What’s On in December 2016

The countdown to Christmas has begun and we have a fab list of events coming up in the area during the festive season: from ice-skating to fabulous Xmas markets, this is wonderful time of year in French-speaking Switzerland.

Remember to keep checking these listings regularly as we will be updating this post with more events each week!

KEEP ACTIVE THIS DECEMBER:

  • 2nd-3rd December 2016: 39th edition of the Course de l’Escalade in Geneva. The Christmas spirit is spreading fast in Switzerland and winter sports are a huge part of it. Notwithstanding the very cold weather, one of Geneva’s most famous winter sporting events is the Course de l’Escalade, taking place in the city’s old town. This race is open to everyone: professional runners to beginners, children and adults alike. Distances vary between 2km to 8km depending on the category and consist of 1, 2 or 3 laps. All races take place in the narrow streets of the old town and finish at the Parc de Bastion. The non-competitive Marmite Race is the highlight of the event. All those who take part run the 3,4 km together, dressed-up in a fancy costume and they definitely try to outdo each other with their fun, original choices! This is a fun day-out for the whole family, so be there if you can. You can read about last year’s Escalade Race in our previous post.
© 2016 Course de l'Escalade, Geneva

© 2016 Course de l’Escalade, Geneva

 

  • Saturday 10th December 2016: Christmas Family Run in Divonne-les-Bains (France). This is a family relay race to benefit the “Enfance et Cancer” association. Take part in the run or just attend as a spectator: this is going to be a great day-out for the whole family – there will be an ice sculptures exhibition, free concerts, hot chocolate, fun activities and much more. The run is open to every family composed of a man, a woman and a child (the young participant must be the child of one the 2 adults), and to individuals who’d like to run the male/female individual races. Registration fee is €29 per family at Divonne’s Tourist Office.
© 2015 Office de tourisme de Divonne-les-Bains

© 2015 Office de tourisme de Divonne-les-Bains

 

  • Saturday 10th December 2016: Christmas Midnight Run in Lausanne (Place de la Riponne). Join this midnight race & dress up as Father Xmas if you wish, you can run alone, with friends, colleagues or as a family. From 6pm, visit the official website for full programme details.
© Christmas Midnight Run Lausanne

© Christmas Midnight Run Lausanne

 

  • Sunday 18th December 2016: Coupe de Noël at the Jardin Anglais in Geneva. This is a unique and long-standing sport’s event in the city of international peace, now in its 78th edition. Watch as hundreds of people jump into the freezing lake for the world’s biggest swimming race in open waters. Participants include the so-called “groupes humouristiques” who participate wearing weird & wonderful costumes (including Santa hats!). Click here for the full programme. The first group will jump into the lake at 9am, Santa will arrive at around 10am with plenty of gifts for the little ones.
Coupe de Noël. Copyright © Genève Tourisme

Coupe de Noël. Copyright © Genève Tourisme

 

FIND YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE AND THE BEST XMAS MARKETS IN GENEVA

The Ville de Genève – Officiel facebook page has published this very useful list of of the Xmas trees markets in Geneva and the Xmas markets in town, which will be open in the next few weeks.

Take a look and go find your Xmas tree!—–>Marchés aux sapins et Marchés de Noël

 

WAITING FOR CHRISTMAS

Whether you believe it or not, you CAN visit Santa’s house at the Hameau du Père Noël in Andilly (France) all year round (a secret probably worth keeping from the little buttons…). You can find out more about our visit to Santa’s house in Andilly in our previous post. For exact opening times and ticket prices, take a look at their official website.

© 2015 Le Hameau du Père Noël (officiel)

© 2015 Le Hameau du Père Noël (officiel)

 

The House of Santa Claus at Rochers-de-Naye nestled at an altitude of 2042 metres above Montreux (VD) opened on the 24th of November 2016. Don’t miss the Santa Claus train, face-painting sessions, stories and photos with Santa!

Having been to both Santa’s abode in Andilly (FR) and Rochers de Naye (CH), we personally think that Andilly is better for younger children: it’s easily accessible and there’s a lot more to see inside Santa’s house. Rochers-de-Naye is probably best enjoyed with older children, who can be patient and sit still during the train ride up as well as appreciate the stunning mountain-top view over Montreux.

