What’s On in December 2014

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:

  • 5th-6th December 2014: Geneva’s 37th Course de l’Escalade. The Christmas spirit is spreading fast in Switzerland and winter sports are a huge part of it. Notwithstanding the 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 include 1, 2 or 3 laps. All the 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, read about last year’s Escalade Race in our previous post.
© 2014 Escalade

© 2014 Escalade

 

  • Saturday 13th December 2014: 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 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). Registration fee is €29 per family at Divonne’s Tourist Office. Visit the official website for more details and to download your registration form.
© 2014 Office de tourisme de Divonne-les-Bains

© 2014 Office de tourisme de Divonne-les-Bains

 

  • Saturday 13th December 2014: 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 14th December 2014: Coupe de Noël at the Jardin Anglais in Geneva. This is a unique and long-standing sports event in the city of international peace, now in its 76th 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, Geneva

© Coupe de Noël, Geneva

 

PATINOIRES

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.

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..

  • Open until 28th February 2015: 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 29th March 2015: The Patinoire des Charmilles in Geneva is smaller but it’s great fun for families: on Tuesdays & Saturdays from 1pm to 6pm they hold “Glisse en musique” skate & dance sessions for families that are really good fun! On Fridays from 5pm they offer various surprise activities. Entry is free and skates can be hired for 2CHF. Click here for opening times – the rink is closed on Mondays.
  • Open until March 2015: 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 heart 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.
  • Every Sunday from 11am until midday and every Wednesday from 2pm to 3pm the patinoire in Grand-Sacconex will offer free “Cours d’initiation au patinage” open to all. Bookings to be made in advance at the ice-rink – tel. 079 079 958 84 48. Get your little girls suited & booted for ice-hockey beginners lessons suitable from age 4, run by the Genève Futur Hockey staff. These introductory classes will take place every Sunday from 9am to 10am. Last but not least, there will be more “Initiation au hockey” courses for boys and different ages run by Genève Futur Hockey, more info and timetable to come soon at the patinoire. Patinoire Grand-Sacconex – Campagne du Château – 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex (GE).
  • The patinoire des Vernets has 2 ice-rinks, a smaller one outdoors and a larger one indoors for matches & sports events.
Patinoire de Carouge © Ville de Carouge

Patinoire de Carouge © Ville de Carouge

 

PATINOIRES IN CANTON VAUD

  • 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.
Coppet ice-rink. Photo © genevafamilydiaries.net

Coppet ice-rink. Photo © www.genevafamilydiaries.net

 

TOY & BOOK LIBRARIES

On those gray, drizzly autumn 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 de Nyon. Photo © genevafamilydiaries.net

Ludothèque de Nyon. Photo © genevafamilydiaries.net

 

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!

© Parc Pré Vert Signal de Bougy

© Parc Pré Vert Signal de Bougy

 

WAITING FOR CHRISTMAS

Keep abreast of all the best events and Christmas activities with our special festive listings, just click here to see them all!

Santa's secretary at Rochers de Naye (CH). Photo © genevafamilydiaries.net

One of Santa’s little helpers at Rochers de Naye (CH). Photo © genevafamilydiaries.net

 

DECEMBER 2014 CALENDAR OF EVENTS:

  • 22nd November 2014 until 4th January 2015: 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

 

  • 28th November 2014 until 4th January 2015: 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 and amazing Xmas lights!
© Ville d'Annecy

© Ville d’Annecy

 

  • 30th November, 7th-21st December 2014: 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 12th to the 14th of December, free live concerts and much more. See the official website for full details.
© Association des Intérêts de Carouge

© Association
des Intérêts de Carouge

 

  • 2nd, 7th, 9th, 14th, 17th December 2014: “Little Black Movie December sessions”, a selection of delightful short Czech movies for children at the Cinémas du Grütli in Geneva (16, rue du Général Dufour); Onex, Meyrin, Maison CIViQ and Chêne-Bourg, starting at 3pm or 4.30pm. Check the official website for full details. Ticket prices 5CHF up to the age of 10.
© Black Movie Geneva

© Black Movie Geneva

 

