Thursday, 10 December 2015

Winter Festival in Oyonnaz this Saturday Dec 12th from 3 p.m. till 7 p.m. , 1.5 hrs driving from Geneva

This is a great and somehow magic event that takes place each year in  Oyonnaz , 90 km from Geneva in nearby France.
This Saturday , December 12th ,the village celebrates la Fete de l'Hiver, the Winter Festival with more than 150 groups of artists, colorful streets parades, musicians , Christmas Markets ,Santa Claus arrival and his house, several kids activities ,many carnival style costumes , night fireworks at 6.45 p.m. and much more
The  full program of the day can be seen on Oyonnaz website
This is an unique event a  great way to spend an afternoon

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

How to celebrate the New Year 2016 at THERMAL BATHS Pre St Didier Aosta -1.5 hrs driving from Geneva

In absence of a lot of snow, this post wants to let you know the possibility of celebrating the New Year 2016 at only 1.5 hrs from Geneva in a very unusual way  .
The Pre' St Didier Themal Bath Resort, one of the most beautiful thermal Spas  in Italy anddefinitively my favorite one, organizes a Party at the Baths in the theme of the magic white fairies that bring good fate and happiness
Dress code is just your swimming suit , the party starts on December 31st at 8.30 p.m. and ends at 1.30 p.m. price per person is 250 Euro including unlimited use of the fantastic bath facilities (see my previous post) , buffet dinner and the possibility to enjoy beauty treatments
Places are limited,  so book now if you are interested. The area offers several accommodations, look in the Valle D'Aosta website to book
© Copyright 2013 Terme di Pré Saint Didier S.r.l.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

How to rent a Carnival /EScalade COSTUME at little prices - for adults and children - La caverne d'Ali Baba' Acacias

The Geneva Escalade event is next week end and Carnival is coming soon, better to get organized to get a costume, especially if your kids will participate to the Escalade celebration at school or of you plan to enjoy some important carnivals like the Venice one (see my previous post about the importance to wear at costume at Venice Carnival)

If you would like to rent a costume for you or for your kids, the place to go is  La Caverne d'Ali Baba, in Rue Du Grand Bureau 26 ,1227 Les Acacias Geneve , phone 0223423636 .
Price are very reasonable and there is a very large choice of beautiful costumes  This place belongs to an association that helps people in needs so this is another good reason to rent costumes there.
I have rented a Pulcinella (Italian mask) costume for my son last year because he had to act that character at his  school theater ,  and the staff at the Caverne was very kind and helpful.
Worth going!!

How to meet Santa Claus in his Mountain house 1.5 hrs from Geneva -ROCHERS DE NAYE till December 24th

In my previous post I talked about Santa Claus house in Italy in Ornavasso , this post is related to another beautiful place , at just 1.5-2 hrs driving from Geneva  where it is possible to meet Santa Claus  and spend a day in one of the most spectacular areas of Switzerland.
This place is called Rochers de Naye, it's over 2000 mt height and it can be reached from Montreux in less than 1 hour via the typical  Swiss mountain trains, the view from there is breathtaking , during clear days, and only this would be worth the trip as this sightseeing is one of the most famous attraction of the Country !
Santa Claus enjoying the view at Rocher De Naye

Once arrived, children have many attractions at their disposal , then they visit Santa Claus' house and meet him there.Unforgettable! 

Important : this is a quite popular excursions in Switzerland , there are many trains a day that go back and forth between Montreux and Rochers de Naye  however during week ends they are often fully booked so do book well in advance.! Price for the train excursion is 39 CHF for adults and 19 CHF for children from 6-16 years old, there is also the possibility to spend the night there and enjoy Santa Claus company even longer.

How to meet Santa Claus House inside a Pink Marble Natural Cave in Ornavasso - 3 hrs driving from Geneva

This is a magic place that is worth a day trip, Santa Claus 's true home is located in Ornavasso , in Italy at about 30 km from Domodossola. Check the  official website for additional info
Santa Claus 's house is inside a true pink marble cave, the same where  700 years ago the marble that was used to build Milan's Gothic cathedral was extracted .

Once arrived in Ornavasso , visitors are welcome by Santa Claus ' toys trains that bring them at the entrance of the cave, then a  200 mts walk inside a tunnel takes them in the earth of the mountain where Santa Claus lives.
During the journey visitors  meet gnomes  and other Santa Claus assistants who sing, play and help Santa to build and pack toys so the overall experience is really extraordinary .
Santa Claus house is inside a beautiful park where it is possible to see reindeer and to visit the Christmas market where to buy art craft and nice product from the areas.
The Santa Clause Home can be visited every day till January 6th . From Geneva the easiest way is to go by train , the train leaves Geneva at about 7 a.m. and arrives at Domodossola at 10 a.m., from there a shuttle takes them to Ornavasso in 30 minutes and then via the Santa Claus trains visitors arrive directly to the cave.

