Archive for June, 2012

Geneva for Free


We’ve all heard the bleak refrain that usually accompanies the mention of living in Geneva: “It’s one of the most expensive cities in the world!”, cue unnerving mental add-ups and sweaty palms. This is a reputation which is as true as it is hard to shake off. Year after year, Geneva and Zurich feature high on this dreaded list, which sends shivers down the wallets of so many expats. It […]

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Summer in Geneva


Summertime in Geneva can seem like a very quiet affair to most expats since many foreign families tend to take the children back to their home-country during school holidays. However, Geneva is far from quiet in summer. On the contrary, it offers numerous fun activities for children and a host of great festivals and events that it would be a shame to miss. So, for all those still in town or planning a visit, here’s our best-of list ! […]

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Sunday Lunch “en famille”


French families traditionally spend long Sunday lunches together, with lots of verve and scrumptious food. Sundays can get a bit gloomy in France: shops are shut so people tend to head to the movies. For large families, it is the weekly occasion to get together with a guest of two (usually elderly relatives) over a lovely homemade meal to be shared after coming back from church. Here’s an example of what my mum used to serve us straight […]

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Vive la Classe Verte !

camps 4 M

If your children attend a French school, chances are they will be taken on a ‘classe verte’ during the month of June when school teachers take time to soak in the beautiful French countryside with the kids. A classe verte lasts between one or two weeks. The school chooses a “green” location with forests, rivers and – where possible – some historical remains nearby. During the classe verte, children follow a well-scheduled diary. […]

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Yoga in the Park


If you love yoga, or always wanted to try it but never had the chance, why not make the most of the glorious summer season in Geneva and join one of the Yoga in the Park courses starting on Monday 25th of June ? This great initiative is organised by l’association “2 B.E.” and has been going for three years. Courses are held at the Parc La Grange on the following days: Mondays […]

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Diabolo: a Festival for Children

Rikiko - Diabolo Festival

The Diabolo Festival for children in Morges (Canton Vaud) will open its doors for the first time on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th of June 2012. The aim of this unique festival is to introduce children aged 2-10 to the magic of performing arts, circus and theatre with an irresistible line-up, which will include the Swiss singer Gaëtan, Italian clowns I Baccalà, puppet shows from Théâtre Rikiko and Pop-up Cirkus along with storytelling by Contes-dits-du-bout-des-doigts. […]

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Meet La Maison de Colette


La Maison de Colette is definitely one of my favourite Geneva blogs. Created by Marion, a French mother-of-one and design consultant, it’s packed with fantastic style and design inspiration for mums living in Geneva. Last week we met up with Marion to learn more about her family life in Geneva and her stylish blog, here’s what she said: My family & I I am French, originally from Nantes, but I studied in Paris. […]

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French Terms of Endearment

cuddly toy

‘Céline, what are the pet names that French mums use for their children?’ asked my friend Michela. Of course! She probably heard them at school, the park or supermarket but wasn’t exactly sure what they were saying, so I thought back to all those French-flavoured sweet names: ‘mon p’tit canard’ (my little duckling), ‘mon p’tit lapin’ (my little bunny), ‘mon trésor’ (my treasure), ‘mon amour’ (my love), ‘ma poulette’ (my hen), ‘mon poussin’ […]

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Kristin on Trailing


Kristin Louise Duncombe  is a psychotherapist who specializes in working with international and expatriate families in Paris and Lyon. She is the author of Trailing: A Memoir, which chronicles her experience as a “trailing spouse” who followed her Médecins Sans Frontières husband to the frontlines of disaster and disease in East Africa. Find below an interview where she discusses “trailing,” being a Third Culture Kid (Duncombe grew up travelling the […]

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Walking the Jura

Window Box La Barillete - Copy

One of our favourite walks in the Jura is from St. Cergue  to La Barillette. As you look up to the Jura from Geneva, La Barillette is the red and white aerial tower to the right of the white golf-ball of La Dôle. Although steep in parts, the path takes you through stunning woodland, pastures and alpine meadows. Flower-lovers may spot (dependant on season) alpine versions of crocus, Canterbury bells, Alchemilla […]

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Sunday Market in Divonne


A trip over the border to the weekly market in the French spa town of Divonne-les-Bains  is a great way to begin your Sunday. If you are lucky and find a seat outside one of the cafes or bars like L’Aparté, order a beverage and watch the cosmopolitan throng juggle their bags of cherries, vine tomatoes, garlic bulbs, apricots and cherries. Saucisson with nuts, cèpes, peppercorns or simply nature? Perhaps […]

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Floral Pop-up Café


Do you love flowers, gardening and delicious cupcakes? If so make a note in your diary of this coming weekend’s outdoor event in Trélex, near Nyon (Canton Vaud). On Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th of June, renowned florist Rémy from Jaggi Garden Centre in Trélex will host an open-house of his flowers and plants business accompanied by a pop-up café run by The Heidi Bakery. Rémy and Heidi invite everyone to come along and see the beautiful Jaggi Garden Centre, stock […]

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I Art Geneva


I’ve always had a very soft spot for art and design so – whenever possible – I try to take my children to visit museums and exhibitions, especially when these offer special tours or workshops organised just for them. Many museums in Geneva do just that, so here’s a brief list of what’s on in town for your little budding artists: The MAMCO, Geneva’s Musée d’art moderne et contemporain is Switzerland’s biggest museum of contemporary […]

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The Tintin Connection


With the release of Spielberg’s 3D movie last year, cartoon-character Tintin has enjoyed a well-deserved revival. But did you know that there is a special connection between Hergé‘s hero and Geneva? I didn’t, so I am quite chuffed to add this to my list of Swiss trivia for buffs. It is in the 18th book of the Tintin series, “The Calculus Affair” (“L’Affaire Tournesol” in French) that the eponymous reporter […]

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Make a Splash!