  • Wednesday 3rd December 2014: Ritmos y sonidos – Master Class de percussions et de flûtes andines du Pérou, a great new workshop suitable from age 10 at the MEG in Geneva (Musée d’ethnographie de la Ville de Genève, Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65-67). The focus of this workshop will be to introduce participants to the sounds and traditions of Peruvian culture using percussion instruments and flutes. There will be one workshop at 2pm for percussions and one at 3.30pm for flutes, entry is 8CHF-12CHF and places must be booked in advance at publics.meg@ville-ge.ch
MEG © 2014 Musée d'ethnographie, Genève

MEG © 2014 Musée d’ethnographie, Genève

 

 

  • Wednesday 3rd December 2014: guided tour for kids starting at 3.15pm. The petits rendez-vous at Geneva’s MAMCO continue every Wednesday afternoon and on the first Sunday of every month, suitable for children aged 5 to 10 accompanied by an adult they are free of charge and require no advance booking. The upcoming petits rendez-vous (all in French) will be: Sunday 7th. at 11.15am; Wed. 10th; Wednesday 17th & Wed. 31st of December at 3.15pm. If you have very young children, don’t miss the mini rendez-vous for children aged 2 to 4, accompanied by an adult. The next one will be on Wed. 3rd of December at 3.15pm. They last approx. 20 minutes and are free of charge (in French, no advance booking required).
© MAMCO, Geneva

© MAMCO, Geneva

 

  • Wednesday 3rd December 2014: Animation du mercredi: “Etes-vous Picasso ou rougegorge?” from age 7 at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève (1, route de Malagnou). A fun way to discover more about the fascinating world of birds, these free Wednesday workshops in French will take place every Wednesday during the months of November and December from 2pm to 4.30pm (on the second floor).

 

  • Wednesday 3rd December 2014: “Le zoo des beaux-arts”, part of the Mercredis Family at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva (Rue Charles-Galland 2). Children aged 6 and older accompanied by an adult are welcome every Wednesday at 3pm to discover all about the museum collections in a fun, interactive way. Reserve your places in advance at adp-mah@ville-ge.ch or by phone at 022 418 25 00.
 © Musées d’art et d'histoire, Geneva

© Musées d’art et d’histoire, Geneva

 

  • Wednesday 3rd December 2014: “Les histoires de Cric-Croc”, a delightful puppet show suitable from age 3 at the Eaux-Vives public library in Geneva (Rue Sillem 5). The show will include classic tales such as The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood, performance starts at 3pm, FREE ENTRY no advance booking required.
Copyright © Ville de Genève 2014

Copyright © Ville de Genève 2014

 

  • 3rd-7th December 2014: Marché de Noël au Château de Coppet, 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 many workshops for kids, including Atelier de biscuits de Noël, Atelier de Décoration de Pain d’Épice, Atelier de décoration de Cupcakes not to mention the fire juggling show “Ya pas l’feu” on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th of December at 6pm and the ice-rink overlooking Coppet Castle.Last but by no means least, your little ones can have a close encounter with Saint Nicolas & le Père Fouettard on Sunday 7th of December from 4pm until 5.30pm, and they won’t be leaving empty handed! 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

 

  • 3rd-21st December 2014: “LA LIGNE DE CHANCE”, a delightful puppet show suitable from age 4 inspired by ancient Swiss tales at the Théâtre des Marionnettes de Genève (Rue Rodo 3). See the theatre’s official website to reserve your places.
© Cedric Vincensini - Théâtre des Marionnettes de Genève

© Cedric Vincensini – Théâtre des Marionnettes de Genève

 

  • 3rd-24th December 2014: 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.
© 2014 Gex Fête Noël

© 2014 Gex Fête Noël

 

  • 3rd-31st December 2014: “Scrooge et les fantômes”, a great show in French inspired by Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” suitable from age 7 at at Le petit théâtre in Lausanne (place de la Cathédrale 12). See the official website to book your tickets.
© Tous droits réservés - le petit théâtre - 2014 | illustrations Haydé

© Tous droits réservés – le petit théâtre – 2014 | illustrations Haydé

 

  • Friday 5th December 2014: “La Parade du Père Fouettard et de la Chauchevieille” from 5.30pm until 8pm 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)

La Parade du Père Fouettard et de la Chauchevieille
© Maison du quartier de la Jonction (MQJ)

 

  • 5th-6th December 2014: Geneva’s 37th Course de l’Escalade. The Christmas spirit is spreading fast in Switzerland and winter sports are a huge part of it. Notwithstanding the 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 include 1, 2 or 3 laps. All the 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, read about last year’s Escalade Race in our previous post.
© 2014 Escalade