Tickets price varies depending on the type of itinerary chosen, prices start at 15 Euro for kids above 3 years.
Important : booking in advance is required , although most dates are already full  it's worth trying
Worth a full day trip!

Monday, 30 November 2015

How to skate on the lakes - the 4 FROZEN LAKES in Switzerland where it is possible to walk, skate and much more !

I 'm writing this article because , even if I live in Switzerland since more than 10 years , I have to admit that   didn't know that it was possible to walk and skate on the lakes . Since my childhood  I've always dreamed about walking on the frozen lakes and so I decided to share this "discovery" with you.
people enjoying the frozen lake in the valle du Joux -

 4 Swiss lakes offer this possibility , and actually many winter sports can be played on the frozen lakes, including cross-country skiing , curling , ice hockey and ...yachting!. 
Outdoors and  settings are sumptuous and the experience must be unforgettable, I definitively plan to try it this winter . Watch out : there is no supervision so the access is the responsibility of everyone. Important: please check websites and weather conditions before going, you might go and then discover that  the lake is not frozen and therefore not accessible.
Here is the list of the 4 lakes, in order of dimension of the surfaces.

image of the lake fr Joux from
Lac de Joux, Le Pont (VD)
In the heart of the Joux Valley, this is the largest natural ice rink in Europe. A giant playground of a surface of 9.5 km2 that it’s open in January and February , however opening season might vary depending on snow conditions. Many winter sports can be played on the lake, worth trying

ChampexLac (VS)
At the foot of the Mont-Blanc sits a beautiful alpine lake that borders the Champex station. This "little Canada in Switzerland" is the delight of skaters, sometimes until April.  1.2 km2 

Lac des Taillères, La Brévine (NE)
Between pastures and snowy pine forests, Lake Taillères in winter it becomes the place of wild slides of Neuchâtel Opening timing are from November till February , the area is 2km2

Black Lake, Schwarzsee (FR)
Adjacent to the resort center and easily accessible, the romantic Black Lake is nestled at the foot of the Fribourg Alps. It’s open from December till March , the area is  0.45 km2

The 5 Most Beautiful TOBOGGAN RUNS in Switzerland

Snow season is about to start, this post is for the ones who prefer  toboggan /sled  to skis or who loves both.
Here is the list of the most beautiful toboggan run in Switzerland , some of the runs quoted here are among the most famous in Europe !
While browsing in Davos website I found out that Sledging was a very popular sport in  Davos  in the XIX Century , and it's there that a famous model of sledge was invented , the carpenters were inspired by the  Norwegian ones and the very first sledge race took place in 1883.

An image from XIX Century taken by Davos story book

  1. The longest toboggan run in Europe BIG PINTENFRITZ/GRINDELWAD is 15 km long and a spectacular view; it starts at Faulhorn at 2680 mt and ends in Grindelwald at 1034 mt , medium difficulty  
  2. FIESCHERALP/FIESCH -EGGISHORN is 13 km long , it starts at Fiescheralp at 2222 mt and it ends in Lax 1039 mt , starting point is easily accessible , the run is spectacular , difficulty :easy
  3. LA TZOUMAZ/SAVOLEYERS  is 10 km long and it's the closest to Geneva , it starts at 2354 mt and it ends 819 mt lower, 6 times a year during full moon night , the run is open at night and special evening events are organized 
  4. PREDA-BERGUN/GRAUBUNDEN is the longest run in Europe with night lighting,it is 6 km long ,it starts in Preda at 1789 mt and it ends in Bergun at 1386 mt, it's a challenging one with exciting turns ,  difficulty :medium.
  5. RINERHORN/DAVOS, it is 3.5 km long and 34 turns (!) , it has night lighting on Wednesdays and on Fridays.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

How to enjoy ICE SKATING- the 10 ice skating rinks in Geneva - UPDATED

The Ice skating season is back  , below I have listed the places where it is possible to enjoy this sport with friends and family .My personal preference goes to the Bastions and the Carouge ones , mainly for the nice atmosphere and for the locations,  however all ice rings are great and especially the ones in Vernets, Thonex and Meyrin and very well equipped and can satisfy even the most experienced skaters.


The Patinoire des Bastions , open till February 28th 2016, it is small and nice ring in the heart of town inside the beautiful Parc , it's closed on Mondays .

The Patinoire de Charmilles , in Promenade de l'Europe 11, it is open till March 26th  2016, and it's closed on Sundays and on Mondays. On Tuesdays and on Saturdays afternoon there is skating &  music.

