Cool Info for Parents in Lausanne, Switzerland

Monday March 2nd, 2015

The Children’s Area in Geneva Airport

Last week kids and I spent our “Relâches” school holiday to visit a dear friend in Belgium. We flew from Geneva airport and of course I used the opportunity to check out the renovated Children’s Area.

GVAplayroom1

The Children’s Area is located at the Mezzanine level in transit/departure area. Roughly after the bag check and in between shopping area and the A gates. Really easy to find when you follow the “rocking horse” signs.

Below is a photo of the location (pink arrow). By the time this photo was taken it was directly above La Prairie shop.

GVA-arrow

There is stroller parking just outside the room. Kids are expected to take off their shoes but keep their socks. Adults must wear the provided blue plastic covers regardless whether they keep their shoes on or not. There are shoe racks outside the room as well as racks for cabin bags inside.

There was a lady who managed the facility but you (or another adult) must be there with your kids at all time.

After the renovation they did a couple of years ago, the play area feels brighter. It has a better flow for traffic now that they put the playpen for babies on the side. Many different types of toys are now available, from the climbing-jumping-sliding ones, to coloring, cooking set, and books.

GVA-playroom

GVA-playroom2

The facility also offered a closed room for changing diapers, complete with wet wipes and a mini toilet.

GVA-changingroom

There is also a kitchenette with microwave, normal chair and a high chair.

GVA-pantry

As this children’s area was located after the final security check, we could stay there until the last minutes before boarding time. However as we flew EasyJet and board from D gates, we started going much earlier.

So, next time you fly with the little ones and still have time to kill at the airports, don’t pass this facility. It’s great!

Opening hours: every day from 08:00 am to 08:00 pm.
Phone: +41 22 717 71 92

P.S.1: Btw, on the way to the D gate, we passed by a much smaller open play area, which we didn’t use. I’m not sure if they have more of these, but obviously it’s great and may be more useful when you only have a short time at the airport.

P.S.2.: In case you’re flying from Zurich, don’t forget that they also have nursery and playroom in Zurich airport!

 

*Photo on the very top of the post was kindly provided by Johanna

Thursday February 19th, 2015

Where to find Gluten-free (and Lactose-free) Products

Gluten-free foods are not that easy to find in Lausanne. But they are becoming more and more available lately. Thank goodness. Although I am not gluten-intolerant, nor any member of my family, we have a number of friends who are. I hope this post is useful for you and please leave a comment if you have more to add. Several of these places mentioned below also provide lactose-free food.

Cafés, Tea-rooms and Gelateria

Cuppin’s
rue du Petit-Chêne 20, 1003 Lausanne, 078 705 13 12
The popular cupcake boutique Cuppin’s has gluten-free cupcakes, though the selection is limited. Usually only one or two flavours per day.

Chez Rado
Rue du Bugnon 6, 1005 Lausanne, 021 323 41 88
The info I received was that they always have a few gluten-free items on display, and they also accept orders (for pick up on Thursday afternoon) for specific gluten-free items (Thanks Katy)

GeA Gelateria
Rue Enning 8, 1003 Lausanne, 021 311 64 00
Gelato for everyone: free of lactose, dried fruits, gluten, egg or soya! Produced locally. I have never been here myself (what a shame, I know) but at least two other moms have confirmed the quality!

Dessert Santé in Cully
Rue de la Gare 5, 1096 Cully, 079 256 14 74, 021 799 50 20
A chic café with many choices of delicacies (photo below). All gluten-free! To top it up, their outdoor space overlooks lake Léman.

gf-free_cully

Boutique Odélices in Lucens
Grand’Rue 12, 1522 Lucens, 021 906 68 88
Mouth-watering delicacies (photo below), as well as different types of bread. Gluten and lactose-free. They have a small tea-room.
FYI, Odélices products can also be bought in many places in Vaud, and a few inside Lausanne! Click here for a full list.

odelices

Supermarkets and Special Stores

La Biotique
Av Montchoisi 3, 1006 Lausanne
Available both as physical store as well as online!

Coop
I found that even my smallish local Coop has gluten-free products, though very limited (see photo below). Their online shop Coop@home also has them.

glutenfree-coop

Globus
The Globus in Lausanne has a full shelf, and if I remember correctly the have many imported ones too.

Migros
Frozen par-baked gluten-free breads from Migros had been praised by a local mom. Migros online shop LeShop also delivers them (Thanks Monica)

Aligro and Lidl were said to carry gluten-free pasta too (Thanks Heather for info)

Pharmacies

The large pharmacies such as Sunstore stocks gluten-free products. I believe Amavita, too.

Restaurants

This website listed several restaurants that have selections of gluten-free dishes.

