Hameau du Pere Noel – not only in winter

Hameau du Pere Noel – not only in winter

A very honest review with surprising tips, not so great pics, and vocabulary too poor to truly present how unique is the Hameau du Père Noel.


Just 10 mins drive from the Swiss-French boarder of Bardonnex, lies the village of Santa, his siblings, and the elves. Each house is decorated with a jaw dropping attention to detail. Imagining what was happening in the brains of people who designed this village is an activity I can never avoid while visiting. It’s just so unbelievably fairy-taily.


Santa’s house let’s us have a glimpse into his private and professional life. What does he eat? How does he store letters and plans his journey? What is he doing in France – shouldn’t he be busy in Lapland now? All these, and more, questions will be answered by Santa himself, or one of his siblings. A tricky thing is, Santa is fast asleep from December 1st till the 24th… (you can hear him snore). The elves on the other hand are very busy, but also very shy. You can hear them, almost see them, but they are quick…


His sister, Mere Noel, has a very cosy house. Downstairs, she keeps a selection of dresses, but also tells stories in a very snug room – a delight! You can also visit upstairs where she sleeps and probably works.


His brother, Père Fouetard, is a mean and angry fellow. Probably jealous of his brother’s fame (siblings rivalry big time). To be honest it must suck to have a brother everybody loves and be given a different role just because he was born in a different year. Of course, we don’t really know the whole story, but let’s show him some compassion. He is the one most eager to chat with everyone… and it is never a jolly conversation. His house is funny though, so pretend you’re brave and go in.

Hameau du Père Noel is also the garden with a giant Christmas tree, elves garden, Santa’s sledge with its runway (!!!), and letterboxes. There is also a buvette with crepes and beverages, as well as a gift shop with everything you may need for Christmas.


There is also Marchand de Sable – Sandman. He is the one responsible for a goodnight sleep and beautiful dreams. But in the Hameau du Pere Noel he is not sprinkling magical sand into visitors’ eyes. He is the collector of dummies (aka pacifiers). He is the guardian of dummies, and has created a magical place whee children can part with their dummy when they are ready and hang it on one of the many christmas trees. For each dummy, he will buy a dinner for a child in a Third World country. At the end he presents dummies of celebrities: Harry Potter, Batman, the Invisible Man, Mickey Mouse, and more! I wonder how many you can guess.


At the end take a quick walk down the road to find where Santa hid his animals. His reindeers are kept in a real secret location but here you can see and pet rabbits, deers, ponies, sheep, goats, and calves! Additional entry ticket is needed to visit this venue (it is not an official part of the Hameau). Few more details about it here.


For obvious reasons, Hameau du Père Noel is cray crowded on December’s Wednesdays and Weekends. My advise is to go there in early November or in January (no crowds, Santa not asleep). It is also a fab trip in summer (personally tested by yours truly). Of course, the most fun happens during Noel – check the program on their website. The staff assured me that on the 24th we can even see Santa take off – anybody wants to check it for me please?

You will be asked to leave the pram by the entry. The venue is big but not big enough to welcome everyone with a pram.

Hameau is 100% wheelchair adapted.


Le Hameau du Père Noël
75 rue des alouettes
74350 Saint-Blaise

Offical website: Hameau du Pere Noel.


December 2019 in Geneva with kids

December 2019 in Geneva with kids

Well hello! It’s the end of the year already, but not at all the end of the fun! Because in Geneva we have fun all year round. Do you need proofs? Let’s do it!

Sorry for the delay…

Parc des Bastions
Till december 30

After a huge success of the first edition if Geneva’s Christmas Market, we have it back this year! Food, shopping stalls, fondue chalet, pub chalet, ice skating, christmas ambiance, and many activities for kids! You can find them all in Parentville’s calendar and on the official website of the Noel aux Bastions.

Old Town Geneva
December 6-8

The most important holiday in Geneva is here! If you’re interested in what it’s all about I wrote about it here. The celebrations start with the yearly run in the first weekend of December, and are followed by big celebrations with parades, costumes, concerts, and marmite! More info here.

The Night Before Christmas
Simply Theater
Till December 15th

We personally love Simply Theater’s Christmas productions every year. They’re beautiful, funny, perfectly adapted for children, and very festive! Here’s how the theater presents this year’s show: “This year Simply Theatre presents a magical tale for this most magical time of year. A heartwarming adventure story with a beautiful score, ‘The Night Before Christmas’ is sure to leave you full of Festive cheer”. Book your tickets here.

Concours Hippique
December 12-15

Calling all the enthusiasts of horse-riding and horses in general. This highly renown international competition is such a thrill! Z loves observing the riders, and looking through equestrian gadgets in the shopping area. There is also a pong initiation time slot on Saturday morning, as well as fun shows. Check it out here.