The Patinoire de Grand Saconnex in Campagne du Chateaux , it is open till February 28th 2016, and it's closed on Mondays. Every Saturday morning from 9a.m. till 10 a.m. there are free courses of hockey for little girls who want to try this sport.

The Patinoire de Carouge  in Place de la Sardaigne in the heart of Carouge it is open till February 28th 2016 and it's the one offering a very interesting program with several interesting events including DISCO  kids every Friday afternoon.

The Pationire de Vernets  in Rue Hand Wilsdorf  4-6 in Acacias district is very big and it offers 2 ice ring, one outdoor and the other  indoor , it is open till March 31st 2015 , opening hours varies by week and day , it's open 7 days a week., please check the website for more information.

The Patinoire des Vergers  in Rue de Vernes in Meyrin it is open till March 13th  2016 , it is indoor and it's open  7 days a week, please check the website for more information about the opening hours.

The Patinoire des Sous Moulin in  the Centre Sportif de Sous Moulin in Thonex it's open till March 22 th 2016. It is open 7 days a week, please check the website for more information.

© D. Jordan / Ville de Genève
Le Patinoire de Plan Des Ouates is installed in the sport camp of the Ecole du Pre Du Camp ,it is open till February 28th 2016,ice skates can be rented for FREE (presentation of identity card required) . It is closed on Mondays. Disco events are planned on a monthly bases.

Le Patinoire de Plan De Bernex is installed in  Chemin du Signal 29 ,it is open till February 26th 2016 ,it is closed on Mondays

Le Patinoire de Versoix is installed in the heart of the village in the Place Du Bourg and it is open till February 21th  2016 , 7 days a week.Entrance is free!

In addition to the above ones, there are other 2  ice skating rinks in Collonge Bellerive and Bellevue

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The 15 Christmas Markets 2015 in Geneva area

.I love exploring the small typical Christmas Markets in the area of Geneva to look for original artistic gifts and  decorations for my Christmas tree 

Images of the Vernier Christmas Market
I couldn't find any website that groups all these little markets that take place in the week ends in the villages  around Geneva in the months of o November and December 
Here are the most popular ones . Worth a visit f you are in town 

Meyrin :  from November 25th till November 28th 
Confignon on November 28th
Plan Les Ouates: November 28th -29th
Chene Bourg : on November 28th and 29th
Chancy : on November 28th and 29th
Bernex , on November 28th

Vandouvre on November 28th
Lully on November 29th 
Cologny on December 5th and 6th
Dardagny on December 6th
Russin  on November 29th
Grand Saconnex on Decmber 4th and 5th
Vernier from December 4th till December 6th
Carouge  on December 11th-12th-13th
Corsier  on December 13th and 14th 
images of Carouge Christmas Market from


Come and see the giant Christmas Crib in Geneva Grand Lancy Church Our Lady of Graces from Nov.23rd till January 17th

If you like Christmas Cribs/Nativities  then you shouldn't miss to visit one of the world's largest Cribs, that has been installed in the Church of Grand Lancy, Our Lady of Graces in Passage  1 Aout 3 in Grand Lancy (Geneva)  .
The Crib  is  open  to the public every day till January 17th 2016, and it has been installed in Geneva after having been exposed in Lausanne and in Yverdon Les Bains in the last years.
This Crib takes a space of 90 sqm and illustrates the life in a Sicilian village of the 17th century , the entry is free and your children will simply love to discover every single detail of the village's life.

The Crib landscape is dynamic because  new characters are added every day. Mary and Joseph will appear on December 8th and the Baby Jesus will arrive in the night of  December 24th . Visitors can touch the Crib, smell the fragrances of the orange trees , listen to the sound of the fountains and the background music.
Worth seeing it!

The top 5 most beautiful Christmas Markets 2015 at driving distance from Geneva

Image taken from the official website of Strasbourg Christmas event
When I arrived in Geneva many years ago I struggled to find out which ones among the many Christmas Markets, were worth visiting, this is why  I decided to write this post , I hope this will make your life a bit easier enabling faster decision about where to go...
Here below the list of the top 5 most beautiful Christmas Markets that can be visited in one day trip from Geneva, note however that although the visit can be done in one day, nevertheless a two days visit is recommended for all of them except for Montreaux.
If you plan to go there by train , I would strongly suggest to buy the tickets as soon as possible , the same is valid for the hotels if you decide to stay overnight , that I would recommend to live the charming atmosphere , in fact Hotels are booked with even a year in advance and it's not easy to find a place during the weekends.
Note that due to the recent tragic facts in Paris, the Christmas Market events program has been reduced and several events have been cancelled, and there are very strict security measure to access the sites, so check websites before going

