Dan's Guide to Visiting CERN & Living in Geneva

Important General Tips!

Money Exchange

What ever you are tempted to do, DO NOT exchange money with Travelex or any other company at or around the airport, nor in England, or Switzerland (or anywhere for that matter I would imagine!). They rip you off big time, with seemingly low commission, but terrible exchange rates!!!

There is a RBS Bank point in the main lobby that will accept your card, which is attached to Restaurant 1 (R1), they give good rates (almost straight exchange) and even let you exchange your money debited as GBP so you do not incur charges from your bank! Excellent.

Make sure you call your bank the first time you travel to CERN, to let them know you will be using your card abroad. From then on your card will be activated for abroad use, if you don't do this, you run the risk of having your card blocked while you're out there!

Also be aware you need Swiss Francs (CHF) for Switzerland, and Euros for France, this can get annoying!

Free Bus on Arrival

When you arrive at Geneva Airport, just after you have picked up your luggage but BEFORE you go through any doors leading out towards the foyer and ultimately the exit, there is a machine that dispenses free bus tickets, remember this is located by the door going from the baggage pickup to the airport foyer. The tickets last one hour, ideal for getting to wherever you need to go when you arrive, and meaning you don't have to worry about having CHF / change, before you arrive.

The bus stop you will most likely need to get anywhere (i.e. CERN) will be the one on the corner as you leave the airport. For vague instructions, after you pass from baggage collection to the foyer, turn left, following signs for buses, eventually you will reach a yellow escalator, go up this, and at the top come back on yourself, exit that way and you will pretty much be standing at the bus stop.

Bus Routes

Airport to CERN: Take the (28) to Saint-Cecile, then the (56) to CERN.

CERN to L'Athenee: Take the (56) to Avanchet, then the (29), (14), or (16) to Lyon, from there simply take the (3) to Perchais.

A map with all the bus routes on can be found here:

Bus Routes for Geneva


You will need adapter plugs for Switzerland, the best way is to get a UK to Europe Adapter, and then a Europe to Swiss Apapter, putting the two together, I can never find a straight UK to Swiss one. Plus if you get a UK to Europe one while in the UK, the small shop next to the bank in building 500, sells Europe to Swiss Adapters.

UK Liaison

These people are your Friends!! If you want to live somewhere nice and not in a box, it is a good idea to be very polite and patient with them!!! They have a lot of people coming and going for LTA, so they are very busy people, but if you do right by them, help and co-operate with them, then they will do right by you too.

The UK Liaison Office is conveniently located down one floor from the RHUL Office (Turn left out of the office, go down one flight of stairs, take the first left, walk down a corridor to a sort of overlook, take another left, and they are along there!)

I advise you to go and show your face the first trip you make to CERN, so they get to see your face, and that you are a nice person worth housing somewhere good! :)

I have provided a link to the UK Liaison Website in the LTA section, below I put two useful e-mail contacts:

Head of the UK Liaison Office: Mary.Shewry@cern.ch (I would meet her in person before e-mail so she knows who you are)

Deputy of the UK Liaison Office: Celine.Le.Bon@cern.ch (All initial enquiries should probably go through Celine)

Visiting CERN


There are a lot of buildings on site at CERN, all helpfully numbered, but unhelpfully randomised to ensure no bias in the monte carlo. Therefore initially a map is essential, you can pick these up from the security office, or hostel, but I recommend just printing one off before you go using the link below;

CERN Map Building Overview
CERN Map for Typical Use

Some useful buildings:

Building 40 - Meeting and Conference Room (Most ATLAS meetings will be in here)
Building 39 - On Site Hostel
Building 37 - On Site Hostel
Building 32 - RHUL Office (NB We are Office 2-B06 & 2-B08)
Building 500 - Main Foyer (Where the Bank, User's Office, Main Auditorium and R1 are)

Time & Location of Meetings

The CERN/ATLAS Website has a usual page showing all the meetings for that day, and a calender so you can look ahead, it can be found here:


CERN Taxi Service to Airport

One of the nice things is that you are able to get a Taxi back to the airport from CERN for free!

More information can be found on this website:

CERN Taxi Service

The CERN to Airport Taxi's run basically every Hour & Half Past the Hour. In fact, you can order a shuttle to go anywhere on the CERN Main Site too!

Living in Geneva

Map of Geneva

Here is a useful map of Geneva;

Geneva Google map

Printing it off might be a little extreme, but be sure to pick one up from the UK Liaison Office, or possibly even the airport. A Free one will suffice. When I get enough experience myself I will scan a map in, with all the best places to visit marked on! But this will come in time.

Long Term Attachment (LTA)

The UK Liaison Office has a newly setup website to help with all your frequently asked LTA questions, and initial help & procedures you have to go through when coming out for LTA, their website can be found here:

UK Liaison / LTA Website

As said above, they are very friendly people, and will endeavor to answer any questions you might have.


Questions & Comments?

Please feel free to post Questions & Comments below, which I will endeavor to Answer and add to the page.

This topic: PP/Public > TWikiUsers > DanielHayden > DanielHaydenCERNTips
Topic revision: r4 - 16 Oct 2009 - DanielHayden
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