Green Noel Pop up Market
Baham Yellow (Plainapalas area)
December 14

This Green (read eco) pop up market has been organised by fellow expats. It will be the whole day of fun, with kids workshops throughout the day, lunch, drinks, and a Christmas party in the evening. This pop-up concept in an attempt to open a dialogue on sustainable living and offer an opportunity for communities within Geneva to embrace living and loving sustainability. Please, save the date and check them out!

The Wind in the Willows
Geneva Amateur Operatic Society
Nyon, till December 15th

GAOS presents as the adaptation of children’s classic book from 1908. It’s an opportunity to meet with Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger in a modern-day production.
It’s a show for the whole family (but it is 2,5 hours long)! Tickets are disappearing fast, so don’t hesitate and book yours!

Carouge Magique
Till February

The city of Carouge amazes each time they organize festivities of any kind. The yearly celebrations of the end of the year season are no exception. The city stunningly Decorated with works of artists, will make a stroll through the streets of Carouge an unforgettable experience. there is also an ice rink, ice bar, animations, and 3 days of a Christmas market. You can check all the details here and in Parentville’s calendar.

Christmas Crafts
Mon-fri till December 20

When the weather doesn’t allow us to spend a lot of time outside, crafts are one of the best way for kids to have fun. This year Herstreet is holding a bricolaging activities every weekday (Mon-Fri) from 15h45 till 16h45 till December 20. They will offer ornament making, cookie decorating and other fun workshops. The best part? It’s for kids as little as 6 months of age (max 6 yo). You can book your spot here.

Know it All Market Place
Planete Charmille
Till December 24th

Another seasonal event that is becoming a yearly tradition! 52 local creators showcase their passion and products. This is a grate place to get seasonal gifts and support artists and entrepreneurs at the same time! Here’s how the organizers present the event: “You will find everything ranging from hard-to-find “man gifts” to lovely accessories for the ladies, from the funny to the luxury, items for babies and children, gifts you might want to keep for yourself (why not buy two?), and a few yummy ones too. “. You can find all the details here.

Workshops at Exploracentre
December 25 – January 5th

From December 25th till the 30th, Exploracentre will be open and will offer workshops for kids! With each atelier you will receive 50% reduction on your entry ticket. The workhops will continue during the school break in January. You can check them out here.


Santa is getting busier every day. Although Santa will not be present till December 24th, it is still a great place to visit in december! Santa’s sister awaits you with a lovely storytime in her chalet, Marchand du able waits for dummies in his pacifiers museum, and the angry Pere Fouettard is strolling around with his unpleasant jokes. The whole place is just magically christmasy, so be sure to plan a trip! Also, if you’re staying around for Christmas, check their special activities during the holidays. You can check the details here.

Family fun in Geneva, November 2019

Family fun in Geneva, November 2019

Winter jacket? Already? With snow sitting on the top of the Jura mountains, November announces that winter is just one cable car trip away. But before all the slopes open, let’s see what we can do with kids in this rainy month. There’s a lot to choose from, buckle up! Here we go.


You can find WAY MORE in Parentville’s events calendar:


Santa is getting busier every day. Visit him before his pre-Christmas nap, that starts in December and lasts till “Noel” (at least this is how it works in the Hameay du Pere Noel). So, if you;d like to meet Santa, his mean brother, his sister, or the Marchand du Sable – November is the perfect month. Apart from some Mondays and Tuesdays, this one-of-a-kind place will be open. You can check the details here.

November 8-10

At the Sale there are thousands of second-hand English-language books for adults and kids, fiction and non-fiction. There are also books in French and other languages ready to be taken home, as well as CDs, DVDs and games. The tea-room is a sweet accompagnement to the sale! Check the opening hours here.

November 8-17, Palexpo

Impossible to describe Automnales in one paragraph. It’s an annual event in Palexpo that groups together several expos and events at once. Expo Junior, Bebe et Moi, a 10k run, Cook n’Show, Dogs’ and Cats’s competitions, and much much more. This year, with Cook N’Show the focus is on sustainable and durable gastronomy – with cooking show, local épiceries and more. And of course, the program for kids of all ages is immense! Check it out here.


Exploracentre’s birthday celebrations
November 10th

A special anniversary day, Sunday, November 10, from 1pm to 6pm, filled with surprises and festivities for families. On this day there will be free workshops! From 13:30, every half hour, families will be able to discover several amazing and fun phenomena, like the lava lamp, rainbow straw, Brazil nut effect, fakir balloon, and more. Registration directly at the museum reception on November 10th. More info here.

