FAMILY SPORTS CENTER AND A BEAUTY SALON BY TOTUP

FAMILY SPORTS CENTER AND A BEAUTY SALON BY TOTUP

The founder of the TotUp Creche shows no signs of stopping developing new ideas for families in the region. She opened creches in canton Vaud, one in Geneva (more will come surely !), and now added a family sports center to the list. Oh ! And the beauty salon with prices that should revolutionise Geneva.

I wrote about TotUp creche before (you can find it here).

THE SPORTS CENTER

The sports center has a great gym with all the equipment one should need, and also a room for kids classes. The great trick here is how the membership works. For an adult-only, it’s 75 CHF per month with unlimited access to the gym and all the classes without the need for prior registration. A child-only membership is 100 CHF/month. But if you’d like it both for a your child and yourself, it would be 150 CHF/month. Each membership means unlimited access to all classes, the equipment, without any need of prior registration.

The cherry on top? Many adults and kids classes are happening at the same time. It means that all of you can have some separate time for physical activities, and you don’t have to worry about childcare anymore!

BEAUTY SALON

TotUp offered me and Z a free hair cut and skin care at the salon. The hairdresser did a fab job with both of us, and we will surely go back there for our next hair cut. Not only the quality of the service was great but also the prices.

The interioir is not luxorious, some of the staff don’t speak French nor English, but there is always a friendly face to do all the translations and it goes smoothly.

Other services available: manicure, pedicure, skin care, epilation, permanent make-up, and more. You can find the list of services and prices here.  

And what to do with your child during your pampering ? On Wednesdy your child can join the class in te sports center (next door) for free. On Saturdays it costs 10 chf/hour and is only available between 10h and 12h. On other days the child needs a gym membership.

PRACTICAL INFO

TotUp Geneva: Avenue des Morgines 12, 1213 Lancy
Parking in front of the building for visitors.
Accessible with wheelchairs (an adapted toile tat the venue).

Website: TotUp.

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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.

DESIGNER’S BRAIN

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

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…

SANTA’S SISTER – STORYTELLER

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.

SIBLINGS RIVARLY

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.

ENTER NIGHT

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.

ANIMALS

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.

PRACTICAL TIPS

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.

Address:

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

Offical website: Hameau du Pere Noel.

 

Sports courses for kids in Geneva

Sports courses for kids in Geneva

In a city that has its Quidditch team, every sports activity should be possible to find! Well, yes, but some are easier to find than others. For example, artistic gymnastics or athletic activities quickly fill up or are hard to locate. Whereas others, like swimming or tennis, are plenty.

I would love if you could send me addresses to places I don’t mention below, so that other parents can find it, too. Will you help? You can comment below or contact me via parentvillegeneva@gmail.com.

from fb: Agrès is not the same at all as artistic gymnastics. We tried out many clubs before we realized this important destinction.

SWIMMING COURSES

As I mentioned above, there are many swimming courses for children in Geneva. So many, that they deserve a separate blog article. You can find by clicking on the button below.

TENNIS CLUBS

There are plenty of tennis clubs with courses for kids in the canton. Let me quickly link them up for you (tennis, table tennis, badminton).

Tennis Club de Geneve in Eaux Vives & Champel, for ages 4+.

Badminton Club de Geneve (Jonction area, kind of), for age s 6+.

Tennis Club Trois Chene in Thonex, for ages 5+.

Tennis in Veyrier for ages 4+.

International Tennis Club for ages 4+, in Pregny-Chambesy.

Table tennis for ages 5+ in Grand-Lancy.

Tennis Club in Plan-les-Ouates has a course parents-enfants (2-4 yo) and courses for kids 4+.

Bernex also has a tennis club with courses for children ages 4+.

Tennis Club de Vernier offers courses for children ages 5+ in four different locations across the municipality of Vernier.

I am certain there are many more places that offer both tennis and badminton courses!

GYMNASTICS

If you’re looking for artistic gymnastics course, the word you’re looking for is “les agrès”.

Kids Up, in Meyrin. Circus gymnastics for all ages.

Association Genevoise de Gymnastique. Artistic gymnastic in Chatelaine.

Gym Mandement. Various courses (parents-enfants, enfantine, artistic gym) in Satigny.

Gymnastic courses in Saint Julien (France)

AGT Club in Thoiry (France)

FSG Club in Eaux-Vives.

FSG Grottes, Geneva.

ICE SKATING & HOCKEY

Great courses of artistic ice skating and hockey!