However, we’re very happy to share a great tip from Masha Bobyleva who recommends to drive up to the Christmas Village and take the train up to Santa’s House from there. The train ride from the Christmas Village is only 5 minutes and much easier to enjoy with young children than the longer ride from Montreux.

La véritable Maison du Père Noël, Rochers-de-Naye (VD). Photo © Montreux Noël

La véritable Maison du Père Noël, Rochers-de-Naye (VD). Photo © Montreux Noël

 

La véritable Maison du Père Noël, Rochers-de-Naye (VD). Photo © Montreux Noël

La véritable Maison du Père Noël, Rochers-de-Naye (VD). Photo © Montreux Noël

 

SKIING & SLEDGING:

This is also the season to enjoy some great skiing & sledging with your little buttons, see our previous post for some advice on ski-schools for kids and great winter sledging spots.

Photo © genevafamilydiaries.net

Photo © genevafamilydiaries.net

 

PATINOIRES in GENEVA & CAROUGE:

One of the things we love the most about winter in Geneva is the access to some fabulous ice-skating rinks: they’re fun, they’re mostly free of charge and you can often hire skates for as little as 2 CHF. Here’s a selection of our favourite ones, but remember to check in your area as most villages and communes have their own winter skating-rinks.

  • New eco-friendly patinoire at the Bains des Pâquis in Geneva! The Bains des Pâquis have pulled all the stops for this festive season: go and check out their brand new, eco-friendly ice rink, slam bang on top of the Bains’ spectacular jetty. Here’s a link to the article from La Tribune de Genève. The ice-rink opened on the 25th of November 2016 and the price for hiring the special skates needed is only 2CHF per person.
  • Open until 25th February 2017: the Patinoire des Charmilles in Geneva is smaller but it’s great fun for families: on Wednesdays & Saturdays from 2pm to 6pm they hold “Glisse en musique” skate & dance sessions for families that are really good fun! Entry is free and skates can be hired for 2CHF. Click here for opening times – the rink is closed on Mondays.
  • Open until 26th February 2017: Patinoire des Bastions, Geneva – open Tuesday to Sunday, entry is free and skates can be hired for 2CHF. Click here for exact opening times.
  • Open until 26th February 2017: the Patinoire saisonnière in Carouge is at the heart of the city’s Xmas celebrations: the atmosphere is great and you’ll be skating right in the centre of beautiful Carouge. Don’t miss the super-cool “Ice Bar” for a hot drink or a fondue. From this year, renting skates for children up to the age of 6 will be free of charge and only 2CHF for older children and adults.
  • Open until March 2017: the patinoire des Vernets has 2 ice-rinks, a smaller one outdoors and a larger one indoors for matches & sports events.
  • The patinoire in Grand-Sacconex offers free “Cours d’initiation au patinage” open to all every Wednesday from 1pm to 2pm and every Sunday from 11am until midday . Bookings to be made in advance at the ice-rink – tel. 079 079 958 84 48. Patinoire Grand-Sacconex – Campagne du Château – 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex (GE).
Patinoire de Carouge © Ville de Carouge

Patinoire de Carouge © Ville de Carouge

 

PATINOIRES IN CANTON VAUD & NEARBY FRANCE

There are some great ice-skating rinks in Canton Vaud as well (our family’s favourite is La Patinoire de Terre Sainte in Coppet with its dazzling views over the château), so if you’d like to have a go you can find the complete list here.

  • Open until March 2017: the Patinoires in Lausanne include the Patinoire de Montchoisi, the Patinoire de Malley, Flon Patinoire and the Patinoire de la Pontaise. See the official Lausanne website for more details.
Coppet ice-rink. Photo © genevafamilydiaries.net

Coppet ice-rink. Photo © genevafamilydiaries.net

 

  • Open until 12th March 2017: The patinoire de Nyon-Rive reopened for the winter season at the end of October. This year, the ice rink will be open 7 days a week! Click here for exact opening times. ENTRY IS FREE, ice skates for children can be hired for just 3CHF (5CHF for adults).
© 2016 Patinoire de Nyon (VD)

© 2016 Patinoire de Nyon (VD)

 

  • For those of you in and around Divonne-les-Bains (France), the Central Park café has opened a small ice-skating rink for the winter season! You need to hire special skates for 5 euros per child/person. To top it all off, the café will be serving fondues and raclettes, perfect in the run up to Xmas. The Central Park café is right next to a fantastic playground, find out more about it in our previous post.