Image of Bremgarten Christmas Market

Here is  my Top 5 Christmas Market list :

  1. Strasbourg Christmas Market , from November 27th till December 24th ,this is a  MUST SEE , for me the one and only, the most beautiful , the most charming and the most touching , also because the town is by itself magnificent and would be worth a visit even outside the Christmas period . The market has been voted as the best one in Europe.
  2. Colmar Christmas Market , from November 20th till December 31st ,it can be combined with Strasbourg in one trip. The village is also called the small Venice and its beautifully decorated with about 200 wooden chalets, this year there will be 5 small markets linked to each other. 
  3. Bremgarten Christmas Market ,( close to Zurich) from Decermber3th  till December 6th, the largest and very authentic Christmas Market in Switzerland with 320 stalls in the Medieval Old Town .
  4. Morat/Murten Christmas Market  from December 11th till December  13th , very charming Christmas Market held in the beautiful Medieval village, in particular great and magic atmosphere at night 
  5. Montreaux  Christmas Market from Nov 20st till Dec 24th , this market takes place in the glamorous town on  the lake, may be not the most traditional Christmas market, however the easiest to reach , at only 1 hour by train , worth  an afternoon trip.


How to see the world's largest CRIB/ Nativity Scene in 5 Terre MANAROLA - From December 8th till February 1st 2016

If you haven't yet decided what to do for the new year's Eve or just want to take a break and see something really extraordinary, come and visit the 5 Terre in Liguria at only 6 hrs driving from Geneva and specifically go to see the World's LARGEST CRIB  (Presepe in Italian) in Manarola, one of the 5 little villages on the sea.
The Crib is recorded in the Guinness Records  Book as the largest in the world.
The Crib will be visible from December 8th until the end of January 2016 , the nativity scene is as big as the entire mountain behind the village.
The characters are designed with electric cables and lights , thanks to the art and patience of a man , Mario Andreoli, a retired railman born in Manarola who has dedicated to this work more than 30 years of his life from 1976 till 2007.
Mr. Andreoli has used more than 8Km of electric cables , 17000 bulbs and more than 300 life size models made of environmental friendly , recyclable materials. To note that since 2008 the Crib has become ecological in fact it is powered by a photo voltaic system.

5 Terre can be easily reached by train via Milano- La Spezia or by car, in this case the best is to stop in La Spezia and book an hotel there because the 5 villages cannot be reached by car .

To organize a trip there, either you book an hotel in La Spezia directly, or contact the tourist office

Sunday, 1 November 2015

How to meet Santa Claus and visit his house - Hameau du Pere Noel - Cruseilles -20 min from Geneva

Santa Claus' house , le Hameau du Pere Noel is a mandatory destination for all families with kids in November and December, although this place is open all year long. This kids' Paradise is in nearby France in Andilly/Cruseilles, 20 minutes drive from the center of Geneva on the way to Annecy via normal road.
 Image of Santa Claus' house -copyright

The ticket to visit Santa Claus' House has different prices depending on the period chosen. It costs a maximum of 12 Euro for adults and 6 Euro for kids during peak season, on Sundays in December, 8  Euro during the weekdays.
It will take 1-2 hours to complete the visit this very nice Chalet and surrounding garden , your kids will see where Santa Claus spends his days during the year preparing for Christmas :your kids will be delighted to see the kitchen, the bedroom, the toy factory and to meet Santa Claus and have the opportunity to write and mail their letters to him with.
Worth visiting , please consider that the place is crowded in Decembers week ends and go in the mornings to avoid queuing.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Pumpkin carving workshop for kids on Saturday October 31st in Thoiry

This is a great activity for kids, it's open to any kid who will bring his/her own pumpkin; the workshop costs just 3Euro/kid which includes the pumpkin carving lesson and a snack.
The workshop starts at 2.30 p.m. in Thoiry, in nearby France about 30 minutes from Geneva city center.
More information below and in the following link

© Récré

How to enjoy Halloween with kids the TOP 5 HALLOWEEN PARTIES FOR KIDS in Geneva and/or close by

It's Halloween time ! My 10 years old son can't wait to wear his vampire costume and go screaming around to celebrate it with his friends!
Here below my  list of the best Halloween parties for kids that take place in Geneva or not too far from here:

  1.  Halloween  Night at the Adventure Park in Les Evaux (in Onex area, few km far from Geneva city center) on October 30th and  31st the park will be exceptionally open at night  from 6 p.m. till 11 p.m. for a special night with all the tree climbing activities and sports attractions. available to all little vampires, witches, phantoms and so on... Minimum age : 7 years old, reservation required. Cost is about 38 CHF per person
  2. Halloween Night at the Parc l'Adventure in Annemasse , just at the French border   on October 31st from 7.30 p.m. till 11p.m. for kids as of 1 year old with many animations  and scary snacks included . Price per person ranges between 10 Euro to 16 Euro/kid depending on the age 