CPAM in Meyrin, aristic ice-skating courses tested and loved by Parentville personally.

CPG in Les Acacias. Artistic ice-skating.

CP Meyrin Hockey Club.

HC Trois Chene in Thonex (hockey).

Les Aiglon (Geneve Servette HC), hockey in les Acacias.

VARIOUS SPORTS

Inter Soccer, football club in various locations in Geneva.

Multisports in Sous-Moulin (Chene-Thonex). Courses every Tuesday at 5pm.

Golf in Jiva Hill (Gex, France).

Climbing (escalade) in Vitam Parc, for 4+.

Structure Pan d’Escalade in Vernier (for 8+).

OTHER SPORTS

(click on the buttons to open new lists)

Language schools for kids in Geneva

Language schools for kids in Geneva

Pick any language there is, and I bet you there is a place or a person in Geneva that can provide you with lessons in that tongue. It applies to kids as well. There are many language schools for kids in Geneva. This article will only cover ones I know or found.

There are also courses of the language and culture “of origin” provided by the Departement d’Instruction Publique (link here).

If you ask around in your neighbourhood, you will surely find more possibilities. Don’t forget to inquire with your commune or quartier. Never underestimate their knowledge, resources, and offers.

LANGUAGE SCHOOLS FOR KIDS IN GENEVA

1. Gymboree Geneva offers English courses through play even for little munchkins.

2. Spell Languages is a true gem – many languages, for kids of all levels, including natives, and all ages. They even have French courses for mums and babies! They also offer 4h Wednesday courses for kids – can help a lot with filling the school-free day, it involves outings, playtime, bricolages. Spell’s HQ is in the old town, but they also offer courses in other quartiers and communes.

3. Berlitz is a worldwide language school using a unique method. I had a chance to test their teaching method while learning Italian in Poland, and French in Geneva. They also helped me rock my CAE certificate back in highschool.

4. Bell School Geneva English language school can keep your child busy on Wednesdays and weekdays. They have courses for both natives and beginners.

5. Deutsche Schule Genf, aka the German School, offers German lessons on Wednesdays for kids as young as 4!

6. Key English School offers English classes for all levels in various locations.

7. PEP-Personalised English Progression, in Geneva and Veyrier. English courses for two different age groups on Wednesdays and Saturdays (3h long).

8. Alpe offers English classes for all levels in various locations in Geneva and nearby Vaud.

9. In Eaux-Vives there is Arnie’s Language School with English classes for kids and teenagers.

How about Spanish? Russian? Italian? Arabic? Chinese? Portuguese? Apart from Spell Languages, where can kids learn these languages? Can you help me find them?
Swimming in Geneva for kids

Swimming in Geneva for kids

Are you looking for swimming classes in Geneva for kids? Search no more. Parentville to the rescue!

In terms of sports activities, swimming is one of the most popular ones. Some families enrol their children already at the baby age, some later. Free choice.

Keep in mind that in public schools, children start learning to swim in 3P. Swimming is also an obligatory sports activity in some of the private schools.

Swimming for babies and toddlers:

1. Bebe Nageur, in various locations.

2. Dauphins Geneve in Meyrin.

3. Aqualiens in Confignon (Bains des Cressy, warm pool)

4. Aqua-Bebe in Bernex.

5. Red Whale, various locations (warm pools).

6. Ecole de l’Eau, in Satigny.

Swimming for school-aged children:

1. Dauphins Geneve in Meyrin.

2. Red Whale, various locations.

3. Aqua-Bebe in Bernex (yes bebe in the name, but I checked, they have classes for older kids too).

4. Ecole de Natation de Geneve, in Varembe.

Together with Z, we tested some of these classes, but as everyone’s opinion and experience are different, I am not sure if it would be good to share which we loved, and which we didn’t. For each of these schools, I found very positive opinions, and not so great opinions. But let’s remember that every child is different, and so will have a different experience with each of these schools.

Most of them offer trial classes. I advise you to enrol into a trial class and decide for yourself.

Also, please remember that it is very probable that there are swimming classes provided by your commune or quartier, somewhere in the public swimming pool, or in the one belonging to a public school.

If you happen to know of any other swimming classes for kids in Geneva that other parents would be happy to know about, let me know!

Fabriq’expo at Exploracentre

Fabriq’expo at Exploracentre

Exploracentre is a fab place close to Plainpalais (I wrote about them before, click here).