 

SUNDAY BRUNCH & INDOOR PLAY CENTRES

You can also check our previous posts to find all the best child-friendly places to enjoy a delicious and stress-free Sunday brunch with your little buttons or the best indoor play centres in Geneva, Vaud and nearby France. And if the Sunday blues hit you don’t fret, we’ve got some great tips for that too!

 

TOY & BOOK LIBRARIES

On those gray, drizzly winter days when nothing seems to placate your little buttons, remember you can visit your local ludothèques for a bit of free-play and some light relief.

Public libraries are also a great place for your children: many host free events, workshops, story-times (usually in French but many times in other languages too). The bibliothèques in Geneva, Lausanne and neighbouring communes hold too many kids events each month to list them all here so here’s some links you can check regularly:

Geneva public libraries events & activities

Carouge public libraries events & activities

Lausanne public libraries events & activities

© Ludothèque Centre & Vieille-Ville - Ecole Ferdinand Hodler, Geneva

© Ludothèque Centre & Vieille-Ville – Ecole Ferdinand Hodler, Geneva

 

DECEMBER 2016 LISTINGS:

  • 23rd November 2016 until 8th January 2017: Cirque de Noël at the Plaine de Plainpalais in Geneva. A great family show, suitable from age 2. Visit the official website for prices & to book your tickets.
© Cirque de Noël, Geneva

© Cirque de Noël, Geneva

 

  • 25th November 2016 until 2nd January 2017: Noël des Alpes in Annecy (France). Check out the official website of this beautiful French town for more details on all their Xmas activities, gourmet & crafts markets, ice-skating rink, fête foraine and amazing Xmas lights.
© 2016 Ville d'Annecy

© 2016 Ville d’Annecy

 

  • 29th November, 6th, 15th, 20th December 2016: Noël de Carouge, a wonderful series of Yuletide celebration in the pretty town of Carouge including Sunday openings for local boutiques, Xmas market from the 9th to the 11th of December, free live concerts and much more. See the official website for full details.

 

  • 30th November-4th December 2016: Marché de Noël au Château de Coppet et au Bourg. One of the most elegant, exquisite and charming Xmas markets in the area, taking place in the beautiful setting of Coppet Castle’s gardens and interior rooms. From handmade, unique gifts to exclusive wines and foodie treats, you’ll find something to please everyone. But even if shopping isn’t your thing, it’s still worth a visit as there will be “Atelier de biscuits de Noël” workshops for kids; “Atelier de Décoration de Pain d’Épice”; arts & crafts workshops in the Mongolian yourte tent, story times and face-painting. Last but by no means least, your little ones can have a close encounter with Santa himself inside the Cabane du Père Nöel on Wednesday; Saturday and Sunday. Take a look at their full programme online for full details and opening times. Get ready to celebrate in style – this is the place to go for unique gifts and stocking-fillers and the best setting to soak up all the festive magic you crave.
© Marché de Noël au Château de Coppet

© Marché de Noël au Château de Coppet

 

  • 30th November-23rd December 2016: La Magie de Noël in Divonne-les-Bains (France). Download the full programme here, as there are just too many fab activities to list them all here, including story times, magic shows for kids, ice-rink, Christmas market and much more. FREE ENTRY.
© 2016 Office de tourisme Divonne-les-Bains

© 2016 Office de tourisme Divonne-les-Bains

 

