The heatwave is here. Again. MeteoSuisse heatwave alert is clear: stay away from the sun, if possible do not stay outdoors between 11am and 4pm, hats, uv creams, light clothing. They are right. But in many homes the temperature during the heatwaves is unbearable – how to survive with kids?

Parentville to the rescue! – yet again with a list of places that can offer both fun and fresh temperatures.

While preparing to write this article I contacted my Dubai-based friend. She reminded me of some rules – don’t even think about sitting in a swimming pool during the day as the sun is almost twice as strong in the water. If you need to jump in and get out, run to the shade or a/c place and above all keep kids indoors.

Then she added: Well, she said, in Dubai, we have a/c everywhere: at home, malls, shops, anything indoors really, and at bus stops too. She wasn’t very helpful. Good, she hasn’t mentioned they can always cool down on the snow in Ski Dubai. Am I crazy to crave visiting Dubai in summer just to benefit from the a/c?

So, what can we do in Geneva to take a rest from the high temperatures? See below.

1. Day trips

There are places in the region that are naturally colder or hold a steady temperature throughout the year. These include Mines de Sel in Bex (18 degrees), the underground lake of St Leonard (15 degrees), Fort St Antoine in Jura (very cold, the visit takes 1h30, booking required). We can’t forget the Alps – the higher you get (Glacier 3000, Chamonix: Aiguille du Midi and the Mer de Glace), the fresher it will feel (talk to the paediatrician before taking a baby to high altitudes).

2. Malls

Commercial centres are equipped with A/c and offer some playtime. Both Balexert and LaPraille have garderies. There are also shops to visit with kids (not even to buy but to look at and sometimes play with toys). There are bookshops, ice-creams, lunches. And if your kid is old enough you can go to the cinema, too! 2-5 hours already filled away from the heat!

On the French side, in Espace Candide you can enrol your kids (4+) to 2h activities at Addict Lab, just call them up first to check availabilities.

3. Vitam indoor

The huge minus of Vitam is that the most important parts (indoors swimming pools and Vitam Ludique) have no a/c but the whole part with the commercial centre has it. You can sit and through a huge window watch people climb, you can go to La Grande Récré shop. Vitam Ludique is quite warm but it gets a bit of cooled air from the commercial centre, so it is bearable. And of course, if it’s too hot you can go downstairs to enjoy the swimming pools!

4. Hotels

Hotels with indoor swimming pools. Hotels with restaurants. Hotels with air-conned rooms to sleep in… (ok, I got a little bit dreamy here). Hotels with outdoor pools are fine too – you can always spend some time inside with a cold drink and a snack. Which hotels: Starling, Intercontinental, President Wilson (very expensive, very nice), La Reserve, and more.

5. At home

Close and cover your windows for the day. You can go nuts like me – I covered our hot bathroom’s window with aluminium foil. Play in the bath. Turn on every fan you can find. If you have an air conditioning system, you may want to make sure that it’s working as it should because you don’t want to get to the point of having to live through a heatwave without cool air. That being said, there are so many other things you can do too. Play with ice cubes. Have a shower. Eat ice creams. Plan to buy an a/c unit next spring, and take a shower again.


6. Swimming pools

It all comes back to the pools. Water is all I dream about day and night. But I still remember my childhood sunstroke. Avoid outdoor swimming pools from 11 am till 4 pm. Use sunscreen often and a lot. Remember that the sun is stronger in the water: it attacks from above and then again reflects from the water. If your skin is dark you may not get sunburn as easily as my pale daughter, but sunstroke doesn’t care what your skin colour is. Here’s a list of all public swimming pools in Geneva.

7. Paddling Pools

This is Geneva’s special! Many parks have a paddling pool and lots of shade. It’s perfect for the morning play, and late afternoon refreshment. You can easily find them all here. Other municipalities also have these kiddy pools!

8. Museums

Museums in Geneva are generally not equipped with AC but some have other « refreshment » systems. This includes MEG (21 degrees always), Red Cross MuseumFondation Martin Bodmer, etc.

9. The lakes

It comes last as it’s obvious. Apart from the Geneva Lake, you can head up to the French Jura to the Lac des Rousses!

Be brave, hold on. It will pass. Winter is coming (sooner or later).