Maison le Reve Bleu – inauguration
November 15th, Eaux Vives

Maison le Rêve Bleu is a non-profit organization created by a group of Lancy parents who are eager to find extra-familial childcare solutions for their preschool children. This event for small and big children accompanied by their parents, grandparents, or babysitters. From then on activities will be offered every Friday from 9am till 1pm. This inauguration is a great occasion to find out more! Their website is here.

Payot: Monthly Children’s Storytime
November 16th

One Saturday a month, Payot organizes the Storytime session in the English Department. From 10:30 to 11:30 AM, kids can enjoy readings on a different theme every month. November session‘s theme is “We love talking about books“ with following titles: “Library Lion”, Bear’s House of Books”, and „There’s a Dragon in Your Book”.


Le Petit Festival
November 16-17, Plan-les-Ouates

A weekend of shows, spectacles, animations, workshops, and other types of fun children of ALL AGES (well, 1+) enjoy! You can see the program and book your tickets on this website.


Schilliger Garden Center – Fete du Marche de Noel
November 16th (Gland et PLO) & 17th (Gland)

The Christmas Market in the Schilliger center in Plan-les Outes has already started and will last till Christmas. But on November 16 there will be a big fete! It will be filled with workshops for big and small, degustations, special offers, poney rides, and more. Both Shilliger centers (in Gland and PLO) have a nice program for that day, but compare them here and choose whichever you like better (for example in Gland: story time and games/toys demos). Check the whole program here.


From November 19th (till 25.04.2020)

Entitled “Il était temps !“, this playful exhbition for kids will focus on the relationships between art, science and time. Visitors will travel in time via games, animations, videos, and other artistic representations. More info here.

30 years of the Rights of the Child
November 20, Place des Nations

A full day of shows and fun for kids of ages 3+ on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child! It is organized by the Child Rights Hub and 3 other NGOs. You can se ethe full program here.

Festival Couleur Cafe
November 20-30

The last week of November this festival will enrich Geneva with African sounds, and this year there is a paralel program for kids! It looks great, be sure to book your spots! You can see it all here.


Nocturne saint pierre
November 21, 22, 23 (18h)

Don’t miss it! For these three evenings the cathedral will be illuminated with 2000 (!!!) candles and no other light source. For its “nocturnes” it transforms into a truly magical place, accompanied by the live music by young local musicians. Entry: 5chf. More info: here.

November 21-24

Meetings, readings, performances, book signing sessions from 21 to 24 November in bookstores, municipal libraries and unexpected places around the central point of this edition, the Pitoëff Theater. There is of course a special program for children, you can check it out here.

Festival des Petits Bouts
November 23-24, Plainpalais

A festival for families with kids of ages 1+ – something for everyone! Shows, artists, and workshops fill its rich program. It will take place in the Maison de quartier de Plainpalais. There’s an entry fee of 5 chf (adults and kids), workshops also cost 5 chf  (for adults, kids for free).  You can find the details of the reservation process here.


PAYOT: le samedi des p’tits Lecteurs
November 23rd, 10h30

One Saturday ler month Laetitia in the (French) children’s section of Payot Rive Gauche invites kids to discover books of the season. It’s a completely free activity, no reservation needed. (This one is in French, but once a month there’s also a storytime in English – November 16th). Check it out here.

Nuit des bibliotheques
30 November

This is the afternoon of workshops, storytimes, shows, and conferences in several libraries in the canton: Avully, Bellevue, Cartigny, Chancy, Châtelaine, Cologny, Lancy, Pregny-Chambésy, and Vernier-Village. The program is very rich, do not hesitate to have a look at it and find what your family may enjoy (click here).

Is that all that is happening in Geneva for kids in November 2019?
Of course not!



Click (or tap) the buttons below to Access even more
VIA Parentville’s calendar:
Bricklive Geneva for the October holidays

Bricklive Geneva for the October holidays

All kids like bricks, especially those classic plastic bricks that can create whatever sits in one’s imagination. Some kids need a bit of encouragement, others jump into the world of LEGO® without hesitations. Certainly, all will adore the Bricklive event happening this week in Palexpo.

We were very pleased to see that the space devoted to Bricklive is big, and did not feel overcrowded even on a Saturday afternoon!

This article is not sponsored by Bricklive. I did receive tickets for a contest on Instagram, and some for my family. That’s all. The article contains 100% honesty.


Where to start? Where to begin? The venue is spacious and filled with many different activities. The first by the entry is the creation of a massive Lego® mosaic. This is also where you can enter a tombola for 5 CHF (all profits go to a charity that takes bricks to children’s hospitals). The prize can be anything from a figurine (Lego® Gingerbread man anyone?), through small sets, to big big big Lego® sets.