And finally, do check this blog post by Nicola, a local mom and blogger, about this topic!

Wednesday February 18th, 2015

Baby Feeding Rooms in Lausanne

babyroom

In general, the Swiss are very tolerant with public breastfeeding. If you can train yourself to do it in a public place, you can just pull a chair in any café and get down to business. I nursed my daughter for 19 months and my son for 2 years and 7 months – so with a total of 4 years and 2 months I believe I can vouch for breastfeeding friendliness in Switzerland. They would even smile and wish bon appétit to my babies. I had nursed everywhere, including inside metro m2 when it was stuck in between stations for 45 minutes and baby got hungry.

That said, I know how hard breastfeeding can be. I had a lot of problems myself in the beginning, especially with my first baby, that for the first 6 weeks I couldn’t leave the house for more than 15 minutes, let alone nursing in public places. I also remember that baby phase, when they start to be distracted by every single passerby. And some of you may have religious or other restrictions to nurse in public. I understand how a quiet place can be helpful.

The good news is that in Lausanne now there are some places dedicated to mamas and babies, where you and your baby can nurse in calm. I believe these places also welcome bottle-fed babies.

Benu Pharmacies, formerly known as Capitole, have created these rooms within some of their branches.  There is no obligation to buy anything, just ask where the “coin allaitement” is. According to their website, the branches with this facility are:

  • Lausanne Etoile (rte de Berne 1, 1010)
  • Lausanne Etraz (rue Etraz 12, 1003)
  • Lausanne Gamma (Pl de la Riponne 10, 1005)
  • Lausanne Ouchy (Av de Rhodanie 2, 1007)
  • Lausanne Pontaise (rue de la Pontaise 10, 1018)
  • Lausanne St-Paul (Av d’Echallens 64, 1004)
  • Lutry (Grand-Rue 26, 1095)
  • Pully Place-Neuve (Pl. de la Gare 1, 1009)
  • Epalinges Biopôle (Ch de la Corniche 2, 1066)
  • (complete list here)

Globus has a room on the same level as their children’s department – I think 3rd floor? Thanks Laura for info.

IKEA in Aubonne has a closed area for mother and baby within their restaurant on the upper floor.

Do you know other nursing rooms? Please let me know by leaving a comment on this post!

 

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I have never been to any of these rooms listed above, so that unfortunately I can’t let you know how they are nor what are provided. Photo above is of our dollhouse, not an actual mother and baby room :)

Monday February 16th, 2015

Handymen in Lausanne

Spring is coming in a few weeks and I know this usually brings many projects for the house and garden. In case you are looking for a handyman, these men below have come highly recommended. And they speak English!

Luc Masson
LM Multiservices
Ch. de Verney 15
1009 Pully
Tel. 078 698 68 28
lucmasson(AT)bluewin.ch

Note: Luc helped us made the extensive wooden deck in our garden in 2011 (photo below). He was also the one who suggested the deck material, which was not known to us. We are still happy with our choice.

dek-luc

Pierre Meylan
www.casa-multiservices.ch
Sur la Croix 82
1020 Renens
Tel. 021 646 28 15
Mobile 079 623 30 17
pierre.meylan(AT)vtxnet.ch

Let me know if you have other names to add to the list! Or leave a comment below!

*This is not a sponsored post

Thursday February 12th, 2015

Moléson Ski Resort (near Gruyère)

This is a guest post, kindly written by Sanna.

ski-moleson

Photo courtesy of Office du Tourisme de la Gruyere

Skiing with kids of different ages and abilities can be tricky…but last weekend we revisited Moléson (near Gruyère) and made a great discovery. The resort has always been good for beginners….2 rope tows and 1 button lift at the bottom of the pistes, with ski school if needed. You can also buy a ‘pack’ of 16 trips on the button lift for 16chf (the rope tow is free).

But now, the addition of the Pierre a Catillon restaurant makes it perfect for a days skiing with the family….They have an indoor play area, good coffee, nice staff and an excellent menu (choice of 4 kids dishes for CHF10 and burgers for Dad).

The more experienced skiers in your group can take the monorail up for some nice red and blue runs and for the hardcore skiers, there is a cable car that takes you right to the top of a gnarly black run.

For stargazers, there is also an observatory at the top, and you can even stay the night.

There’s a 4km sledge run (sledges cost chf10 to hire) and there’s a mountain hut that serves food on the way down.

I highly recommend this resort if skiing with little ones.

Thanks Sanna for sharing this valuable info! x

Wednesday February 11th, 2015

This & That Week #7 – February 2015

TL-bus-Amoreux_Sarah

This weekend is Valentine’s Day! Do you have any special plan? We don’t celebrate V-day in our family, but we’ll be busy anyway with my daughter’s rhythmic gymnastic special performance in the morning and hopefully coffee and cakes with close friends at home in the afternoon.

