All too soon the days have started drawing in, leaves are falling and the air carries a chilly hint of the months to come, but even as winter approaches there are plenty of great activities to be enjoyed together as a family.
Here’s our events listings for the month of November, remember to keep checking these listings regularly as we will be updating this post with more events each week.
Christmas is not far off and if you’d like to delve deep into the winter spirit, you can grab your ice-skates and join the fun at the ice-skating rinks that are already open for the season, including the patinoire des Vernets and the patinoire des Charmilles in Geneva; the patinoire des Bastions in Geneva (opening on the 18th of November 2017); the patinoire de Carouge (opening on the 19th of November 2017); the Patinoire de Montchoisi and the Patinoire de la Pontaise in Lausanne and the patinoire du Flon in Lausanne (opening on the 5th of November 2017).
The patinoire in Grand-Sacconex will offer 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).
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).
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.
The House of Santa Claus at Rochers-de-Naye nestled at an altitude of 2042 metres above Montreux (VD) will open on the 23rd of November 2017. Don’t miss the Santa Claus train, face-painting sessions, stories, photos with Santa and much more!
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.
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 autumn days when nothing seems to placate your little buttons, remember you can visit your local ludothèque for a spot 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 sometimes 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:
November 2017 Listings
- 3rd-5th November 2017: Book, CD and DVD sale at the Library in English in Geneva (3 rue de Monthoux).
- 3rd-11th November 2017: Festival Tous Écrans in Geneva. This Festival is a unique event in Europe, offering a full panorama of the best current feature films, television series, made-for-television films and interactive documentaries since 1995. Check the online programme for full details of all events and screenings taking place – don’t miss the KID’S DAY on Sunday 6th November 2016 with free screenings, workshops, treasure hunts and much more for the little ones. The festival is free of charge so one more reason to make the most of it!
- 4th-5th November 2017: En famille aux musées in Montreux and Vevey (VD). Families with young children are welcome in 10 museums of the Leman riviera for fun workshops and activities. The entry ticket will give you free access to public transport too!
- Sunday 5th November 2017: Free entry to all museums and exhibitions in Geneva, a special initiative organized by the city of Geneva offering free access to permanent and temporary exhibitions on the first Sunday of every month.
- Sunday 5th November 2017: “Cap sur l’Afrique 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.
- Wednesday 8th November 2017: “BELLES DU MUSÉE”, part of the Mercredis Family family workshops at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva (Rue Charles-Galland 2). Children aged 6 to 10 accompanied by an adult are welcome at 3pm to discover all about the museum collections in a fun, interactive way. FREE ENTRY, no advance booking required.
- Wednesday 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th November 2017: 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 5.30pm. Entry is 3CHF per adult and per child aged 2+.
- Monday 13th-Tuesday 14th November 2017: Atelier et fête des lanterns organized by the Association Pré En Bulle in Les Grottes neighbourhood in Geneva. The traditional Fête des lanterns takes place every year in autumn as the days grow shorter. Children will love taking part in the lantern-making workshop on Monday 13th from 4pm to 6.30pm at Le Local des Jeunes (Rue des Amis, just behind La place des Grottes in Geneva). FREE ENTRY, but remember to bring an empty milk carton to make your lantern. Once you’ve made your lantern, you’ll be ready for the Fête des lanterns on Tuesday 14th from 5.30pm: the kids parade will start from the Place des Grottes with music and plenty of noisy fun, remember to bring a bowl and spoon to join in and taste some delicious soup at the end! FREE ENTRY.
- Wednesday 15th November 2017: Elever sa propre colonie de fourmis – Animation enfants FREE workshops for ages 10+ at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève (1, route de Malagnou). These free workshops last 1 hour and 15 mins and will take place at 1.45pm and 3.15pm. FREE ENTRY but places are limited so they must be booked in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wednesday 8th November 2017: “Chasse au lion”, part of the Mercredis Family family workshops at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva (Rue Charles-Galland 2). Children aged 6 to 10 accompanied by an adult are welcome at 3pm to discover all about the museum collections in a fun, interactive way. FREE ENTRY, no advance booking required.
- Friday 10th November 2017: Le MAH à tout petits pas – Mercredi Family pour les tout-petits free guided tours for children aged 3 to 5 accompanied by an adult at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva starting at 10.30am and 3.30pm. No previous booking required, FREE OF CHARGE.