There are brick pools: one purple and one red. Recently at home, we challenged ourselves to build one-colour constructions, so we loved to have a pool of purple bricks! There is also a different zone with only white bricks and lots of lovely creations.

There is a scene, on which many kids of competitions take place every day, a Lego® wall, Lego® flippers, an exhibition of marine-themed brick sculptures, and race tracks of different kinds. There is a huge map waiting to be filled with monuments and buildings. There is a section with several consoles to play Minecraft. Of course a shop as well!

The rest of the activities space is divided by the theme of Lego®: Ninjago, Star Wars, Minecraft, Friends.

Bricks 4 Kidz is there as well with very cool motorized builds to be made by visitors!


Many parents on Instagram have asked me about the minimum age to visit the BrickLive. I would say kids need to be at least four years old to take advantage of most, but probably those 6+ will have the best fun.

That being said, there are activities for smaller children too! There is quite a spacious Duplo zone, for example, or the marble run area. They will surely enjoy the exhibition of Lego® sea creatures and sitting in the little submarine made with bricks.


For those kids who love building with Lego, creating, playing, this is the perfect event. To take advantage of every activity, I think at least half a day is needed, which (IMO) makes it worth the price of the ticket. We enjoyed changing the themes or colours of the bricks and after 2h on-site still had lots to do and see!


BrickLive is in Palexpo, Geneva.

Till Sunday, October 27th. Every day from 10 am till 6 pm.

Free for kids under the age of 4. Under 14yo pay 18 CHF. Adults (15+) pay 25 CHF. You can purchase tickets at Palexpo, in Fnac, or online.

Yes, for wheelchairs and strollers. Parking on-site. Accessible toilets.

A snack bar, a buvette with warm meals, and a sweet snack bar at the venue.



Halloween in Geneva, 2019

Halloween in Geneva, 2019

Halloween in Geneva is getting better and better every year! Even if you don’t happen to live in a neighbourhood keen on trick-or-treating, there are events you can attend to celebrate this scary holiday!

Also, don’t forget to ask your friends about their hood’s Halloween traditions, as many do have candy waiting behind every door.

Here’s the list of family-friendly events for Halloween in Geneva in 2019:
Halloween workshops in MParc
October  21st – 27th

Every day Migros Do It + Garden in La Praille (MParc) offers Halloween workshops for kids (ages 3-12). The prices range from 3 to 10 CHF. Timings: Monday (13h-18h), Tuesday-Friday ( 10h-13h & 14h-18h), Saturday (10h-13h & 14h-17h).

OCTOBER 23rd (Plan-lesOuates) & 30th (Gland)

A professional awaits you in the Schilliger Garden Centre (Gland or PLO depending on the chosen date), to help your kid carve the pumpkin and thus prepare for the holiday! Participation costs 15CHF; no prior booking is needed.

October 12th – November 3rd

Chaplin’s World has a whole October planned with spookiness! Till the 20th of October at 3 pm every day there will be a costume competition (a bit of acting needed as well!) and face painting. From October 21st till the 27th  they will hold a black-light show where ghosts and ghouls dance at the Monster Ball, plus pumpkin carving workshops. At last, from October 28th till November 3rd, two kids enter for the price of one. More about it here.

Vitam Parc
October 18th, 23rd, 26th, 30th

Vitam Parc launches Halloween during the October holidays already. 4 dates of different activities and workshops in the theme of spookiness and fun. You can see the detailed program here.

Swiss Vapeur Parc
11-31 Octobre

Nighttime rides in the trains paradise! During the terrifying period of the year, the Swiss Steam Park opens its doors to the bravest for a ride in a ghost train. The park will be fully decorated with Halloween colours. Pumpkins per hundred, ghosts, witches, giant spiders will be at the rendezvous. Enjoy squash soup and chestnuts over a wood fire. Also: makeups and witchhunt! Special treat: night-time rides on the 12th, 19th, 26th, and 31 st of October (16h-22h). For more click here.

October 19th, 23rd, 26th

The Kingdom of two sisters: Melanie and Soizic, commonly known as Royaume Melazic is the place to go when it comes to everything related to baking and pastry. It is also THE place in Geneva for kids to enjoy making cupcakes, cookies, and other sweets. For Halloween, Royaume Melazic will open its kitchen to the children (ages 6+), where the baker-witches will reveal all their secrets about making pastries as delicious as they are scary! Whether it’s cupcakes or biscuits, every budding pastry chef will go home with his or her own creations.  Don’t hesitate to come dressed up – in this Kingdom everything is allowed! In Parentville’s calendar it is here.

October 28th, November 3rd&4th; Onex

Parc Aventure in Evaux offers three days of nighttime tree climbing! There are only 150 places available, so book fast. All kids above the age of 7 can participate. Bring your costume! A bit more here.