  • Friday 2nd December 2016: “La Parade du Père Fouettard et de la Chauchevieille” from 5.30pm until 6.30pm at the Parc Gourgas in Geneva. As the old legend tells us, the Père Fouettard (which translates as “Father Whipper”) is the fearsome character who accompanies St. Nicholas in his rounds on the 6th of December. While St. Nicholas is well-known for bringing gifts and sweets to all well-behaved kids, Père Fouettard brings lumps of coal for those who have been naughty. Every year, the Maison du quartier de la Jonction in Geneva keeps the tradition alive with the “Parade du Père Fouettard et de la Chauchevieille”, a great family event to counterbalance the upcoming Xmas madness with a bit of….dark humour! The kids parade will start at 5.30pm from the Parc Gourgas, through the Jonction neighbourhood and back at the Parc Gourgas around 6.30pm for the final bonfire where Père Fouettard and his scary sidekick “la Chauchevieille” will have their heads burned at the stake. The parade is great fun, with live music and orchestra, circus artists, vin chaud, risotto, tangerines and the frightful Père Fouettard, of course! FREE ENTRY.
La Parade du Père Fouettard et de la Chauchevieille © Maison du quartier de la Jonction (MQJ)

© Maison du quartier de la Jonction (MQJ)

 

  • 2nd-3rd December 2016: 39th edition of the Course de l’Escalade in Geneva. This race is open to everyone: professional runners to beginners, children and adults alike. Distances vary between 2km to 8km depending on the category and consist of 1, 2 or 3 laps. All races take place in the narrow streets of the old town and finish at the Parc de Bastion. The non-competitive Marmite Race is the highlight of the event. All those who take part run the 3,4 km together, dressed-up in a fancy costume and they definitely try to outdo each other with their fun, original choices! This is a fun day-out for the whole family, so be there if you can. You can read about last year’s Escalade Race in our previous post.
© 2016 Course de l'Escalade, Geneva

© 2016 Course de l’Escalade, Geneva

 

  • 2nd-4th December 2016: Marché de Noel de Prévessin-Moens, with plenty of fun activities for the little ones including horse-drawn carriage rides, wooden chalets selling local crafts, photos with Santa, concerts, face painting, ice scultpures and much more! FREE ENTRY.
© 2016 Ville de Prévessin-Moens

© 2016 Ville de Prévessin-Moens

 

  • 2nd-11th December 2016: Grand Marché Couvert de Noël in Morges (VD). This is the biggest indoor Christmas market in French-speaking Switzerland and takes place in the great wooden hall next door to the Morges railway station. More than 160 craftsmen & women will showcase their creations, including blown glass, pottery, flower decorations, textile products, wooden objects, ceramics and of course delicacies such as jam or foie gras. Open from 4pm-10pm on weekdays; 10am-7pm on Saturday and Sunday. Closed on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th of December. FREE ENTRY.
Grand Marché couvert de Noël - Halles CFF Morges © Sacha Fehlmann. Courtesy of Morges Tourisme.

Grand Marché couvert de Noël – Halles CFF Morges
© Sacha Fehlmann. Courtesy of Morges Tourisme.

 

  • 2nd-16th December 2016: Geneva Lux, festival de lumières at the Île Jean-Jacques-Rousseau in Geneva. A staggering half-million LED lights and over 14km of Christmas light garlands will light up the city of Calvin during the festive season. This year, there will be 11 new light installations on top of the 7 we saw last year! The installations will be in place until the end of January 2017. FREE ENTRY.
© 2016 Ville de Genève

© 2016 Ville de Genève

 

  • Saturday 3rd December 2016: Boum des enfants organized by the Sou des écoles de St Genis Pouilly. The dance will take place at the Salle Jean Monnet from 4.30pm until 10pm, children are invited to dress up! There will be Xmas workshops for kids, music and dance (of course!) and tartiflette from 6.30pm until 9pm. FREE ENTRY, children must be accompanied by an adult/carer.
© 2016 Sou des écoles de St Genis Pouilly

© 2016 Sou des écoles de St Genis Pouilly

 

  • 3rd-4th December 2016: Fabrication de cadeaux de fin d’année at the Maison Vaudagne in Meyrin (Centre de Loisirs de Meyrin, Avenue de Vaudagne 16) from 10am to 5pm. A great family event offering creative workshops for all ages, including cookery, wood carving, jewellery, candles, candle-making and much more. A small contribution will be required towards the cost of materials.
© 2016 Maison Vaudagne, Meyrin