3.  Halloween Festival at the Signal de Bougy , 40 minutes drive from Geneva , it starts on Saturday October 31st as of 12 p.m. and on Sunday November 1st as of 10 a.m. with several activities , costume shows and many entertainments for kids of any age. FREE entry

4.  Halloween celebration at the Maison Cailler , 1.5 hrs drive from Geneva , this worldwide famous chocolate factory is worth a visit any time of the year, however on October 31st there is an additional reason to visit it, in fact the Maison Cailler will celebrate Halloween and all visitors (adults and kids) who will enter the Factory dressing Halloween costumes will not pay the entry ticket and will be offered chocolate and many other special entertainments . Open from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.

5  Halloween Party at Yatouland , in Vernier district, few km drive from Geneva , close to IKEA, on Saturday October 31st, from 2 p.m. till 8 p.m. ; all types of special attractions are available for kids as of 1 year old. The price is 15 CHF/child
from yatouland

Thursday, 22 October 2015

How discover the Aosta Valley 's most ancient traditions ; THE BLACK BREAD Festival on October 24th and 25th

This week end is a very special one for the Aosta Valley. It's the week end of the Black Bread Festival that celebrates one of the oldest traditions of the valley.
During this week end the public oven of 50 Villages will be open to the public to cook the black bread. This bread used to be prepared and baked once a year by the families living in the valley. Each family could use the communal oven and bake an amount of bread that would last many months and feed the family.
 Picture of an ancient oven  from Valle D'Aosta official website

The black bread is made with wheat and rye and enriched with nuts and other ingredients from the valley, it could be eaten fresh or dry and it lasted many months. At the moment of eating it was cut using a special equipment and put in milk or in the hot water together with meat.

During this week end in each of the 50 villages the ancient oven from the past centuries will be open and activated again and through the entire weekend many activities will be organized, all around the black bread.

In particular, for bike lovers, a mountain bike tour is organized to visit the most beautiful ovens by bike  . The tour costs 30 euro/person and it inlcudes the tasting of different products of the valley , it can be booked on the following website

The best way to plan your weekend is to consult the black bread festival website and select the villages that participate to this initiative to know the specific activities planner there.

Not to miss UNOG Open Day to celebrate the 70 anniversary on Saturday October 24th from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.

This is a not to miss opportunity !
The United Nation Organizations celebrate their 70th anniversary and in this occasion they open the door  the public for a series of exceptional activities including concerts, exhibitions,  ballets , movies, choirs and many more events. During the day it will be also possible to visit the 80 stands with the representations of the permanent missions, specialized agencies and other partners who will explain their activities and programs.

The full program of the day is available in English in the UNOG website 
Here is a sample of the unique activities that can be done during the day
  • Inauguration of the Rebirth sculpture at noon
  • Free Guided Tours of the Palais de Nations and the Library
  • Simulation of the Large Hadron Collider by CERN 
Children activities include puppet shows , workshops and much more .

Worth mentioning that in the Ariana park ,the Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) will demonstrate how Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are used to obtain visuals in difficult  to reach areas during crisis situations

Friday, 9 October 2015

The BEE FESTIVAL in Lancy on Saturday October 17th - THE family event around nature and animals

The first Bee Festival is is a great way to spend the day with your kids and family.On Saturday the beautiful Parc Navazza in Petit Lancy hosts from 9a.m. till 4.30p.m. many food stalls  all around the bees, you can find many bio products , farm animals, pony tours for kids, musics, and many kids workshops focused on nature. Worth a stop!
More info on the Lancy website

How to feel like a star - Change your look/style ! Personalized 3 hrs seminar in GLOBUS Rue de Rhone on October October 27th and November 7th

Have you ever dreamed about going through a complete transformation of your look?
This is now possible in Globus where  you can have a personalized session with their best make up experts and personal shoppers working on your style and image for 2.5- 3 hours to shape the new you!