It’s a really fun place with interactive exhibitions, workshops, and soon a Wednesday ExploraClub.

Now, before we go any further. Exploracentre lowered the tickets price. It’s now 10 CHF per person, much more affordable – and as you’re about to find out, the new expo is also much better than the first one!

FABRIQ’EXPO

The brand new expo of Exploracentre, Fabriq’Expo, unites science and technology, resulting in a mix of a laboratory and DIY space.

When you enter, you’ll instantly see a giant black circle thingy (that I forgot the name for). It’s a bowl shape thing with a hole in a centre. Your job here is to throw in some wooden marbles and see how their speed changes depending on how far they are from the hole. It’s simply a recreation of a solar system, marbles being the planets, and the hole representing the sun. It’s hypnotizing!

MODULES

The whole expo is made of several modules – working stations. Each one has a different theme, for example:

  • Chain reaction (super playful),
  • Robotics,
  • Objects under the magnifying glass (repair, assemble, disassemble, and design your own!),
  • Engineers in question (this stand works against discrimination in the world of science),
  • Design (imagine, draw, invent)

TECH EVOLUTION

Has your child ever seen a cassette? Or the old-school computer disk? One of the stands offers children to meet these bizarre objects and figure out their purpose. On the other side there are models of the telephones from different times. Kids can try and use an old phone with a ring-dial to see, how in the past, ringing someone ment using a ring dial, not only causing the phone to make the ringing sound. They can also match the phones with wallpaper designs from different decades.

SHOP

Exploracentre also opened a gift shop with a vast variety of science-themed toys. Be sure to check it out!

It’s a really fun and highly interactive (in an almost screen-free way) play area! It is designed in a way to also make the parents into a playful mood! #parentvillerecommended

USEFUL INFO

Exploracentre (website)
Rue des Bains 33
1205 Geneva

Accessible with prams and wheelchairs (including an adapted toilet). Changing table in the restroom.

In summer open from Monday to Saturday from 10 am till 6 pm.

Entry: 10 CHF (free for kids under 3)

ACCROBRANCHE aka Tree Top Adventure Parks in Geneva

ACCROBRANCHE aka Tree Top Adventure Parks in Geneva

Accrobranche (aka tree top adventures) is a great activity for kids and whole families. Depending on the age (or the height) of your child different options are available.

How does it work?

First you (or your child) gets into a special harness that will keep them safely attached to the trail. Then they can enjoy the trail up above the ground filled with zip lines and obstacles. Depending on the parc and the age of your child the trails are on different heights. It really is safe, so nothing to be afraid of, except if you’re like me and the idea of being anywhere above the ground scares the life out of you.

Some parcs with children trails only allow kids to enjoy it with an accompanying adult beside them. For me, that’s a no go, but fortunately I learnt that it’s worth calling the place before hand and reserve the staff member to accompany my daughter. In many parcs kids 6+ (or taller than X) can enjoy even more trails – with an accompanying adult.

There are also 2 parc in the area with treetop fun without obstacle trails, but with giant trampolines!

They are all listed below. Choose a place and go!

PARC AVENTURE (EVAUX, GENEVA)

This is the only parc located in Geneva – in the great parc of Evaux (Onex). There are two trails for kids aged 3-6, and one other for 4-6 year olds. They are low enough to let you accompany your child from the ground, standing next to them and helping out if needed. It’s really perfect for the tree top initiation! Four more are availble to those after 6th birthday with an accompanying adult, or alone if they’re at least 7 years old. There are even more optopns for those ge 10+.

Parc Aventure (Signal de Bougy, VD)

Here you can choose between 16 courses! 5 of them are destined for kids aged 4-7, all equipped with zip lines. These trails are higher above the ground than in Geneva, but kids can go alone no problem. When in trouble, just call the staff and they will help or even climb up if needed!

JURAVENTURE (Col de la Faucille, France)

Juraventure is more than just a tree top parc. There’s mini golf, paintball, and donkeys, but for the sake of this list I’ll focus only on accrobranche. According to their website, the “The Kids, juniors and adult courses are unlimited!”. The parc is designed in a way that all too difficult steps can be avoided to enjoy the rest of the course. For the Mini trail the minimum height is 100 cm, and for the junior trail it’s 120 cm. I wrote about other activities on La Faucille in summer here.

Forestland (Divonne, France)

Forestland in Divonne is another place that offers not only Accrobranche but much more. Yet again, in this list I will focus on accrobranche only. There are 6 courses in Forestland: one for 3+ (max heigh 120 cm), two for 7+ (min height 120 cm), and three more for those taller than 140 cm. A great excuse to visit Divonne with kids!