© 2014 Escalade

 

  • Friday 5th & Sunday 7th of December 2014: Xmas style market & Brunch at the farm organized by Swapandshop.ch, now known as ‘So Many Queens’. The Xmas edition of this style market will sweep you off your feet with some fabulous gifts ideas for women, kids & home as well as a Swap & Shop party of second-hand, good-quality garnements. The market & swap party will run from 7pm until 11pm at the Domaine de Bon-Boccard in St.Prex (VD). Take a look at their official website for more information on how to join the clothes swap party. On Sunday 7th of December, the ‘So Many queens’ Xmas market will get even better with a brunch at the farm from 10am until midday at the Domaine de Bon-Boccard, prices are 18CHf for adults, 10CHF for kids aged 5 to 12 and 5CHF for children aged 2 to 5. Places must be booked in advance at www.swapandshop.ch. The opening times for the Xmas market on Sunday 7th of Dec. will be 10am until 5pm, keep an eye on the So Many Queens facebook page for details of all the sellers that will be present at the market!

 

  • Saturday 6th December 2014: Cultures animées, free Animatou screenings suitable from age 4 in the Auditorium of the the MEG museum in Geneva (Musée d’ethnographie de la Ville de Genève, Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65-67). From 11.15am until midday. Free entry no advance booking required.
MEG © 2014 Musée d'ethnographie, Genève

MEG © 2014 Musée d’ethnographie, Genève

 

  • Saturday 6th December 2014: L’art de dire: slam, a fun, interactive workshop in French suitable from age 14 at the MEG in Geneva (Musée d’ethnographie de la Ville de Genève, Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65-67). From 2pm until 5pm participants will learn about slam, a form of musical poetry with Bokar Ba. Entry is 8CHF-12CHF and places must be booked in advance at publics.meg@ville-ge.ch

 

 

  •  Saturday 6th December 2014: Fête médiévale au Château in Rolle (VD). A fantastic day-out for the whole family, with actual reconstructions of medieval battles, fire eaters (go easy on the hair spray for this one!), games for children, market stalls and plenty of delicious food. FREE ENTRY, the festival will run from 11am until 8pm.
© 2014 Château de Rolle

© 2014 Château de Rolle

 

  • Saturday 6th December 2014: Jour de fête et marché des artisans de Noël à Gruyères, a great family day-out in one of Switzerland most picturesque villages, all bedecked and bejewelled for the festive season. From midday until 9pm there will be plenty to do for everyone, with a great Xmas market, kids workshops at 2pm (to be booked in advance at 026 921 21 02); Cortège de la St-Nicolas at 5pm and late opening for all the shops, museums and Château. At 6pm there will also be “Contes tibétains pour petits et grands” with Tenzin W. Drongshar Frapolli at the Tibetan Museum. FREE ENTRY.
© La Gruyère Tourisme

© La Gruyère Tourisme

 

  • 6th-21st December 2014: Medieval Market at Chillon Castle, open from 10am to 5pm at weekends. Experience a return to days of yore, an unforgettable opportunity to go back in time and explore the history, the customs and the daily life of the Middle Ages illustrated by people in period costumes. Don’t miss the medieval story-times for little ones, fun shows and medieval dances, as well as father’s Xmas very own desk where you’ll be able to write and post your letter.
Medieval Market at Chillon Castle © Montreux Noël

Medieval Market at Chillon Castle © Montreux Noël

 

 

  • Sunday 7th December 2014: Grand Bazar, a fun, interactive workshop in French suitable from ages 2 to 6 at the MEG in Geneva (Musée d’ethnographie de la Ville de Genève, Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65-67). From 2pm until 5pm all little participants will learn about African music and dance, as well as perform some rhythms! Free entry no advance booking required.
MEG © 2014 Musée d'ethnographie, Genève

MEG © 2014 Musée d’ethnographie, Genève

 

  • until 10th December 2014: “Le Père Noël n’a pas peur du loup” a Xmas story about a scary wolf and a family on holiday who are determined not to let him spoil their celebrations! The show is brought to the stage in French at the Théâtre Töpffer in Geneva (21, Avenue Eugène Pittard). Performances will take place on Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays at 3.30pm. Tickets are 30CHF for adults and 15CHF for children, make sure get there well in advance to secure some good seats when doors open!
© Théâtre Töpffer, Geneva

© Théâtre Töpffer, Geneva

 

  • Wednesday 10th December 2014: Animation du mercredi: “Etes-vous Picasso ou rougegorge?” from age 7 at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève (1, route de Malagnou). A fun way to discover more about the fascinating world of birds, these free Wednesday workshops in French will take place every Wednesday during the months of November and December from 2pm to 4.30pm (on the second floor).