This session has to be booked online in the Globus website , and it costs 279 CHF , this includes hair styling, make up lesson, style advice by a personal shopper and also a professional photograph session at the end of your "transformation".
I think it's a great idea if you are would like to feel different and change your look/style and also if you want to make a gift to a good girl friend.
The sessions take place in Globus City center on October 27th and on November 7th , places are limited !!!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

DISCO ON ICE strikes back again at Vernets Ice Rink as of October 17th from 7.30 p.m. till midnight

It's again Disco time at the Vernets Ice Rink  in  Rue Hans Wilsdorf 4 , 1227 Les Acacia  in Geneva
Next dates are :
October 17th
November 21st
December 26th
January 23rd
February 6 2016

Entry ticket costs 6 CHF (3CHF until 25 years old) ; skates rental costs 2 CHF ; from 7.30 p.m. till midnight with DJ and disco lights
Image from the Vernets Disco night, from website

For food lovers : Festival Gourmandiv' on Saturday October 10th in DIVONNE LES BAIN - More than 20 activities for families

If you are looking for a nice and original way to spend the day , this is a great event that takes place in Divonne Les Bains this Saturday October 10th
The FESTIVAL GOURMANDIV'  will take place in the beautiful village of Divonne Les Bains, 30 minutes driving from Geneve in nearby France . The festival consists into more than 20 activities such as food tasting, cooking lessons, concerts, exhibitions , cinema that take place in different areas of the village through the whole day starting from 11a.m.
To access the activities just go to the tourist office and buy a bracelet that costs 4 Euro per adult and 3 Euro per child and then join the crowd !
The full program is in Divonne Les Bains website

FREE Italian Cooking lessons at SAIG on October 15th and on October 29th

As already talked in previous posts, the Italian  cooking  classes  organized by SAIG, the "Societa' delle Associazioni Italiane a Ginevra"  are free of charge and take place each month, in the evenings ; in October the lessons will be on October 15th  ( a typical dish from  Piemonte Region )  and on October 29th    (a typical dish from Friuli Venezia Giulia Region ) in the SAIG offices in Av Ernest Pictet 10 in  Charmilles .
Courses are given by people who have a passion for cooking and are in Italian .
If you would like to enroll , please call  Mr Vaccaro, at 078 8653500  , see  below for details.
Places are limited,so enroll soon!

How to be speleologist for one day SPELAION in Meyrin Shopping Center until Oct 17th -free entry

SPELAION is an unique travelling exhibition , sponsored by the Switzerland Association of Speleologists , that is  hosted at  the Meyrin Shopping Center  until Oct 17th .

This exhibition offers , among other things , the reproduction of a real size cave and several activities for kids, such as for example the rope descent , under the supervision of expert speleologists
All activities and exhibitions modules are free and available during the shopping center opening hours.

Friday, 2 October 2015

For Chocolate lovers : Chocolate Rallye Geneva on Saturday October 3rd FREE entry

This is the first edition of this feast that takes place in Geneva  this Saturday and it's  dedicated to chocolate lovers , to enroll in it it's free of charge.
The rules are the following: there are 12 chocolate producers based in Geneva,6 on the left and 6 on right bank; the list can be found in the  Chocolate Rallye website. To get started in the Rallye you just go to one of them and get an itinerary card ; you then follow the itinerary and visit the other producers.
You will get free chocolate tasting at each stop and you will get some hints to go to the next stop, like in a treasure hunt game . At the end of the itinerary you can apply for a ruffle with very nice prizes. The Rallye starts at 10.30 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.
I'm going to participate to this Rallye, will you join?

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

How to enjoy the COWS PARADE and FAIR in Cogne Aosta Valley on October 3rd and 4th

Another amazing feast like the one that took place last weekened in Charmey , see my previous post, will take place this week in Cogne, a beautiful village in the Aosta Valley at about 2 hours driving from Geneva
The feast celebrates the descent of the cows from the mountains to the valley where they will stay the entire winter, this is called in the local dialect "Deveteya" .

The program is full of activities that includes the famous cows parade on Saturday and on Sunday, artcrafts markets, several activities for kids and special menus  in restaurants.
Unique and not to miss event,  the full program of the week end is described in the Cogne village website

It's TROCs time ! Buy excellent toys and branded children clothes for very cheap prices . Second hand-GENEVA families sales

If you want to buy great quality second hand children clothes , children furniture, accessories and  toys at super bargain prices , you should go to a TROC , this is a special sale event that  takes place twice a year in most districts of Geneva and it's organized by the  families who live in the area  .

Normally the  TROC takes place on Saturday mornings between March and April and between October and November , and you can find anything you are looking for  for children from 0 to 16 years old  (all types of toys, children car-seats, strollers, fold-able beds, and all type of clothes, shoes, sport equipments  ...) , if you go early and you don't mind to queue you can make real bargains and find also top quality branded items at ridiculous prices such as 5-10 CHF each
The TROCS typically takes place in the gym of the school or in a very large room and items are placed all over or on tables with the indication of the age for clothes. So first come first served , you have  just to take the items that you like and pay the total at the cashier before exiting, all items are priced with a tag .
The nice of the TROC is that you can also sell your items, you have to get in contact with the association organizing the TROC, they will give you a  personal seller number  to be written  on each item together with your requested price, items have to be deposited one day before the sales and unsold item have to be collected after the sale. It's quite an effort to be a seller so be prepared to invest some hours of your time in it, however it's also a nice experience and a practical way to get rid of things and free up some space at home. Please note do not overprice items , otherwise you will not sell them!
Besides the International Children Clothes fair , mentioned in another post, the list of TROCS in Geneva with the district where they take place and the date are listed in this website:  or in la penderie website

The not to miss TROC for me are the one of Chene Bourg, of Champel and of Carouge , however all of them might deserve a visit, depending from what you are looking for.

