere. Protect your valuables. Car thefts have been on the rise. High-class prostitutes and confidence swindlers proliferate in Geneva to prey on the well-heeled.

Taxes -- There is no special city tax, other than the 7.6% value-added tax (VAT) attached to most goods and services throughout Switzerland.

Telegrams, Telex & Fax -- Virtually every post office in Geneva maintains a handful of tele-cabines where you can pay cash for a phone call to anywhere in the world, but the densest concentration of these phones lies within the main railway station, Gare Cornavin, place Cornavin (it's open 24 hr. a day). Within less than a block, you'll find additional phones in the Office de Poste Montbrillant, 16, rue des Gares (tel. 0848/888-888), which is open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Sunday noon to 8pm. Either site can send telegrams or faxes for you.

Tipping -- Most restaurants and hotels, even taxis, add a service charge of between 10% and 15% to your bill, so, strictly speaking, no further tipping is necessary. Tipping rituals have evolved recently, within Geneva to reflect practices within neighboring France, so today, many diners leave a few coins -- we established guidelines of around 2F extra for each member of a dining party, merely as a sign of respect for your waitstaff, but only if the service was adequate.

Toilets -- You'll find public facilities at all rail and air terminals and on main squares. Otherwise, you can patronize those in cafes and other commercial establishments such as department stores.

Transit Information -- For train information, call tel. 0900/300-300 (www.sbb.ch) from anywhere in Switzerland. Contact the airport at tel. 022/717-71-11. For bus information Monday to Friday from 8am to 9pm, dial tel. 0900/022-021; for information on Saturday and Sunday, call tel. 022/308-34-34.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.