Here are some of the things I’d like to share with you:

  • Horizon – Profession info event for older kids (2e année de gymnase, à l’Ecole de culture générale et de commerce ou à l’Ecole de maturité) at UNIL Dorigny, Thu & Fri 12-13 February 2015
  • Carnival time has started – see the list here (French) or here (English)
  • Though quite far from Lausanne: Vitam will be opened on Valentine’s Day evening so that you can leave your children to their care from 19:30-22:00 and enjoy a romantic evening (dinner in Geneva perhaps?) with your partner sans kids

And quite a number of workshops this weekend:

  • Valentine’s Atelier Cake Pops at Garderie Pop In’s, 3-12y (info)
  • Art workshop at Art Brut Lausanne (info)
  • Chinese New Year theme at Bricks 4 Kidz in St. Sulpice (info)

Plus a family walk (in French) “Flon Mystérieux” and an Orchestra in Renens – see info via the Event page

To finish… did you hear that there was a hot bath party in the fountain on Place de la Palud? ;)

 

Have a great week! x

*Photo was kindly provided by Sarah S.M. For more photos by other readers click here and here.

Wednesday February 11th, 2015

School Holiday Activities and Camps in Lausanne and Around (Updated)

ouchy-summer

The first school holiday for this year is starting in less than 2 weeks! Are you ready? :)

For those not yet familiar with the school here, school kids in Switzerland have holidays often, approximately every 6 weeks (find the list here). This creates happiness headaches to many parents, especially ones who are employed. Chatting around, I found that most employed couple rely on help from grandparents or families (who sometimes fly from another side of the planet). Or hire a temporary nanny when they can afford one. Or they take turns taking off days from their office. But considering the active life of kids, even the stay-at-home parents need programs to keep those little ones and teens happily occupied.

Below I complied different kinds of activities and camps that are offered during the school holidays in Lausanne and surrounding areas. Please click the links for more info.

As a general rule, the winter holiday after Christmas and the Relâches (February) are considered ski holiday thus most of the sport camps offered concentrated into this. For other holidays, activities are more varied.

Offers from the city of Lausanne (Le SJL, le CVAJ and la FASL)

Note that these are usually reserved for children domiciled inside Lausanne

  • Check current offers here on the banner on the left hand side. They currently have ones for Relâches (ski camps February) and Pâques (Easter in April)
  • Passport Vacances for 5-11° Harmos (9-15y). Offers include 300+ activities and entries to museums, swimming pools and public transport. The passport is offered by 40 communes in Lausanne and around (info). Will be on sale starting 11 May until 5 June 2015. If it didn’t cover your area, check with your commune. There are many other regional passports offered throughout the canton

Educational themes

  • Pop In’s in Lausanne – (info)
  • L’écoline in St.Sulpice – Full day, 3-9y (info)

Language (English)

  • Key English School – Full or half day English camps, 3-15y. Vaud locations are: Lausanne, Lutry and Bussigny (info)

Creative and Artistic Expression

  • Bricks 4 Kidz – Half or Full day, 4-13y (info)
  • Art Classes by Naomi Middelmann in Lausanne – 5-12y, mornings only (info)
  • Art & Craft by Nicole Rochat – 6y+, mornings only (info) – also blogged about here
  • Têtard in Lausanne (or Leysin) – 6-17y (info)
  • Atelier de poterie by Migros Ecole – 6y+ (info)
  • Painting and Drawing by Atelier Ardersia in Pully – 6-15y, mornings only (info)
  • Art Classes by Kohlene Hendrickson in Clarens/Montreux – 4y+, afternoons only (info)

Photography

  • Photographie pour adolescents by Migros Ecole – 12y+ (info)

Dance and Theatre

  • Danse Evasion – 9am-4pm, 4-14y, in Cugy (info)
  • Corps et Masque in Lausanne – 8:30am-1pm, 6-12y (info)

Make-up

  • Maquillage pour adolescents by Migros Ecole, 13y+ (info)

Sports

  • Intersoccer – Soccer for 3-13years, mornings only (info)

Circus

  • KidsUp in Lausanne – Half or Full day, from 5y (info)
  • Shanju école in Lausanne – Half and Full day, 5-14y (info)

Even more activities

  • See this post for family-friendly places in Switzerland, including links to blog post about our visits
  • See this extensive list from Loisir.ch
  • Check the current offers from RailAway

Do you know other activities and camps I should list here? Leave a comment!

*This is not a sponsored post

Thursday February 5th, 2015

Bernaqua and Westside Mall in Bern

It’s freezing cold out there, and the bise is here in the area. Staying warm indoor is definitely a good idea!