Monday, 21 September 2015

The most amazing Alpine Feast - DESALPE in Charmey on September 26th Descent from the mountains pastures

This is a not to miss feast , my favorite one in the Alps, it's when cows come back from mountains to the valley, after having staid more than 4 months in mountains pastures.
The most famous feast takes place in Charmey a very nice village in the Gruyere Region.
Go to Charmey website  to get more information about the program of the day, celebration include alpine music concerts, food stalls, cows parade and much more.
Check schedule and plan logistics carefully, there will be many thousands people there , so you might want to consider to go by train.
Charmey is also hosting  very nice Thermal Baths , see my previosu post so you can also plan a refreshing bath before going back.


This post provide you with 20 possible ways to celebrate your kid’s birthday , in addition to the 3 ways  that I already talked about in two of my previous posts: one post about the parties in Migros and in Coop, the other about the parties in MEG.
I have experienced quite some of the suggestions below, either directly or indirectly, via friends’ worth of mouth or because my son was invited by his friends or because I used one of these options to celebrate my son's birthday , I have added my comments on the ones I liked most.
Note also that most of the below suggestions are quite expensive , this means they cost more than 400-500 CHF for 12 kids, however most of these options are all included- zero stress for parents formulas , there are other ways to organize  your kid’s birthday  via renting a nice place and organize the animation/entertainment, I will talk about it in a separate post.

The 20 most popular children's birthday parties are:

FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN (up to 6 years old ): 
 Yatouland : this is one of the most popular and relatively cheap ways to celebrate kids’ birthdays, and children love the place, it costs from 290CHF to 340 CHF for 2.5 hrs for a maximum of 20 kids
 ( 4 till 10 years old) ,this includes free usage of games and a reserved area , there is no dedicated animations so parents have to supervise and coordinate children entertainment ,  several birthdays can take place at the same time in parallel so this can be a bit chaotic, however it’s a proven formula that works well, especially for kids 4-6 years old.    

Orchestra Land in la Praille : this is one of my favorite places for birthdays of  young kids
(younger than 6 years old ) , my son attended several birthday parties and he always had funt, they organize birthday parties with different themes with an animator dressed according to the chosen theme who that takes care of the children entertainment. Parties last 1.5 hrs and are for kids from 4 till 10 years old , they  costs  17 CHF for child all included till 12 children , the party is more expensive for bigger groups.

The little gym . Its formula is very similar to the one of Orchestra Land , they organize all included birthday parties for kids from 1 till 12 years old for a cost of 450 CHF for 15 children. We organized my son 4th year birthday party there and it went well and it was very relaxing for us because we didn't have to worry  about anything. I think this formula works for very young children and in fact we organized different types of activities after that experience when my son grew up.

Gymboree organizes birthday parties for children from 6 months till  5 years old , with the same type of formula. I have never been there so I can’t talk by experience , the party costs 690 CHF for 2 hrs for 20 kids .

Baby Gym La Praille , same type of scheme than the Orchestra, The little gym , Gymboree, they organize parties for children from 1 till 13 years old and have a huge variety of themes and structures , for example for older children they organize a disco dinner or lunch . My son attended many parties when he was very young, between 4-6 years old  and I think this is the best age for these types nof parties. I don’t know how the formula for older children works  , note also that  prices are not displayed  on their website.

Bowling in laPraille : this  is a very popular type fo party and a formula of proven success that children love. It is suitable for kids  of  7 years or older and it costs 19-21 CHF per child including two games and a reserved area to eat and to celebrate.  My son attended several birthday parties there and he always had great fun.

Intersoccer  also organizes birthday parties for children from 3 to 13 years old who love playing soccer and sports in general. Party includes a soccer game and medals at the end . My son has never   attended one of these parties , however given the Intersoccer is a quite famous association I would assume that these parties are well organized , prices are not displayed in their website so worth asking

 Karting in Ville La Grand area (nearby France) , this is an unforgettable way for male kids to celebrate their birthdays, I would recommend it for children older than 8-9 years old  although the Karting birthday party is offered to children between 6 and 14 years old. Price for 1 game and  1.5 hours party is 27 Euro/child , for 2 games 2.5 hours party is 40 Euro .