© 2016 Maison Vaudagne, Meyrin

 

 

  • Sunday 4th December 2016: “Cap sur l’Asie avec Tohu Wa Bohu” story-time songs and music for children at Geneva’s MEG museum (in French). Suitable for toddlers from age 2, the first session will take place from 4pm to 4.45pm in the museum’s foyer, and the second one from 5pm until 5.45pm. FREE ENTRY, no advance booking required. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Photo: MEG, J.Watts

Photo: MEG, J.Watts

 

  • Sunday 4th December 2016: Marché de St Nicolas, annual winter market at La Châtaigneraie Ecolint campus in Founex (VD) from 11:30am until 4pm. The Marché is the perfect opportunity to get into the festive spirit of the season and to shop for special gifts. Enjoy browsing through over 30 stalls selling crafts, jewellery, wreaths, cards and gift items. Indulge in a vin chaud, enjoy lunch or choose from delicious home made cakes. Young children can be checked into the crèche so parents can be free to browse, shop and grab a bite to eat! Bid on our Silent Auction of gift baskets with many unique and specially selected items. Please encourage your friends and neighbours to come as this event is open to all.

noel

 

  • Wednesday 7th December 2016: Marché de Noël des enfants at the Parc des Bastions in Geneva. From 2pm to 5pm children from various schools in Geneva will be selling their wares in what is probably the loveliest kids Xmas market in the world! The day will continue with fun activities and a kids show until 6.30pm. Children are welcome to sell, buy or exchange books, toys and other Xmas treasures, entry is free for all and a snack will be offered to all children at the end of the afternoon.
Marché de Noël des enfants, Geneva © Ville de Genève

Marché de Noël des enfants, Geneva © Ville de Genève

 

  • Wednesday 7th December 2016: Jours d’ouverture aux familles at the Maison de la Créativité in Conches (7, chemin Calandrini). These family activities will take place in the afternoon from 2.30pm to 5pm (on Saturday 17th of December the centre will also be open in the morning from 9.30am until midday). Entry is 3CHF per adult and per child aged 2+.
© 2015 Maison de la créativité, Conches (GE).

© 2015 Maison de la créativité, Conches (GE).

 

  • Wednesday 7th December 2016: Les mercredis à la Villa Freundler, free Wednesday activities for children at the Villa Freundler in Plainpalais (Place de Saint-François 4). Activities include games, creative workshops, sports and they will run from 1.30pm to 6pm. FREE ENTRY, no advance booking necessary, children must be accompanied by an adult/carer.
Image © Maison de Quartier de Plainpalais

Image © Maison de Quartier de Plainpalais

 

  • Wednesday 7th December 2016: “Escaladinos”, fun workshops in French for kids aged 6+ at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève (1, route de Malagnou). A fun way to discover more about dinosaurs and the Escalade celebrations in Geneva! These free workshops in French take place from 2pm until 4.30pm non-stop.
© 2015 Muséum d'histoire naturelle, Genève

© 2015 Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève

 

  • 7th-23rd December 2016: Gex Fête Noël, Xmas celebrations in Gex (France) which will include plenty of fun activities for the little ones such as Xmas story times and workshops, puppet shows, fireworks, and close encounters with real sledge dogs! Download the full programme here. FREE ENTRY to all activities and workshops.
© 2016 Gex Fête Noël

© 2016 Gex Fête Noël

 

  • 9th December 2016: Fête de Noël organized by the Sou des écoles de Collonges from 3pm onwards outside the école du Centre (75 place du Champ de foire in Collonges, France). The event includes a Xmas market, snack for the kids, photos with Santa and also Santa’s very own postbox, make sure you download the template online so the kids can fill it in before posting! FREE ENTRY.
© 2016 Sou des Ecoles de Collonges

© 2016 Sou des Ecoles de Collonges

 