Halloween family brunch and tea-afternoon at Hotel d’Angleterre
October 27th,

Yet again, Hotel d’Angleterre comes back with a fun brunch and an afternoon tea time with fun for kids. There will be trick-or-treating, workshops, games, and activities! Check it here.

October 30th

This workshop is free and will take place on the 4th floor of Manor in Geneva, in the Manora Restaurant. Bon apetit! Yu can also find this event in Parentville’s calendar.

October 30th

Recrecrea and the restaurant Mamma Lisa in Puplinge will organise a fun Halloween afternoon with creative workshops, spooky ambience, and a scary gouter. Reservations obligatory (limited places). More details here.

Halloween Parties in TOT UP
October 30th & 31st
School: 30.10 from 7:00 to 19:00 Halloween day with sport, art, games, and going out! 60 CHF/ full day all-inclusive for kids from 3-6 years old 
Daycare: 31.10 from 15:00 to 18:00 Halloween workshop with pumpkin search, creative activities and spooky snack! 45 CHF for kids from 1 to 3 years old. 
Inscription info@totup.ch 
Soirée Halloween
October 31, Dardagny

Pro Natura and Restaurant Les Granges in Dardagny teamed up to provide you with an evening of spookiness and deliciousness. It’s worth considering as this will be the last day this year that this magnificent restaurant will be open. A special menu for this day will include enchanted pumpkin soup, red&black burger (a vegetarian option available), or a mysterious creme brulee. Most importantly, activities for kids are planned too – the discovery of the night world! Feel free to wear your scariest outfit. Click here for more.

October 31

For one evening the streets of Gland will transform into a Halloween scenery with inhabitants walking these streets in seasonal outfits! There will, of course, be the contest for the best costume. The organizers have partnered up with Haribo to ensure you have enough for trick-or-treaters (link here). What’s in the program? A pumpkin soup, a parade, a contest, a ball! In the haunted village, bars and food trucks await you, for the pleasure of your taste buds (tears of unicorns, bat steaks, Chimpanzee kidneys, seaweed lettuce, stuffed mosquito emulsion, carrot with maggots …).

November 2nd

Swiss Nanny Association is hosting a spooktacular party this year in Geneva! It will be accompanied by various crafts, games, sensory play, and storytime. In general, kids above 2yo and under 9yo will have plenty of things to do (younger and older kids are welcome as well!). Tickets are on sale here. Raised funds will support the Swiss Nanny Association. Check it out here.

November 2nd&3rd

Located at the Port of Pully (close to Lausanne), the MiNi-Train is a 1/8th scale railroad club run by volunteers, where children and adults can take a seat in wagons for a journey of about 5 minutes each. The 420-meter circuit includes a tunnel, five-level crossings, and a train station.  “Thomas the tank engine” fans will be thrilled to visit this place! For the Halloween weekend, the whole place will be decorated, filled with spooky elements, and unique animations and activities. Kids wearing costumes will ride for free! Check it here.

Halloween at Signal de Bougy
November 3rd

This cool park about 30 minutes by car from Geneva is one of our family’s favourites, and they offer great children’s activities. For Halloween they’ve got a full day of fun activities in store, including a Halloween make-up zone in the restaurant from 9h00 till noon (ages 6+); course with the creation of a scary trick and a sensory experience (ages 2.5-6), and disco from 13h till 17h. Some activities must be booked beforehand (via phone or email). More through here.

For the most courageous of you, there are also events in indoor play centres: Jayland in Gland (October 31st),  L’Ile de Tortuga in Annemasse (all weekends of October probably), C L’Aventure in Annemasse (October 19th-November 3rd, and a Halloween Party on October 31st).


October school-break in Geneva

October school-break in Geneva

Staying in Geneva during the October school break? The weather is not god for a beach anymore, and not yet good for skiing, so what to do? With this article in hand, you’ll have tons of ideas, I promise!

MAH – Les Vacances Qui Donnent la Patate

From Tuesday till Friday MAH will offer activities for kids of ages 2-5 (from 10 am till noon) and for 6-12 yo (from 2 pm till 5 pm). The activities are free of charge, but check the program to see which ones need prior booking. More info here.

BRICKLIVE in Palexpo

The brick madness is arriving in Palexpo! I write about it in this article. This time it is not an exhibition, it’s a paradise for bricks lovers – workshops, shows, and thousands of bricks to build with. Open all week. Check it out here.


Yes! This time, the greatest place for kids in Geneva is open during the school break. You can visit it on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 14h30 till 17h30. Have fun! More info here.