- Friday 10th November 2017: “Nuit du conte en Suisse”, a special celebration of story-telling for all, starting from age 2. Storytimes will be taking place in different locations across Geneva and Vaud. If you are in Geneva, take a look at the full programme of the “Nuit du conte”, with various sessions taking place at the Ferme Sarasin in Grand-Sacconex, the Maison de Quartier in Carouge, the Natural History Museum in Geneva and many more. FREE ENTRY.
- 10th-19th November 2017: Les Automnales at Geneva’s Palexpo is the city’s most exciting autumn event covering everything from home decor, health & gourmet food as well a large number of workshops for adults and children. This year’s guest of honour will be CERN, with many workshops and activities for the whole family. Take a look at their official website for full programme details. Don’t miss the chocolate & Christmas workshops and if you have children fret not, as they are fully catered for with a merry-go-round, bouncy castles with play area, face painting, an indoor petting farm and even Father Xmas! Open Mon. to Sat. from 11am to 9pm; 10am to 7pm on Sunday. Entry is free every evening after 7pm.
- Wednesday 15th, 22nd & 29th November 2017: 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 5.30pm. Entry is 3CHF per adult and per child aged 2+.
- Saturday 18th November 2017: Mondial de Fondue finest fondue competition in the pretty village of Tartegnin (VD). Open from 10am, tickets are 10CHF for adults and free for children up to the age of 16.
- Wednesday 22nd & 29th November 2017: 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 5.30pm. Entry is 3CHF per adult and per child aged 2+.
- 22nd November-31st December 2017: “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. The «Nuit du Festival» on the 20th of November 2015 will inaugurate the festival with guided tours specially dedicated to families (only in French). Each child will receive a Chinese lantern to travel along the festivals route.
- 23rd November-24th December 2017: 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!
- 24th November 2017 until 7th January 2018: 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.
- 24th November 2017 until 7th January 2018: 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.
- until 26th November 2017: “Albertine et Germano Zullo, La Grande Exposition” at the Musée Alexis Forel. A superb exhibition of Geneva’s best-loved literary couple: illustrator Albertine and her writer husband Germani Zullo. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 2pm until 6pm.
- Sunday 26th November 2017: Les Puces de Nyon, very scenic flea market in the pretty lakeside town of Nyon (VD). Grab a fab bargain or a delicious crêpe bretonne!
- Wednesday 29th November 2017: 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 5.30pm. Entry is 3CHF per adult and per child aged 2+.
- 29th November-3rd December 2017: Marché de Noël au Château de Coppet et au Bourg. One of the most elegant 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.
- 1st December 2017-14th January 2018: 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 22 new light installations on top of the 11 we saw last year! The installations will be in place until the middle of January 2018. FREE ENTRY.
- until 13th December 2017: Pluie de Poésie/Raining Poetry, a wonderful initiative taking place in Geneva until the 13th of December. Pluie de Poésie or 8 poems found in key parts of the city that appear when the pavement gets wet (by rainwater or water poured on it). Raining Poetry aims to create awareness about water resources and seasonal scarcity of rainwater, with all its implications.
- until 17th December 2017: Winter Wonderland at Schilliger Gland. Open every Sunday until the 17th of December, Schilliger’s traditional wonderland does not disappoint this year! Click here to find out more.
- until 7th January 2018: Body Worlds – L’Exposition at Geneva Palexpo. fantastic exhibition about the mysteries of the human body and human anatomy: the cycle of life, from bith to death, will be represented with a series of amazing anatomical studies of the human body. Open from 10am until 7pm, closed on Mondays.
- until 7th January 2018: “Fourmis la grande exposition”, temporary exhibition at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève (1, route de Malagnou). Discover the fascinating, unknown universe of these tiny insects.. FREE ENTRY only on the first Sunday of every month.
- until 3rd June 2018: “Ça coule de source“. A great exhibition of an hydraulic structure’s construction site, inspired by the recent discovery made by archaeologists around the site of the ancient roman Aqueduct of Nyon. This exhibition will also show how the Romans managed and consumed their water sources. Pipes, taps, fountain plates, gargoyles, hydraulic facilities, coins and spillways illustrate the water’s course from the source, through its transmission across town, its distribution, use and disposal.