  • 9th-11th December 2016: The Escalade in Geneva is the city’s most famous historical festival. These historical celebrations will see Geneva’s old town take a step back in time to celebrate the Duke of Savoy’s failed attempt to conquer the city in 1602. The re-enactments and procession in the old town are organised by the Compagnie de 1602, so check out their website for details of all the events in order to ensure you won’t miss out on anything. From markets to storytelling, special torch-lit guided tours to hot soup and mulled wine this is truly one of Geneva’s most glorious events. Remember as well that only on this occasion you are allowed to visit the Passage de Monetier, which takes visitors along the base of the old fortification walls under the Cathedral, so definitely one more reason to delve deep into Geneva’s ancient history. Click here to download the full programme in English, and here to learn more about the true story of L’Escalade.
Image courtesy of MySwitzerland.com

Image courtesy of MySwitzerland.com

 

© 2016 Office de tourisme Ferney Voltaire

© 2016 Office de tourisme Ferney Voltaire

 

  • 9th-11th December 2016: Marché de Noël in Céligny (route des Coudres 76). You will find 18 wooden huts selling unique gifts, live jazz music, fun activities for kids and scrumptious food stalls. FREE ENTRY.
Ô saveurs gourmandes

Ô saveurs gourmandes

 

  • 9th-24th December 2016: Bonjour l’Hiver, a winter & Xmas celebration the whole family will enjoy. Don’t miss the Xmas market, the Street Arts festival & the Xmas village in Annemasse old town (France). FREE ENTRY, see the official website for full programme details.
© 2016 Ville d'Annemasse (France)

© 2016 Ville d’Annemasse (France)

 

  • 9th December 2016-8th January 2017: Le fabuleux village des Flottins in Evian (France) is a one-of-a-kind alternative to the seasonal Xmas markets. This magical, mysterious village filled with street entertainers, music, exhibitions and art installations will keep the whole family enthralled – you will also be able to do your Xmas shopping done, as local shops will remain open until 8pm in the evenings. Entry to the event is free, visit the official website for full programme details.

 

  • Saturday 10th December 2016: Christmas Family Run in Divonne-les-Bains (France). This is a family relay race to benefit the “Enfance et Cancer” association. Take part in the run or just attend as a spectator.
© 2015 Office de tourisme de Divonne-les-Bains

© 2015 Office de tourisme de Divonne-les-Bains

 

  • 10th-11th December 2016: Marché de Noël at the Centre Culturel Jean Monnet in Saint-Genis-Pouilly (France). Open from 11am until 7pm on Saturday 10th and from 10am until 6pm on Sunday 11th. Don’t miss Santa’s visits at 11am (on Sunday only) and at 2pm and 4pm (on Saturday and Sunday), the music activities and festive fun! FREE ENTRY.
Copyright © 2015 Office de Tourisme de Saint-Genis, tous droits réservés

Copyright © 2015 Office de Tourisme de Saint-Genis, tous droits réservés

 

  • Wednesday 14th December 2016: “Escaladinos”, fun workshops in French for kids aged 6+ at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève (1, route de Malagnou). A fun way to discover more about dinosaurs and the Escalade celebrations in Geneva! These free workshops in French take place from 2pm until 4.30pm non-stop.
© 2015 Muséum d'histoire naturelle, Genève

© 2015 Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève

 

  • Wednesday 14th December 2016: Jours d’ouverture aux familles at the Maison de la Créativité in Conches (7, chemin Calandrini). These family activities will take place in the afternoon from 2.30pm to 5pm (on Saturday 17th of December the centre will also be open in the morning from 9.30am until midday). Entry is 3CHF per adult and per child aged 2+.
© 2015 Maison de la créativité, Conches (GE).

© 2015 Maison de la créativité, Conches (GE).