 

  • Wednesday 10th December 2014: “La marmite de la Mère Royaume”, part of the Mercredis Family at the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva (Rue Charles-Galland 2). Children aged 6 and older accompanied by an adult are welcome every Wednesday at 3pm to discover all about the museum collections in a fun, interactive way. Reserve your places in advance at adp-mah@ville-ge.ch or by phone at 022 418 25 00.
Image copyright Musées d’art et d'histoire, Geneva.

Image copyright Musées d’art et d’histoire, Geneva.

 

 

  • Wednesday 10th December 2014: Human Chain in Geneva organized by UNICEF Schweiz Suisse Svizzera. They will set up a sign for children rights, because every child has rights – the same – independently where they grow up and live. It will last around 15 minutes, interested participants can register online. Time: Meeting point 12.15, Human Chain starts at 12.30. Where: Pont des Bergues (île Rousseau), Genève.
© UNICEF

© UNICEF

 

  • Wednesday 10th December 2014: Marché de Noël des enfants at the Parc des Bastions in Geneva. From 2pm to 7pm children from various schools in Geneva will be selling their wares in what is probably the loveliest kids Xmas market in the world! 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 market.
Marché de Noël des enfants, Geneva © Ville de Genève

Marché de Noël des enfants, Geneva © Ville de Genève

 

  • 10th-14th December 2013: 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-8pm on Saturday and 10am-7pm on Sunday. 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.

 

  • 11th-14th December 2014: 54e Concours Hippique International de Genève at Geneva Palexpo. Created in 1926, the CHI Geneva is one of the world’s most prestigious equestrian competitions. Each year, Palexpo, welcomes the very best riders and drivers of the planet on the biggest indoor arena. Voted five times the Best Indoor Competition by the Année Hippique, the CHI Geneva is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping alongside the CHIO Aachen (GER) and the CSIO Calgary (CAN).
 © 2014 54e Concours Hippique International de Genève

© 2014 54e Concours Hippique International de Genève

 

  • Friday 12th December 2014: L’incroyable destin de M. Boule de neige 2, Sonia Grimm’s latest live show with plenty of new songs and Xmas magic at the Théâtre de Beaulieu in Lausanne, starting at 6pm. If you’ve never been to a Sonia Grimm’s show with your little ones, then this Xmas show would be a great one to start with: her songs (all in French) are great and hummable-all-the-way-home and her little dancers, which come from Grimm’s dance schools, are just adorable! Suitable from age 2, visit the official website for ticket prices and bookings.
© 2014 Sonia Grimm officiel

© 2014 Sonia Grimm officiel

 

  • 12th-14th December 2014: 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.
Geneva's Escalade. Image courtesy of MySwitzerland.com

Geneva’s Escalade. Image courtesy of MySwitzerland.com

 

  • 12th-24th December 2014: 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.
© Ville d'Annemasse (France)

© Ville d’Annemasse (France)

 

  • 12th December 2014-4th January 2015: 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. You can find out more about this event in our previous post. Entry to the event is free, visit the official website for full programme details.
© Le fabuleux village des Flottins, Evian.

© Le fabuleux village des Flottins, Evian.

 

 

  • Saturday 13th December 2014: En avant la musique !, musical guided tour & family visit of the MAH in Geneva ( Musée d’art et d’histoire, Rue Charles-Galland 2). The guided tour is in French and will be accompanied by music, children aged 6+ must be with a parent/carer. There will be 1 guided tour at 2.30pm and one at 4pm. FREE ENTRY, no advnace booking necessary.

 

  • Saturday 13th December 2014: Cultures animées, free Animatou screenings suitable from age 4 in the Auditorium of the the MEG museum in Geneva (Musée d’ethnographie de la Ville de Genève, Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65-67). From 11.15am until midday. Free entry no advance booking required.