Vitam’parc in Neydens  (nearby France) organizes birthday parties for children from 4 till 12 years old. There are several formulas: parties in swimming pool ,  climbing parties , disco kids parties , prices vary from 15 Euro to 27 Euro per child  each party includes 1 hour supervision and training from a professional sport expert or animator. My son went to a couple of these parties and he enjoyed them very much.

Lasergame  (in Geneva and in Ville La Grand) : this is a great way to celebrate children birthdays and they simply love it. It is suitable for kids older than 7 years . The party includes 2 games ,drinks and separate reserved area. There is a Lasergame in Eaux Vives and one in Ville La Grand . I organized my son’s 8th year birthday party in Ville La Grand  because it is much cheaper and offers the same type of equipment. It was a big success!

Lasergame outdoor in Divonne les Bains . If you like the concept of war missions and complex team strategies and if your kid is older than 8-9 years old and if his birthday is in a warm weather period than this is an unique birthday experience and I would definitively recommend it ,my son still talks about the party that one of  his best friends had many months ago.
That said , it's important that  it's all about military games and wars so if you don't like this theme better choosing something else. I 'm not a particular fan of these themes , however I had to say that the way the game works is outstanding for the  attention of every single details , starting from the explanation of the strategies and the dressing uniforms, Unforgettable experience for children, it costs 10 Euro per child for 1 hr game and 30 Euro/child for 2.5 hrs game, however better check with them directly.

Parc adventure des Evaux in Onex  is a great place in Onex just 20 minutes from Geneva city center , teh parc is inside a beautiful forest and they have several formulas for birthday parties ,mainly about high ropes (acchrobranches in French)  the parties structure depends on the children age. For children from 3 to 6 years old the party costs  25 CHF per child , they have guided mini climbing /ropes with an animator and different games, for older children 7-11 and till 13 years old   they have more adventurous climbing on treasure hunting and mystery solving themes , parties cost 30 CHF per child , they last 3 hours and include the trainer for high ropes for 1 hr. I didn't know this type of parties , they look great especially in nice season weather and I'm sure they offer a truly unique experience for your child , especially if his/her birthday takes place in a weather warm period.

Vivarium Meyrin : this is one of my son’s favorite place because he loves reptiles , the birthday party there is relative cheap and offers 2.5 hrs great fun including a guided tour and direct experiences touching some of the animals , it costs 250 CHF for a maximum of 12 children. Birthday cake and drinks not included. My son was invited to a birthday party there and he loved it. Perfect for kids above 7-8 years old

Refuge de Darwin in Sezenove  -Far West and horses, this is another great and original way to celebrate your chid ’s birthday party, especially if he /she loves horses . This fantastic place hosts the association that takes care about the protection of horses ,  and organizes birthday parties for kids older than 5 years old  on the theme of the Far West . There are two formulas for parties, one costs  35 CHF per child and the other 45 CHF per child , the first lasts 1.5 hours and is about Cow Boys and Cow Girls, the second one lasts 3 hours and is about Billy the Kid and Calamity Jane , both formulas have horses as co-protagonists . Strongly recommended for a very original and unforgettable birthday .

 La Gambade Poney Club in Laconnex  organizes  parties for younger children all around Poneys , I don’t know prices but I think it’s a great unforgettable experience for younger kids .

Pronatura  organizes birthday parties for children from 6 to 12 years old in their beautiful natural reserve in Vesenaz , parties are all around the discovery of nature and cost 200 CHF  for a maximum of 12 children  for 1.5 hrs. The place e is magic, I think that the best is during spring and summer and early autumn when the weather is nice.

 Sauvegarde du lac Leman  (Save the Leman lake association)  also organizes birthday parties for children older than 8 years old , parties last  3 hours , their cost varies from  240 CHF to 360 CHF for a maximum of 12 children, the theme is centered about preserving nature and environment . I don’t know too much about these activities but I think that it's a great idea to make children sensitive about the topic and I plan to ask more details to organize there one of my son’s future birthday parties.

La libellule association also organizes birthday parties for kids between 6 and 13 years old, with similar concept than the ones of Pronatura and Sauvegarde du Lac Leman , looking at their website they seems quite organized , worth exploiting ! 

Cinema Pathe’Balexter organizes birthday parties for children from  7 to 12 years old , they include a movie and different types of menu , parties costs  from 29CHF to 35 CHF per child depending on the menu chosen, it seems a good idea especially for children older than 7-8 years and in winter season  however it’s not cheap.

Mc Donald  organizes very  great and very cheap (119 CHF) birthday parties for children from  8 to 12 years old . Parties are themed and last 1.5 hours , they include the children Menu , teh children cakes, many activities  with a dedicated animator , the cost is for 8 children , any additional child costs 12 CHF .