Still recovering from ringing in the new year with friends and family? Same here, hence the late posting of our monthly listings (apologies for that!). January is usually a slow start for everyone, so please remember to check our listings regularly as we will be adding new events every week.
- Did you know you can still visit Santa’s house in Andilly? If all else fails, don’t forget to take a look at our Sunday Survival Guide too!
- Click here to find the best indoor play centres in Geneva, Vaud and nearby France, and remember you can always pop round into your local toy library for a bit of free-play. Here’s a link about great ludothèques in the area.
- 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:
SKIING & SLEDGING:
At this time of the year, ski season is usually in full swing, so take a look at our previous posts about the best family ski-resorts (as voted by you!) and ski-schools for kids close to Geneva. If your little ones are thrill-seekers, why not try out these great winter sledging spots?
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).
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.
- 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).
JANUARY 2017 CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
- 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.
- 4th January 2017: “Galette des rois géante à la patinoire” in Carouge! Celebrate Epiphany at the ice-rink in Carouge from 3pm onwards. French tradition has it that family and friends will share the “galette des rois” cake on the day of the Epiphany. This delicious puff pastry cake, filled with frangipane (a cream made from sweet almonds, butter, eggs and sugar) celebrates the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem. Inside the cake, there is a hidden charm, called “fève” in French, and whoever finds it becomes king/queen for the day and gets to wear the golden crown! FREE ENTRY.
- Friday 6th January 2017: Galette des Rois, Epiphany celebrations in Nyon (VD) starting at 6.30pm on the Place du Midi with the Rois Mages, les Fifres & the Tambours de Nyon leading the torch & candle-lit parade to the Place du Château for a slice of the giant Galette des Rois! FREE ENTRY.
- Saturday 7th January 2017: parent & child “Les P’tits dèj spectacle – Les aventures de la famille Lou Garou” suitable from age 2 this Saturday 7th of January at the salle des fêtes in Gex, France (77 rue de l’horloge). The show will start at 10.15am and will be followed by a slice of the traditional puff pastry cake called Galette des Rois. Tickets are 7 euros for adults and 5 euros for children. As places are limited, it’s highly recommended to book in advance at +33 (0)4 50 28 34 17.
- 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.
- 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.
- until 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.
- 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.
- Wednesday 11th January 2017: “Heureux qui comme Ulysse” theatre show for little ones suitable from age 4 at the Espace Grosselin in Carouge (rue Jacques-Grosselin 31). The show starts at 2.30pm. FREE ENTRY, no advance booking required.
- Wednesday 11th January 2017: “Préparation et moulage des fossiles”, fun workshops in French for kids aged 7+ at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève (1, route de Malagnou). A fun way to discover more about fossils and how to make your own moulds! These free workshops in French take place from 2pm until 4.30pm non-stop.
- Wednesday 11th January 2017: 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.
- Saturday 14th January 2017: Jayland grand opening in Gland (VD). Jayland Gland covers 1500m2 of pure indoor fun across 2 floors including bouncy castles, trampolines, go-karts, kids disco events, birthday parties and much more. GRAND OPENING: Saturday 14th January 2016 from 10am until 6.30pm. JAYLAND, Route de Suisse 41, 1196 Gland (VD). Prices: 2 to 4 years 8CHF per child; 4+ years 14CHF per child; free for all children under 2. Tel. +41 79 102 65 48 +41 79 626 9444.
- until 15th January 2017: 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.
- Wednesday 18th January 2017: “Préparation et moulage des fossiles”, fun workshops in French for kids aged 7+ at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève (1, route de Malagnou). A fun way to discover more about fossils and how to make your own moulds! These free workshops in French take place from 2pm until 4.30pm non-stop.
- Wednesday 18th January 2017: 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.
- Wednesday 25th January 2017: MEGNomade en Europe, guided tour and story-time for ages 5+ conducted in French at the MEG museum in Geneva (Musée d’ethnographie de la Ville de Genève, Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65-67). The tour is open to all and FREE OF CHARGE, meet the group at the information desk. Starting at 2pm until 3.30pm.
- Wednesday 25th January 2017: “Bonhomme Tiroirs” theatre show for little ones suitable from age 1 at the Espace Grosselin in Carouge (rue Jacques-Grosselin 31). There will be 3 performances, the first at 2.30pm; the second at 3.30pm and the last one at 4.30pm. FREE ENTRY, but advance booking is required (click here).
- Wednesday 25th January 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 5pm (on Saturday 28th of January the centre will also be open in the morning from 9.30am until midday). Entry is 3CHF per adult and per child aged 2+.
- Wednesday 25th January 2017: 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.
- Wednesday 25th January 2017: “Préparation et moulage des fossiles”, fun workshops in French for kids aged 7+ at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle, Genève (1, route de Malagnou). A fun way to discover more about fossils and how to make your own moulds! These free workshops in French take place from 2pm until 4.30pm non-stop.
- 27th January – 19th February 2017: Festival Antigel in Geneva. A great festival covering multi genre music concerts, theatre performances, brunches, sports and dance-offs. Family events include a classical music concert by Geneva Camerata on Saturday 18th of February at the Tennis de Champel in Vessy; a concert by Henri Dès on Sunday 5th of February. Click here for the full programme.
- Saturday 28th January 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 morning from 9.30am until midday and in the afternoon from 2.30pm to 5pm. Entry is 3CHF per adult and per child aged 2+.
- Sunday 29th January 2017: Fête de l’hiver au Salève in nearby France. The day will run from 10am to 4pm and activities will include igloo-building workshops, games, treasure hunts and much more! Entry is 5 euros for adults (per each activity) and 3 euros for children.
- 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.
- until 17th March 2017: Dinosaures, a brand new dinosaur exhibition at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle in 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.