 

  • Saturday 13th December 2014: Parcours famille: au coeur de la matière, a special guided tour for families at the MEG in Geneva (Musée d’ethnographie de la Ville de Genève, Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65-67). From 4.15pm until 5.15pm families will be guided through the newly refurbished museum for a fun, interactive visit. Suitable from age 5, free entry for kids and 10CHF for adults.
MEG © 2014 Musée d'ethnographie, Genève

MEG © 2014 Musée d’ethnographie, Genève

 

  • Saturday 13th December 2014: 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 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). Registration fee is €29 per family at Divonne’s Tourist Office. Visit the official website for more details and to download your registration form.
© 2014 Office de tourisme de Divonne-les-Bains

© 2014 Office de tourisme de Divonne-les-Bains

 

  • 13th-14th December 2014: “Scène Ouverte”, a show performed by the students of the Nyon’s circus school L’Elastique citrique (11, rue des marchandises). The show will be at 7pm on Saturday and at 4pm on Sunday, FREE ENTRY.
© 2014 L'Elastique citrique Nyon (VD)

© 2014 L’Elastique citrique Nyon (VD)

 

  • 13th-23rd December 2014: Le village du Grand Nord, from Saturday 13th of December Saint-Julien-en-Genevois’ town centre in France will celebrate winter and the Great North with plenty of great activities for the whole family including circus shows, close encounters with real sledge dogs and their handlers, live concerts, workshops for kids, Marché de noël des commerçants and much more. The “village du Grand Nord” will be divided into different villages including a Village Apoutsiak with its Mongolian yourtes and the Village Kadluk, where children can discover the Arctic with fun workshops suitable from age 6. FREE ENTRY, follow directions for Avenue de Genève, 74160 Saint-Julien-en-Genevois (FRANCE).
© Office du Tourisme Saint-Julien-en-Genevois

© Office du Tourisme Saint-Julien-en-Genevois

 

  • Sunday 14th December 2014: Coupe de Noël at the Jardin Anglais in Geneva. This is a unique and long-standing sports event in the city of international peace, now in its 76th 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, Geneva

© Coupe de Noël, Geneva

 

  • Sunday 14th December 2014: L’incroyable destin de M. Boule de neige 2, Sonia Grimm’s latest live show with plenty of new songs and Xmas magic at the Arena Genève. There will be 2 performances, one at 2pm and one at 5.30pm. If you’ve never been to a Sonia Grimm’s show with your little ones, then this Xmas show would be a great one to start with: her songs (all in French) are great and hummable-all-the-way-home and her little dancers, which come from Grimm’s dance schools, are just adorable! Suitable from age 2, visit the official website for ticket prices and bookings.
© 2014 Sonia Grimm officiel

© 2014 Sonia Grimm officiel

 

  • Sunday 14th December 2014: “Magicien malgré lui”, a fun family show suitable from age 4 starting at 5pm at the Esplanade du lac in Divonne-les-Bains (France). A clever mix of magic and theatre narrative, this is an entertaining show for the whole family, filled with fun jokes (in French!). Ticket prices are 18€ for adults, 10€ for children and can be purchased from the Divonne office de tourisme or directly at the Esplanade du lac.
 © Sébastien Mossière

© Sébastien Mossière

 

 

  • Wednesday 17th December 2014: “Une nuit d’hiver au Bois Joli”, a delightful Xmas show in French by the Théâtre Minilune suitable from age 3 at the Espace Grosselin in Carouge (Rue Jacques-Grosselin 31 – sous-sol). There will be 2 performances: one at 2.30pm and one at 3.30pm, FREE ENTRY but places must be booked in advance at animations-bibliotheques@carouge.ch
© Bibliothèques de Carouge

© Bibliothèques de Carouge

 

  • Thursday 18th of December 2014: Viva Vintage, charity fashion shopping event organized by ASK – All Special Kids at the Nest Gallery in Geneva. From 5pm until 9pm you will help make a difference in the lives of children with learning differences and special educational needs in Switzerland by donating your back-of-the-closet, like-new luxury footwear & handbags. Viva Vintage is a chic and charitable Pop-Up Shopping Event featuring vintage, like-new luxury footwear & handbags at Rush Pop-Up store on the 18th of December. All in aid of ASK-All Special Kids. Read all about it in our previous post!

 

 

  • Saturday 20th December 2014: Cultures animées, free Animatou screenings suitable from age 4 in the Auditorium of the the MEG museum in Geneva (Musée d’ethnographie de la Ville de Genève, Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65-67). From 11.15am until midday. Free entry no advance booking required.

