Escalade is full of fun! It’s a very festive period that puts Christmas on the side for a bit. Thank you, Geneva, for this diversified last month of the year. Even though December is cold and can be windy, people will go out to run, to watch parades, and drink the « vin chaud ».

There is fun for kids and whole families too!

December 1&2
Course de l’Escalade

The registration to this running event is closed, but do not hesitate to come and cheer for all those running up and down Geneva hills in the cold winter weather. More info on

December 5, 15h
Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (MAH)
For 6-10 year olds

“It was dark and frosty night in 1602 when the Savoyards attacked Geneva and tried to scale the city walls with ladders…” – to hear the rest of the story (in French) visit MAH on December 5. Children will be welcomed by the Mère Royaume, who will show them the Escalade ladders and other war « souvenirs ». Also, grab the MAH visitors’ discovery guide available free at the welcome desk – it will take you from MAH to the Maison Tavel.

December 5
Eaux Vives Municipal Library
For kids age 5+

Have you already noticed that libraries offer lots of fun for kids throughout the year? On December 5th, the Eaux Vives library will host the Mere Royaume herself . An occasion for children age 5+, to discover the origins of Escalade and its traditions.Travel in time back to 1602 with Mère Royaume to discover the origin of the Escalade and its traditions. After the « official » part, kids will smash the marmite and fill tummies with chocolate and marzipan! Free entrance.

December 7,8,9
Old Town

« La Compagnie 1602 » is a group of volunteer actors, who reconstruct the daily life of Geneva from the past Escalade days. It is a historical procession with soldiers, horse riders, historical characters parade through the centre of the city.

December 8
Torch Parade

It is a beautiful and mesmerising parade in the Old Town Geneva. It will start at 19h45 at Rue de l’Evêché 1. Candles will be on sale at that address from 18h30, for all those willing to participate. More information on the Compagnie 1602 website.

December 8, 14h30
Bibliotheque Municipal la Cité
For kids aged 8-12

« Les Enfants de l’Escalade » is a book by Olivier May that will soon be published by Editions Auzou. The author will be waiting for the kids in the Bibliotheque de la Cité to talk about Escalade and his book – the first children’s fiction book about the Escalade.

December 8, 15h30
International Museum of the Reformation (MIR)

A museum experience in the dark! If you and your kids are not afraid of the dark, be sure to visit the Museum of the Reformation for a visit with a flashlight! First, listen to a story about the days of Escalade at the beginning of the 17th century. Then, grab your torch and discover the artefacts from 1602. Entrance: 6 CHF. Prior reservation advised. More information about the MIR here.

December 8&9
Passage de Monetier
Once a year event!

Passage de Monetier opens for public only once a year – on Escalade. This super-narrow path from the 5th century was part of the whole network of « secret » passages created to evacuate the city if needed but also used by soldiers of Escalade to get to their battle stations quickly. I can’t stress it enough… the passage is very narrow, so narrow that at times you will have to go sideways. It is only opened during Escalade, and it is a one-way path. Entrance is situated on Rue du Perron 19.

December 9, 17h
THE parade

Around 800 volunteers on horse and foot will take part in this yearly parade. It will start at 5 pm in the Parc des Bastions. The parade is accompanied by other events; you can check them all on the website of the Compagnie 1602.

December 12, 14h00

Patisserie Martel invites you to take part in breaking the marmite together with their Chocolatier (the person specialised in making chocolate treats). The marmite will be not so easy to crack as it will weight 6,5 kg! Of course, the youngest and the oldest in the room will have the honour to start, and everyone will be able to taste the marmite. More information here.

December 15, 20h
Escalade soup
Maison de Quartier de Saint-Jean

The Escalade vegetable soup is served outdoors across the city this time of the year. Many « Maisons de quartier » will organise their events, for example, Maison de Quartier de Saint-Jean will be celebrating on the 15th with a costume pageant and a free soup for everyone! Be sure to check your local school and your local Maison du Quartier for the events in your neighbourhood.