Now that summer is finally here, what better way to enjoy the sunshine than let your little ones splash around in one of Geneva’s paddling pools, lake beaches or great lidos ? Free paddling pools Although we often say that life in Geneva is very expensive, did you know just how many free pataugeoires there are in the city? If you’d like to find out, the official Ville de Genève website has published […]

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An Expat Family in Lyon


Two rivers run through it: an expat family’s first year in Lyon When it was first proposed that I contribute a piece about visiting Lyon, France’s second city, my initial reaction was that I was hardly the right person to offer this insight. After all, there are many Lyon guidebooks that cover the Roman ruins, Fourvière, the museums, the verdant parc de la Tête d’Or and its zoo, the new ecological neighborhood […]

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Life in Annecy


Have you ever dreamt of moving to Annecy, one of France’s most beautiful cities known as the Venice of the Alps for its canals and waterways? If so, read our interview with local resident Brigitte, a French mother-of-three who’s also lived in England and the Philippines as an expat spouse. For those of you wishing to practice their language skills, we have left the original French text in, as well! GFD: […]

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Langue de Boeuf, Anyone? Or Why French Schools Won’t Allow Packed Lunches


A large white plate with two big floury potatoes, boiled. No butter, just a bit of gravy. The real attraction actually lies across the plate, textured and moist: a long brownish tongue, about 3 times the size of a human one. It’s a classic French delicacy: langue de boeuf (beef tongue). When I was little, dishes like this would feature in our school canteen from time to time. Nowadays, on […]

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How Teachers Can Shape You

Girl's own book

At the beginning there was a teacher in a classroom full of 14 year-old students, who were learning when to use the English auxiliary verb ‘shall’. “Un châle, pour les genoux” (a blanket for your knees = shall for ‘je’ & ‘nous’) she said, and instantly that made perfect sense. Making lessons interesting and engaging for children is no mean feat. How about translating Madonna’s songs? Fancy an overnight trip to London? My English teacher at school […]

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Supermarket Sweep, French-Style

Foie de morue

Here you are, living in a French village just across the border from Geneva, an expat landed in food-lovers’ heaven. Tantalising foodie treats are all around you: the local boulangerie, boucherie and farmer’s market but you’ll be surprised to learn what treasures lie hidden on the shelves of your local French supermarket. Set out with a short grocery list and you might be back with a Michelin map, a raclette grill, a new cookbook. […]

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Mums Rule the Playground

bubbly girl

We all had a favourite playground game when we were little, but can you keep up with your little expats as they attend French-speaking school? Here’s Céline’s own selection from when she was a child, enjoy! L’EPERVIER (THE SPARROWHAWK) A group of pupils choose one person to be the ‘hawk’. Everyone lines up at the end of a playground while the hawk stays in the middle. All at once ask the hawk […]

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Brunch at the Iris Gardens in Vullierens


Spring is my favourite season in Switzerland: the burst of vivid colours from the fields and gardens, which comes with the budding season, is truly unique. One of the most beautiful gardens near Geneva is, without a doubt, the Jardins du château de Vullierens in Canton Vaud. Vullierens is not far from Lausanne and only 60km from Geneva (approx. 1 hour by car). The celebrated iris gardens at the château de […]

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Caribana Festival: The Lights Are On!


Get your dancing shoes on for the 22nd edition of the Caribana Festival, which takes place this week from Wednesday the 6th of June till Sunday the 10th in Crans-sur-Nyon, Canton Vaud. This year’s line-up is looking pretty amazing with names such as Gossip, Lou Reed, Marina & the Diamonds and Charlie Winston set to get the mood going on one of Switzerland’s finest music festivals. With a unique mix of styles […]

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The Cascades du Hérisson

Lac du Val

I cannot believe that, although we have lived in Suisse Romande for six years, we’ve only just discovered an absolute gem so close to Geneva: the Cascades du Hérisson, located between Doucier and Bonlieu in the French region of Franche-Comté. This valley of 31 waterfalls and torrents is stunning and the drive from St Cergue/Les Rousses/Saint-Laurent-en-Grandvaux is beautiful (approx. 1.5 hours from Geneva, click here to see the map). You may be more familiar […]

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Out ‘n’ About with Baby in Geneva

August 2010 028

Little Miss Cutie is now 21 months-old and parading so much attitude and toddler-swagger that her baby days seem to belong to another decade, not just a few months ago. However, I decided to write about those times because I am sure it will be helpful to new expat mums moving to the area. There is nothing more wonderful, life-changing and friggin’ scary than having a baby and having to do […]

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