 

  • Saturday 20th December 2014: Parcours famille: au coeur de la matière, a special guided tour for families at the MEG in Geneva (Musée d’ethnographie de la Ville de Genève, Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65-67). From 4.15pm until 5.15pm families will be guided through the newly refurbished museum for a fun, interactive visit. Suitable from age 5, free entry for kids and 10CHF for adults.
MEG © 2014 Musée d'ethnographie, Genève

MEG © 2014 Musée d’ethnographie, Genève

 

  • until 21st December 2014: Hansel & Gretel: A Christmas Musical Adventure at the Simply Theatre Studios in Versoix (Centre de Choiseul, Avenue de Choiseul 23A). This is a Xmas feast, telling the story of the brother & sister who find themselves lost in a winter wonderland. With only each other, and the friends they meet along the way, the children have to work together to get back home in time for Christmas Day. With brand new toe-tapping songs and a snowbound yuletide setting, Hansel and Gretel promise to deliver a delightful holiday treat for the whole family!
    Suitable for all ages, see the official website for ticket prices and exact performance times.
 © 2014 Simply Theatre Academy, Versoix

© 2014 Simply Theatre Academy, Versoix

 

  • 21st December 2014-4th January 2015: Yatouland in Vernier will be open during the Xmas holidays from 11am until 6pm. Entry is 15CHF per child and you can stay as long as you like! ‎Yatouland‬ (Chemin des Batailles 22, 1214 Vernier) will remain closed only on the 24th, 25th and 31st of December 2014.

 

  • until 24th December 2014: 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 neighbouring 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!
© Montreux Noël

© Montreux Noël

 

  • until 24th of December 2014: 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.) and the third edition of the Festival Lausanne Lumières, which ends on the 31st of December 2014. You’ll definitely be able to see Lausanne under a different light!
Fêtes de Noël 2014 à Lausanne © Mano

Fêtes de Noël 2014 à Lausanne © Mano

 

  • 26th December 2014-4th January 2015: Le Train des Fêtes at the Centre du Vallon in St-Cergue (VD). Are your little ones already bored of being indoors after the big Xmas celebrations? If so, this might be for you: the Passion IIm will install their superb miniature trains at the  Centre du Vallon in St-Cergue (VD), just a short walk from the train station. Open everyday from the 26th of December until the 4th of January 2015 from 10am until 6pm, these miniature wonders will make your little ones very happy. FREE ENTRY.
OFFICE DU TOURISME DE SAINT-CERGUE

OFFICE DU TOURISME DE SAINT-CERGUE

 

  • until 31st December 2014: “Festival Lausanne Lumières”, with no less than thirteen 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 in the course of six weeks. What a great start to the activities organized for the Christmas holidays!
© Festival Lausanne Lumières "Keyframes" - Bâtiment Hug Musique

© Festival Lausanne Lumières “Keyframes” – Bâtiment Hug Musique

 

NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS: take a look at our “Christmas Sparkle” post for the latest updates about New Year’s Eve celebrations in the area!

© 2014 Ville de Genève

© 2014 Ville de Genève

 

  • 1st January 2015: The MAMCO in #Geneva will be open during the holiday and there will be Mini Rendez-vous at 15h15 (ages 2 to 4) as well as Petits Rendez-vous, at 15h15 (ages 5-10) on the 1st of January 2015. FREE ENTRY, children must be accompanied by an adult.Yatouland, C L’Aventure, Vitam’Ludic and other indoor playcentres will be open during the holidays, except on Xmas day. Vitam’Ludic will be open from 1pm until 7pm on Thursday 1st of January 2015.
 © Vitam' Neydens (France)

© Vitam’ Neydens (France)

 

  • 1st-2nd January 2015: The museums in Nyon (VD) will be open on both days from 2pm until 5pm and free of charge for everyone! A great opportunity to visit the Musée Romain, the Musée du Léman and the Château de Nyon with the children. FREE ENTRY.
 © Remy Gindroz

© Remy Gindroz

 

ONGOING:

  • until 4th January 2015: 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 and amazing Xmas lights!
© Ville d'Annecy

© Ville d’Annecy

 

  • until 4th January 2015: Xmas celebrations at indoor playcentre C L’Aventure in Annemasse (France), with fab Xmas decorations and themed activities to put you in the festive mood! You can read more about C L’Aventure in our previous post.
© C L'Aventure, Annemasse