TACTIQ AVENTURE (Cruseilles, France)

Parcours Decouverte “Enfant” – for kids of the minimum age of 4 and minimum height of 1.m. Parcours Decouverte “Junior” – minimum age 7, minimum height 120 cm.

Other accrobranche parcs to try:

  • Accro’Aventures in Reigner (France): for kids as small as 1m  but kids younger than 5 and below 11cm of height needs a parent to accompany them up in the trees.
  • Parcours Aventure in Sciez (France): min age is 5 here, and minimum height 110cm, adult must climb too.

TRAMPOLINE PARCS

In the tree-top trampoline parcs  (fr. parcabout) you’ll need no harrness , and will not be challenged by obstacles. Instead, you’ll enjoy something that I would describe as a walk (or jumping) on the clouds! It’s absolutely marvelous, fun, amusing, relaxing, and extraordinary!

Two principal places to enjoy this activity are:

  • Filenvol (close to Saleve), no minimum age. Kids under 5 can enjoy a separate section. All kids can go to the main one with an accompanying adult. As of the age of  8 they can enjoy the place on their own. No sandals, bear feet allowed.
  • Gaia Loisirs (in the French Jura). I found no information about minimum age, but it is strictly advised to wear long trousers, and long-sleeve tops, as well as full shoes (no sandals).
Will you try a tree adventure? Which one?
Col de la Faucille in summer

Col de la Faucille in summer

Col de la Faucille in summer is even more fun than in winter! It offers so many activities that could easily fill the whole weekend. And if we add some other fun places from Gex, we’d have the whole week of adventures!

JURAVENTURE

Accrobranche (and more!) at Juraventure! This obstacle trail is adapted to kids as little as 1 metre of height. The trails for kids are really great, while those for adults seem to be awesomely challenging! Juraventure also has mini golf, donkey rides, carriage rides, and paintball. It is conveniently located just next to the parking (well enough separated to be safe). You can check out their whole offer on this website.

Luge d’été

Eng. summer sledge aka rail toboggan. It is a combination of a roller coaster and sledging. Each sledge goes separately on special rails. They are very simple to use – one stick serves to both break and accelerate. All the way down you can control the speed and go really slowly, really fast, or something in between. You cannot stop though, as it is dangerous for others and yourself. You have to keep the distance of 25 metres from the cart in front. Ignore the grumps who will criticize you for going too slow but don’t be ashamed to yell at those who come too close to your cart. Kids under 5 are not allowed to join the fun. From the age of 5 they can enjoy the sledge with an adult, from the age of 11 they can go down alone. Both me and Z were deadly scared on the first run, had fun on the second go, and pure joy on every next ride!

The top

Get to the top with the telecabine (gondola lift) – accessible with strollers, bikes, and wheelchairs. The trip is short, with a taste of spectacular view waiting for you at the top – beautiful Jura mountain chain on one side, and amazing alpine panorama on the other side with the lake, Geneva, and Jet d’Eau underneath. For many kids, the trip with telecabine will be an adventure on its own! There’s a restaurant on the top, so grab an ice cream and walk back down (20-30 minutes walk). For opening hours and prices check here.

HIKING

If you’d like to prepare your kids for some serious alpine hiking, or simply get them started, Jura is perfect: hikes are rather easy, with great views and sometimes even animal guests, or raspberry tasting. You can, for example, go up with telecabine and walk down choosing from 3 different routes (20 mins, 40 mins, 60 mins). Check this website for more details.

Qimmiq Aventure

How about summer with sled dogs? CanniRando is walking the dog in the mountains (for around 2h), but it is the dog guiding you, not the other way around. CaniCross (around 1h) is the same but much faster, for more sporty folks. Or maybe you’d rather try a CanniTrotinettee (a scooter pulled by a dog)? All this to find in Mijoux (a village down from the Faucille)!

 

More in the neighbourhood

A 20 minutes drive without leaving the mountains, and you’re in Lemoura, where Gaia Loisir offers a bare feet trail, pony rides, trees-trampoline park, and more. Also relatively close: Espaces des Mondes Polaires (a museum and an all year ice rink). There is also a great firemen museum in Gex, as well as the famous Belle Ferme (poneys, horses).