Parc Aventure – the treetop adventure centre will reopen during weekdays of the October holiday. Every day from 10h00 till 18h00 (last entry at 16h00). It’s a fun exercise, even for kids as young as 3! Check it out here.


The season is open! The ice rinks of Meyrin and Vernets are back! You can check the opening hours of the Vergers (Meyrin) ice rink here, and for Vernets (Geneva) click here.


One of the most playful, educational, and scientific places for kids in Geneva, Exploracentre, will open its door every day of the October holidays. It’s a great option for kids of ages 5+ (imo), though I have seen some smaller children enjoying the visit as well. The entry costs 10 CHF per person (both for children and adults). You can read more about Exploracentre here on Parentville.

Expo: La Nature Habite En Ville

For ages 6+, an interactive expo in Chene-Bougeries stays open every day of the October holidays.  From October 21st till the 27th, from 15h till 18h. More info here.


I know it’s only October but listen carefully. If you plan to visit Santa’s village in December, it’s the month when he is asleep, so to meet him either go before or after Christmas. This year it opens on October 19th! During the holidays will open every day from 10h00 till 19h00. More info here.


The indoor play area, also known as kids paradise and parents’ hell will be open from Wednesday till Sunday (10h00 – 18h00).


Why not enter into Halloween already? Chaplin’s World has activities, and special deco waiting for you! More info here.


Why not use this week to visit the salt mine in Bex, or the Lac Souterrain de St LeonardMaison Cailler, Musee du Leman in Nyon, Chamonix (no winter crowds yet), Maison du Saleve, Aquatis, or even Espace des Mondes Polaires?

Even more to choose from in Parentville’s calendar (exhibitions, workshops, theatre shows) and in this article that lists Halloween fun in the region (many activities take place during the holidays of October).


For parents of chronically ill children

For parents of chronically ill children

When her son was diagnosed with the type I diabetes at the age of 2, the whole life of Oksana and her family was turned upside down. Through her journey, she learnt about the massively positive impact of interactions with other parents. This is why she created a support group on Facebook – supported by HUG.


It all happened in Ticino during a family vacation. Oksana’s son was hospitalized, she received an overwhelming amount of information about her son’s future and new routines. After that, she was placed in a medical helicopter with her little one.

The journey let her breathe and think. The whole way to Geneva, her boy was asleep. The beautiful views below calmed Oksana down. She started to ponder and wonder. What the hell could she do to help her child? It was then that she decided to change their lifestyle and her career. She got off the helicopter and started implementing the changes.


One of the most challenging parts of this situation was loneliness. Her regular parents-friends could not relate to her family’s experience. None of them had kids suffering from any kind of family-life-influencing conditions. She lacked a sense of community. I guess it is the same feeling all parents have once their child does not fit the norm, no matter the reason.


Oksana knew there must be other parents out there. This is why, with the support of the HUG (Hopitaux Universitaire de Geneve), she created a group for parents in similar situations. It is called Amazing Parents Geneva – Group For Parents Of Kids With Chronic Conditions.

The goal of the group is not really to exchange tips and tricks (although everybody is welcome to do so), but to promote self-care.

In an aeroplane, you are asked to put your oxygen mask first, before helping your children. The same goes for parenting. We need to care for ourselves. Otherwise, we may become too tired, frustrated, and unhappy, to help our little ones thrive.


Not all parents cane change jobs, shift careers or introduce any big changes. Each family is different, so for each, a solution and tools will be different.

Not everyone can afford a relaxing day in a SPA; not everyone can find the time for a 2h walk in nature. But there is always something, even if small. That can make a difference.

Oksana’s group will help you figure it out.


The group is active on Facebook, but also organises meetings in Geneva now and then (participation is not obligatory).

If your child (no matter the age), suffers from autism, diabetes, Down Syndrome, cardiovascular disease, asthma, allergies, or any chronic condition, be it light, mild, or severe, this group is a place where you can safely vent, rage, laugh, or cry. You can share good and bad emotions, hopes, or frustrations. It’s where you will be understood, where nobody will judge. And it is where you will learn how to better take care of yourself.


I am also a member of that group. Z’s health is now more or less ok, and to be honest, she has never suffered from anything very serious or severe. But when she was little, her allergies gave us a hard time and changed the way we lived. Luckily, I had a friend whose son was going through the same. Her presence helped me immensely. I now hope that now I will be able to help someone else.


Family-friendly events in October 2019, Geneva

Family-friendly events in October 2019, Geneva

October is an extremely busy month! It will be filled with events, festivals, holidays, and Halloween! Are you ready? Parentville is here to help you plan a super-duper family-friendly October!

This list is not all-inclusive; it mentions the most significant, most important, or close to my heart events (and nope, I was not paid to place any of them in here).