© C L’Aventure, Annemasse

 

  • until 4th January 2015: 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

 

  • until 4th January 2015: Trop Humain, an exhibition at the Musée International de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge in Geneva (Avenue de la Paix 17). This selection of works that look at the suffering inflicted by human beings on other human beings is the result of a collaboration between the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum and the Mamco in Geneva. As the official website quotes: “A set of exhibits has been put together that range from historical scenes from the First World War by Otto Dix, through an etching by Pablo Picasso and a painting by Zoran Mušič, to more recent creative activity, illustrated, for example, by the bodies in pain of Louise Bourgeois (1998). The exhibition provides an opportunity to delve into the history of the world and of humanity by embarking on a veritable journey through modern and contemporary art. It includes rare artists, such as Leon Golub and Felix Nussbaum, and even some real finds, such as Nikolai Getman.” Click here for the complete list of all activities linked to this exhibition.
© Musée international de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge

© Musée international de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge

 

  • until 11th January 2015: Geneva Lux Festival 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 around Rue du Rhône, Place Longemalle, Bel-Air ainsi and l’Ile Rousseau. A truly unmissable sight!
© 2014 Geneva Tourism

© 2014 Geneva Tourism

 

© 2014 Ville de Genève

© 2014 Ville de Genève

 

  • until 18th January 2014: Keith Haring Affiches Vintage, a fantastic free exhibition at the Quartier Libre SIG in Geneva (Pont de la Machine 1). This is the first time that Haring’s vintage posters have been exhibited in Switzerland, so it’s a great opportunity to see his collection of 85 posters designed to support important causes such as the fight against racism, AIDS and environmental, a truly unique insight into the world of 1980s NYC. The Quartier Libre SIG is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. FREE ENTRY, they also offer free guided tours of the exhibition in French or English (suitable from age 11) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 9.15am, 10.30am and 2pm for groups of 10 people minimum.
© Copyright SIG 2014

© Copyright SIG 2014

 

  • until 1st February 2015: Titanic, a fantastic new exhibition coming up at Geneva’s Palexpo which will tell the real-life stories of its passengers and display artefacts including personal belongings of passengers and crew. Not only that, but reconstitutions of the Great Staircase and the First Class Cabins will give you a feeling of what it was like to be on board a the time. Tickets are 22CHF for adults and 16CHF for children aged 6 to 15; family tickets are 64CHF – advance booking is recommended as this exhibition is very popular.
 © Titanic - L'Exposition

© Titanic – L’Exposition

 

  • until 15th February 2015: L’arbre à voeux du Jardin botanique at the Geneva Botanical Gardens. This is a symbolic tree placed at the main entrance of the Botanical Gardens, where everyone is invited to make a personal or general wish for the coming year. Personal wishes can be written on a piece of paper and left in the boîte à voeux, while general wishes for the whole community can be written on a ribbon and then hang from the wishing tree. You will find everything you need to make your wish in the nearby golden pavillion. FREE ENTRY.
 © Ville de Genève

© Ville de Genève

 

L’arbre à voeux du Jardin botanique © CJB

L’arbre à voeux du Jardin botanique © CJB

 

  • until 11th April 2015: “Dompter la lumière”, a fun interactive exhibition at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle in Geneva about the nature of light and how it can be tamed by reflection, refraction and other phenomena. The children will love the periscopes, kaleidoscopes and mirrors that will repeat images in a never-ending line. Free entry, click here to download the full brochure of the exhibition in English.
© N. Conus

© N. Conus

 

  • until 25th October 2015: “L’œil nu” a fantastic new exhibition suitable from age 7 at the Espace des Inventions in Lausanne (Vallée de la Jeunesse 1). The exhibition will teach your little ones everything there is to know about sight and vision, through a series of interactive stations. Alongside the exhibition there will also be a series of fun workshops for ages 7 to 12 called “Le Club des petits inventeurs”, from 2pm to 5pm on selected days. Click here to download the list of activities.
© Copyright 2014 Espace des Inventions. Tous droits réservés.

© Copyright 2014 Espace des Inventions. Tous droits réservés.

 

© CERN, Geneva

© CERN, Geneva

 

  • 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.
© Château de Prangins (VD)

© Château de Prangins (VD)

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