 

 

A SLEEPOVER

If you fancy staying in Jura overnight (great solution to hot Geneva nights), there is what to choose from: campsites, hotels, (la Couronne, La Mainaz, and more) chalets, giant balloon-like tents, and more! And I’m serious about the balloon-like tents. For all kinds of accommodation in this Jura station, check out their website.

Now that you know the la Faucille mountain top a little bit better, will you make it there this summer?

For more ideas of fun summer activities with kids, why not trying the Staycation Guide by Parentville?

Moms-friendly French course with Spell

Moms-friendly French course with Spell

The first thing you need to know before reading this article is that I worked for Spell Languages for a year in the past and witnessed how amazing this school is no matter which teacher takes the class, no matter what age kids are, and no matter which language they are learning.

ABOUT SPONSORED ARTICLES

So yes, this is a sponsored article, one of those that pay my bills, but as always on Parentville, even a paid article appears here only because I believe the service or the product is worth sharing with you. As a result, every month, I turn down several paid collaborations. Either the brand does not meet my values, or I don’t think it will be useful for you.

Back to the topic.

Back in the past, I thought the one thing that was missing at Spell was the parent-child classes. But what I had in mind were lessons for kids. The idea could have not been realized back then. Now that Kasia, the founder of Spell Languages, is a fresh mom, she understood my idea and, as usual with her, took it to another level!

As a result, Spell now offers French classes for adults with kids!

MOMS WITH KIDS

Let me explain. You take your baby or your toddler, and without needing to find a creche, a nanny, or booking the grandma, you can go and learn French!

I participated in one of these classes the other day. It was wonderful! All adults and kids sitting on a colourful flow, pillows available, toys and children’s books in the middle. The teacher started revising passé composé and l’imparfait (blah), the moment she would see kids needing more attention she would switch to a kid-friendly activity – a song. Not any song though, but one that would be fun for kids, and bring new vocab to parents. A perfect mix!

Parents will also learn to read, acquire new vocab through children’s’ books that they will be asked to read to their children.

It is just fantastic! I remember advising some of my friends to start learning French via simple kiddy songs and books. They’re simple yet rich in new words, and you can find a children’s book probably for all grammar problems!

This is how the lessons go. Moms are learning, kids playing, walking/crawling around the room, bubbling with one another. Worksheets are involved, and occasionally some voluntary homework.

The end of the lesson takes the form of a casual conversation.

FLEXIBILITY IS KEY

There is one more important thing for moms/dads/nannies in this course. Lessons happen three times a week, but it is totally up to you how often you will come. You purchase a “pass” that will be valid for a certain amount of time (a month – 110 CHF, a trimester – 320 CHF, a semester – 420 CHF) and within that time you come to as many lessons as you’d like! You can join once a week for a while, then come three times a week, then change again. Alternatively, you can purchase 1 lesson at a time (for 25 CHF).

It takes so much stress away! You are not obliged to come, and will not lose the money if your baby was up all night and you can barely think in your native tongue, not to mention a foreign one. Your toddler gets sick; it’s still ok – stay in, take care of yourself and your kids and come back when you’re all in good shape again!

Current groups work up from the intermediate levels, but a beginner’s French group will start soon as well.

THE STAFF

The staff is gentle, helpful, used to working with small munchkins so they will never be disturbed with a child crying, singing, or making a mess. They will even assure your kid is safe and sound while it’s your turn to solve a grammar exercise.

LOCATION

The Spell Language centre is located in Geneva Old Town, at the Place de Bourg de Four. It is an old building without a lift or a place to leave the prams downstairs, but do not worry! A smiling Spell employee will come down to you and take your pram up and then down again. No hustle.

This is how it is at Spell: smiles, help, flexibility, and a solution to every problem small and big.

I wholeheartedly urge you to try these classes and be better prepared for when your child starts school or any form of a French-speaking social life. That is not even to be able to talk to the teachers and other parents but to avoid not understanding your kids talking about you their friends… (they will turn into teenagers sooner than you expect).  😉

This weekend in Geneva

This weekend in Geneva

When you guys tell me this website could serve you better, I always do everything I can to meet your needs. This is why Parentville is now equipped with an events calendar – perfect for planning weekends, Wednesdays, and all other days of the week.

You can search via dates, locations, and categories (including ages of children). There is one particular category with charity events and occasional categories such as “Easter camps” for example.

The calendar shows one-off, ponctual activities, festivals, and workshops.

If you hear about any event not included in the calendar, or are hosting one – let me know! I will happily include it (and yes, it is absolutely free).