 

  • Wednesday 14th December 2016: Les mercredis à la Villa Freundler, free Wednesday activities for children at the Villa Freundler in Plainpalais (Place de Saint-François 4). Activities include games, creative workshops, sports and they will run from 1.30pm to 6pm. FREE ENTRY, no advance booking necessary, children must be accompanied by an adult/carer.
Image © Maison de Quartier de Plainpalais

Image © Maison de Quartier de Plainpalais

 

  • Wednesday 14th December 2016: “Au coeur de la forêt avec Tohu Wa Bohu” discover the new Amazon river exhibition at Geneva’s MEG museum with fun activities, songs and music for children (in French). Suitable for toddlers from age 2, the session will take place from 4pm to 4.45pm in the museum’s foyer. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets to the exhibition cost between 7 and 10 CHF per person.
© MEG Geneva

© MEG Geneva

 

  • 16th-17th December 2016: Marché de Noël at the Ferme de Budé in Petit-Sacconex, with over 20 local artisans showcasing their handmade wares, jewellery, olive oil, clothes, fabrics and other organic and vegan products from the region. On Friday from 5pm onwards there will be raclette and live yodelling shows too! FREE ENTRY.
© 2016 ferme-de-bude.ch

© 2016 ferme-de-bude.ch

 

  • 17th-24th December 2016: Marché de Noël – Place Bel-Air in Nyon (VD). There will be 11 wooden chalets selling local handicrafts. There will be fun activities for kids during the late night shopping evenings on Wednesday 21st, Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd of December, including story-times, chocolate demonstrations, live nativity and even Santa’s horse-drawn carriage! On Friday 23rd the Cinema Capitol will welcome children aged 6 to 12 for a special Xmas screening, followed by a sweets giveaway by Santa himself.
© 2016 SIC Nyon

© 2016 SIC Nyon

 

  • Sunday 18th December 2016: Coupe de Noël at the Jardin Anglais in Geneva. This is a unique and long-standing sport’s event in the city of international peace, now in its 78th edition. Watch as hundreds of people jump into the freezing lake for the world’s biggest swimming race in open waters.
Coupe de Noël. Copyright © Genève Tourisme

Coupe de Noël. Copyright © Genève Tourisme

 

  • Sunday 18th December 2016: Les Puces de Noël, a lovely Xmas and antiques market all rolled into one, taking place in the Rive neighbourhood and lakefront in the pretty town of Nyon. Open from 8am until 6.30pm, don’t miss Santa’s visit at 3pm! FREE ENTRY.
© 2016 quartierderive.ch

© 2016 quartierderive.ch

 

  • until 18th December 2016: “Sleeping Beauty” at the Simply Theatre Studios in Versoix (Centre de Choiseul, Avenue de Choiseul 23A). From the writers and director of the smash-hit productions of Pinocchio and The Snow Queen comes Simply Theatre’s latest magical Christmas Production. On her sixteenth birthday the beautiful Princess Rose is cursed by an evil witch and forced to sleep for a hundred years. Quick witted Fairies and a brave Prince face terrible dangers at they try to lift the enchantment – but ultimately good will always triumph over evil. Join in for this hilarious, magical, musical adaptation of the classic fairytale for the young and the young at heart. A magical start to your Christmas! See the Simply Theatre official website for ticket prices and exact performance times.
© 2016 Simply Theatre, Versoix

© 2016 Simply Theatre, Versoix

 

  • until 24th of December 2016: Les Fêtes de Noël – Lausanne. This year, the Xmas celebrations in Lausanne are set to be a superb combination of Xmas markets to suit all tastes and styles (traditional, design, family etc.), ice-skating rink, village des enfants and the third edition of the Festival Lausanne Lumières, which ends on the 31st of December 2016. You’ll definitely be able to see Lausanne under a different light!
© 2016 Bô Noël, Lausanne

© 2016 Bô Noël, Lausanne

 

© 2016 Bô Noël, Lausanne

© 2016 Bô Noël, Lausanne

 

  • until 24th December 2016: Montreux Noël, an unmissable event if you’d like to kick off the festive season in style: from the shores of Lake Geneva to the surrounding mountain tops, Montreux Noël offers many activities centred around its traditional Christmas Market. You can visit Santa, who comes directly from faraway Lapland to his house at the Rochers de Naye; discover an authentic Christmas Village in Caux or stroll through a medieval market and attend a story festival within the walls of the legendary Château de Chillon. Visit the official website for exact opening times and take a look at our previous post to find out how much we enjoyed our visit last year! Santa’s flying sledge will also be back this year at the Christmas Market in Montreux! The sledge is pulled by a cable and it’s really quite a sight for children and adults alike. If you have friends coming over to visit during the Xmas holidays they will LOVE it! The flying Santa can be seen every day over the Montreux Xmas market between 5pm and 7pm.
© Montreux Noël