Many other events (theatre plays, workshops, storytimes, etc.) are to be found in Parentville’s events calendar – new events are added every day! Click below to open the calendar.


Chateau de Vullierens, Vaud
Every weekend till the end of October

Chateau de Vullierens will stay open in fall! At least on every October weekend. Don’t miss it! Each weekend will have different activities for kids, and mo matter the activities, the Kingdom of the Lezard King is a fascinating part of the garden! Speaking of which, do you know there is a bilingual (fr-eng) book based on that garden – “King Lizard’s Kingdom”?

You can check the full autumn program of the Chateau here.


Patisserie workshop in Manor
October 2 & 30

Workshop for kids ages 4-12, completely free of charge, no reservations needed. Two workshops for each date: 15h & 18h. This workshop can spark some joy into shopping on Wednesday – kids love decorating cupcakes! The activity will take place on the 4th floor, in the Manora restaurant. More info here.

October 2-16, many locations

This edition focuses on animals and relationships: solidarity, friendship, empathy. The festival will present a new movie each month until December. In October kids will have an opportunity to watch “Le Cochon, le Renard, et le Moulin”. You can find out more about it here.

October 4-12

The International Festival of Animated Films is here again, and again it has a beautiful program for children of (almost) all ages! It is especially close to my heart this year, as there is a big part of the festival devoted to the Polish animations, including the most awesome ever Bolek and Lolek – for kids! You can consult all Animatou events for children and families here.

Fete de l’Abeille et du Terroir
October 5

The “Bee Festival” is an excellent opportunity to discover local products. Through various playful stands held by different producers and associations, you will be able to try, taste, purchase high-quality products from local producers made with ingredients from this region. There will be kids activities as well! You can check the program here.

Rallye auChocolat
October 5

Rallye du Chocolat is a fun and gourmet course in the city with a goal of encountering artisan chocolate makers. All you need is a choco passport and choco cravings! There are also mystery words to be found and prizes to be given. You can find out more about it here.

Respire! Festival Assemblage, Troinex
October 5

This show has been shown in Europe hundreds of time, but it is the first time it will be presented in Geneva. It will make you lose your breath! You can find out more here.

“Ned and the Whale”, Simply Theater
October 5-12

A new production is awaiting you in Versoix at Simply Theater. When I was reading the description for the first time, I couldn’t stop thinking about Game of Thrones (Ned, strange lands, Kingdom of Spies…). Fortunately, this show is for kids (3+), filled with music, and positivity! You can book your tickets here.

Fete de la Courge in Corsier
October 6

Over the years, the “Fête de la Courge” has become a major event in Corsier. It now has a large number of visitors attracted by the stands around the theme of cucurbitaceae and its derivatives.

Artisans and stands of local products await you! On the occasion of our 26th edition, music and entertainment for young and old await you throughout the day. More details here.

October 6-7

A playful day with many workshops and kids activities across many Swiss castles! More info here.

Historic Trams
October 6

Discovery rides onboard historic tramways. Various souvenir items for sale during the rides (photos, postcards, various publications, etc.). More info, including prices, here.

Petite Favorite – Les Rendez-vous Complices #1
October 9

Petite Favorite is a young fashion brand startup from Geneva. For this day it invited its partners, collaborators, and friends to organise a family day! There will be activities for small and big, discussions about family life, yoga, and fashion of course! More about it here.

Family Wednesday at MAH
October 9

“The beautiful Apollo”. For children from 6 years old, accompanied by an adult. Free, without reservation. Check iy out here.

Parentville at Payot
October 12

 The most important date in October (unless your loved one celebrates a birthday this month) is October 12! I was invited by Payot Rive Gauche for a dedications afternoon. It’s all about my “ABC Geneva” book (bilingual, for children), which I will be more than happy to sign for you, or to chat! Come and say hi! More info here.

Villages des Sciences
October 12

The gardens of the Chateau Voltaire will be transformed into a science village! A rick program of animations, attractions, conferences, workshops, accompanied by scientific stands awaits you! Check it out here.

October 12

For one afternoon, the SOGETRI teams immerse young and old in the heart of the SORTERA sphere, the jewel of Swiss recycling! There will be four workshops, for children of ages 8+. They are free of charge, but you need to book your spot. And the workshops? Check the details here.


MPFLM shopping & brunch
October 12-13

After the edition in Carouge, last March and a real taste of paradise a little over a month ago Mes Pulls Font La Manche is back! This time at the Le Bout d’la Rue (Plainpalais area). The formula remains the same: a friendly, ethical and delicious shopping Throughout the weekend. On Sunday, come spend a sweet Sunday with a “kids corner” where an adorable nanny will take care of your children while you enjoy a brunch served by Granola Geneva. More info here.

