An antidote to big-name chain cafés and a pocket of calm amid the bustle of Rue de Carouge, Les Recyclables is a delight. Half café, half second-hand bookshop, it lures you in for a drink or lunch and tempts you with a selection of new reading material. The café itself is friendly and cheerful, with purple and orange chairs, fairy lights strewn around the windows and table centrepieces of wild heather. The food is imaginative and well-presented, and there’s a well-priced dish of the day each lunchtime. On selected evenings you’ll be serenaded as you eat by invited musicians – jazz, bossa nova, Brazilian ‘choro’ – while the café also hosts regular lectures, debates and literary evenings.
There’s a huge variety of cafés in Geneva, from American-style coffee bars to English tearooms, quirky park cafés and old-fashioned places packed with character, history – and some of the most interesting decor in Geneva. Coffee culture is as refined here as any city in Europe, and what most Geneva cafés have in common is a preference for outdoor seating, ideal for people-watching in the Swiss sun all year round. Get under the skin of the Genevois by heading into the neighbourhoods of Plainpalais, Les Grottes and Bains to watch the world go by from a street corner café, mingle with tourists and locals in the Old Town or mix with a real cross-section of society at the ever-popular lakeside Buvette des Bains des Pâquis.