© Montreux Noël

 

Flying Santa! © 2014 Montreux Noël

Flying Santa! © 2014 Montreux Noël

 

Geneva Xmas Market. Photo © Ville de Genève

Geneva Xmas Market. Photo © Ville de Genève

 

  • until 30th December 2016: Medieval Factory, interactive exhibition suitable from age 7 at the Espace des Inventions in Lausanne. Discover all the great medieval inventions still in use today! Free entry on the 1st Saturday of each month. Open Monday to Saturday from 2pm to 6pm; Sunday and Bank Holidays from 10am to 6pm. Tickets are 7CHF for adults and 3CHF for children.
© Copyright 2013 Espace des Inventions. Tous droits réservés.

© Copyright 2013 Espace des Inventions. Tous droits réservés.

 

  • until 31st December 2016: “Festival Lausanne Lumières”, with no less than 15 original artistic illuminations installed in the heart of Lausanne. Each one of them will be using light as main element to give the city a contemporary, innovative and enchanting atmosphere during six weeks.
© 2016 Festival Lausanne Lumières

© 2016 Festival Lausanne Lumières

 

  • 31st December 2016: Genève fête la nouvelle année, celebrate New Year’s in Geneva! Take a look at the New Year’s Eve programme by clicking on the Ville de Genève’s official website. Celebrations will kick off at 7.30pm on Saturday 31st and will carry on until 3am on Sunday 1st of January 2017. The event will be held around the Mont Blanc bridge and will host 3 different music “zones”, dancers, skateboarders, an Espace Lounge and fireworks at midnight! FREE ENTRY.
© Ipac Design Genève, Julie Lemarchand

© Ipac Design Genève, Julie Lemarchand

 

ONGOING:

  • until 8th January 2017: Marché de Noël at iLife in Etoy (VD). A great Xmas market selling handmade gifts, a free ice-skating rink, raclette, vin chaud and a spectacular Father Xmas’s village of course! There will be also a play area with face-painting, bouncy castles, the AddictLab creative workshops area and Santa’s little helpers too. Click here for exact opening times and ticket prices.
© 2016 Marché de Noël at iLife in Etoy

© 2016 Marché de Noël at iLife in Etoy

 

  • until 8th January 2017: Le temps des dinosaures, a great exhibition for little explorers and dinosaur-lovers at Geneva Palexpo – Halle 7. From Tyrannosaurus to Triceratops, 60 animated specimens will be coming to life at Palexpo. Displayed in actual size over a surface of 4500 sq. m, these impressive animals move and growl to the delight of children. Dinosaur footprints will also be on show to the public, an exceptional vestige of the presence of these colossal animals in Switzerland some 150 million years ago. With the participation of the Jurassica Museum and the Geneva Museum of Natural History. Open from 10am until 7pm (last entry at 6pm). Free entry for children under 3, adult tickets are 18.90CHF and children’s tickets 14.90CHF but you can buy a family ticket for 57.90CHF.
© copyright 2015 Opus One

© copyright 2015 Opus One

 

  • until 19th February 2017: Châteaux forts et chevaliers, a great new exhibition at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva, perfect for budding knights and daring princesses. Click here for the complete list of kids guided tours and workshops taking place during the school holidays.
Copyright © MAH Ville de Genève

Copyright © MAH Ville de Genève

 

  • until 17th March 2017: Dinosaures, a brand new dinosaur exhibition at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle in Geneva.
© 2016 Muséum d'histoire naturelle

© 2016 Muséum d’histoire naturelle

 

  • The permanent exhibition “Noblesse Oblige” at Prangins Castle is a great day-out for the whole family, take a step back in time with your children to see how a noble Swiss family lived in the 18th century! Find out more about this fantastic family exhibition in our previous post.
So lovingly restored, down to the smallest details © genevafamilydiaries.net

So lovingly restored, down to the smallest details © genevafamilydiaries.net

 

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