Marche de Espoir
October 13

One of the most awaited event – at least for the kids who have already taken part in previous editions. The idea is simple: you register for free, you find sponsors who commit to donate a certain amount for each kilometre. The trail is 5 km long, but you can do less or more. Each kilometre means a stamp in a special “passport”. You can commit as little or as much time and energy as you wish. Just remember to register! The event will be accompanied by various activities, shows, and other kiddy-fun! You can learn more about it here.

Faire sa part workshop
October 13 

Espace Colibri invites all children between the ages of 4 and 10 to a workshop that will make them aware of climate change, plastic pollution, but will also give them the skill to fight it all with beeswax wraps – every little step counts, right? More about it here.

Festival Salamandre, Morges
October 18-20

Tons of workshops, movies, storytimes, and exhibitions. This festival focuses on nature: its richness and fragility, so crucial in the times we live. You can see the whole program and book your tickets here.

Bricklive, Palexpo
18-27 October

2019 edition of BRICKLIVE, one of Switzerland’s largest exhibitions for fans of the LEGO® brick. This unique brick event will give visitors access to more than ten million bricks; professional brick-built statues and interactive digital content. You can find it here.

Journée des Familles
October 19

The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the University of Music of Geneva invite you to discover the future Cité de la Musique.. Inscriptions: osr.ch/familyday.


More events in the the Parentville’s calendar!

Other articles you may be interested in:

October camps in Geneva, 2019

October camps in Geneva, 2019

The school year has just started, so it’s time to think about the October holidays. Not travelling? Do you need a camp? This is why you clicked and found yourself here, right?

Did you know that October holidays are also known as Vacances des Patates? In the past kids had a week off not to rest but to help with the autumn harvest.

Here’s a list of camps I found, heard of, or were contacted to share with you (not paid partnerships). In no particular order, here we go – October camps in Geneva!

Not interested in camps but still looking for October holidays fun?
Check Parentville’s calendar!
Atelier du Square

A week of Manga art for kids ages 7+ at Atelier du Square.
October 22-25 , 14h-17h. CHF 225.-

Espace Colibri

Two camps to choose from. For ages 4-8 a week of getting to know the world of the bees in Yogartaminis studio (1205 Geneve). For ages 7-13 in Chatelaine with “Birds” as the theme.

Possibility to enrol for half-days, full days, the whole week, or just some days.


For the October holidays, Exploracentre prepared four different camps! Two themes for kids 4+, and two other themes for those 8+! All four are fun, science-oriented in a playful way! Also, by enrolling your child, you will support Exploracentre’s crowdfunding campaign that will let them maintain the best of what they have, and plan new expositions!

Half-days possible. Only whole-week enrollemnts.

Bricks 4 Kidz

Several options of a week with lego bricks in Bricks 4 Kidz center in Lancy.

Possible to enrol for the whole week and some days, half days and full days.

Institut International de Lancy

This private school has a wide range of October camps themes! Check them out here.

Swimming with ENG (Varembe)

Ecole de Natation de Geneve has two options: 5 lessons in a group, or 4 private lessons.


For children 8+. Surrounded by professionals, using their imagination, and by experimenting kids will create prototypes of a museum of the future for the MEG.

Only full-days, full-week.

Spell Languages

Very playful language courses (English or French) in the form of a camp by Spell for two age groups: 4-6 & 7-10.

Enrolments for the whole week only, half days possible.


For younger children, please check with Gymboree Geneva  and  TotUp.

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Horse riding for kids in Geneva (and around)

Horse riding for kids in Geneva (and around)

I probably don’t need to explain to anybody reading this, how fun horse-riding can be. These gentle (yet sometimes stubborn) creatures teach patience, empathy, discipline, and give an opportunity for physical activity all at the same time.

Question about horse-riding is one of the most commonly sent my way, so I thought I should finally put online all the places I know about. Some of them we tested ourselves, others were recommended by our friends, or on Parentville’s Facebook group.

Here are your horse riding classes for kids in Geneva:

1. Poney Club Echevenex (France).

2. La Belle Ferme in Gex (France).

3. Centre Equestre, Plan-les- Ouates.

4. Manege d’Onex, in (surprise, surprise) Onex.

5. Ferme la Gavotte (Bernex).

6. Ranch Blackyland (Bernex).

7. Manege Machefer, Versoix.

8. La Pallanterie, in Vésenaz.

9. Manège de Vandoeuvres, in (tatadam) Vandoeuvres.

10. La Chaumaz in Russin.

11. Poney Club de la Gambade, Laconnex.

12. There is also a Manege in Meyrin, but their website was not working when this article was written.