The Summer of Catherine Fiankan-Bokonga, correspondent at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

25 July 2014

Catherine Fiankan-Bokonga is a correspondent (France 24, Radio Vatican & various African media) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. She is also the Vice-President of the Foreign Press Association in Switzerland and Liechtenstein (APES). Here, she tells us about her work over the summer months, her holiday plans as well as her favourite books, music and places to visit in the Geneva area this summer.

What are you working on this summer?

International Geneva’s events and news never stop, so I will continue to cover what takes place at the United Nations and in other specialized agencies. Nevertheless, the rhythm of the conferences slows down during the summer, which allows me to go deeply into certain subjects. I will take advantage of this period to take time to write longer articles and travel to the field (Mali and Ukraine).

Holiday plans?

I hope I can take a few days of rest in my parent’s house which is situated on the Belgian coast, in Knokke-le-Zoute, in Flanders.

Dunes, beach as far as the eye can see, English-Norman style villas, walks in “Zwin”, one of Europe’s biggest nature reserves, waffles and seafood are always the perfect elements to get fresh ideas.

What do you take the opportunity to do in Geneva during the summer?

I love the summer in Geneva! The city abounds in cultural events and everybody takes time to live. I like having an aperitif with friends in Pâquis, picnicking in the Parc de la Perle du Lac before one of the Ciné-transat projections or dinner on a terrace at Carouge.

Do you have a place you really love, in Geneva or in the surrounding area?

I particularly like the garden which leads towards the restaurant “La Perle du Lac”. It is there that I took my first steps and my daughter’s first walks also took place there. Whatever the season, the view of the lake from this point of the bank is magnificent.

I like the maxim inscribed on the chalet which houses the restaurant: “Happy the one who on these edges can rest for a long time, Happy the one who sees them again if he had to leave them” …

How about a summer book recommendation for our readers?

For those who like travelling, I recommend “The Strange Journey of Mister Dalry” by Marc Levy. The story brings you from the mists of London to the sunny alleys of Istanbul.

“The Night of the Seraglio” by Michel de Grèce, an historical novel that never tires me. You devour it without really noticing the line between truth and imagination because the heroine, the cousin of Joséphine de Beauharnais, really existed.

“The Prince’s Act,” Amélie Nothomb’s novel where the description of a cellar inspires those who cannot envisage life without champagne.

And on the music scene?

At the moment, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams to start the day in a good mood, Wolfgang Amadeus’s Mozart requiem to concentrate and all the songs by the British singer, Adèle.