One of our favorite escape on super cold winter days is to go for a bath at Bernaqua. As the name indicates, it is located in Bern, and more specifically inside the commercial center Westside.


bernaqua-lm

Bernaqua is really amazing. It’s very family friendly, and they never disappointed us.

At the entrance queue can be quite long, but in my experience it took us only minutes until it was our turn. We were handed magnetic bracelets to be used to open and lock the lockers and to buy food and drinks at the cafeteria. There is a corner to park strollers and then there are family-sized lockers, large enough to stash all our stuff in.

There are a total of 18 different types of pools (temperature: 30-36°C), from one with salty water, another with movie projection, ones with all kinds of bubbling effects, to one with cold (18°) water. There is of course an area dedicated for the younger children, complete with a pirate ship and, perhaps most importantly, its own mini people restroom :) And for the big kids, they can slide and slide!

The cafeteria has a good selection, at least for the 4 o’clock snack time that we could never skip. As mentioned, you have to pass the magnetic bracelet to buy the food and you pay when you finally leave.

We have been there four times and always took the 3-hour tickets. When both my kids were still under 6y, I only had to pay CHF35 for the three of us. A bargain! :) To be honest 3 hours is a bit short, as it took me around 10 minutes to prep the 2 kids and myself until we were ready to plunge, and around 40 minutes to shower, dress, and hair-dry the three of us when we finished bathing. It was a bit quicker when their father was there too, however 3 times out of 4 I was the only adult. But no worries, overstay charge is low: chf5 for every 30 minutes. Or just buy the day tickets for even longer stay. More info about tickets and rates here.

As any thermal bath in Switzerland, Bernaqua also has other attractions, including spa-wellness and fitness areas. If you came with another adult, you could take turn watching the kids while the other get a massage :)

But don’t despair, even if you were the only adult, you still could get your massage ;) As mentioned above, the pool complex is located inside a mall, the Westside Mall, and there is a great drop-in facility for kids called Kinderland. You may leave your kids up to 4h for only chf3/h, and I believe they take babies too (but call/email to make sure). My kids love this place. The Westside Mall by itself is awesome, with many good stores (I personally love the Globus there) and a food hall (my kids favs are the kids pizza from Spiga and the frozen yoghurt from YooMoo). When we go to Bernaqua and/or Westside we can really spend the whole day there – safe from the coldness of winter ;)

Berrnaqua and Westside Mall are easily reached either by car or train (Station name: Bern Brünnen Westside, directly in front of the commercial center). From Lausanne-Gare you only need one change at the Bern Central Station. The total journey by train is less than 1.5h (and if you choose the IC train, your kids can play in the family coach). When we go there for a day trip, we usually use the RailAway offer. There is almost always a discount (currently 10%) for the train as well as the pool entry tickets.

And finally, how about spending a weekend there? Check the offers from the Holiday Inn hotel there – I know some families who had enjoyed and highly recommended it.

Have a fab time!

*This post is not sponsored. I don’t get anything for writing this post. All opinions are my own.

**Image was screenshot from Bernaqua website

Monday February 2nd, 2015

Where to Pierce Little Children’s Ears in Lausanne

2881276388_4926d77a78

This post was first published in 2009, when I was browsing for a place to pierce our daughter’s ears. She asked for it when she was three, and in the end we did it back in our home country.

While we don’t have first-hand experience with ear-piercing in Lausanne, I listed Sam’s as one possibility. He does piercing for baby and little children many times, and since then at least 2 mothers had been there and were satisfied.

This is what Edna said after she went there:

In the end we went to Sam’s this morning and he was fantastic! Very calm and patient. My daughter was very excited until he did the first ear, and then she was a bit less eager for the second one, but now the pain has vanished and she is running around showing off her earrings to everyone!
Sam does it with a needle rather than a gun, which I personally prefer. I highly recommend him for others who are considering piercing their children’s ears and wish to use this method.

And Kristi said:

The guy who works there is very nice and he speaks some English, very professional.

Besides Sam’s, I heard that it can also be done at the selected jewelry store Christ (Rue St. Francois 11, from age 7) and Claire’s (from age 6). Do you know any other place? Please share it on the comment section below.

*Thanks, Edna and Kristi, for sharing your experience!

**Photo courtesy of Mish Bradley, used under Creative Common license

Thursday January 29th, 2015

This & That Week #5 – January 2015

The weather forecast doesn’t look good for the next few days including the weekend. It seems that we will have lots of rain and snow.

  • You may want to take a look at this post for some indoor activities to do with your little ones
  • For the older children, what about movies? I took a look at Pathé Lausanne’s program and it seems that they have a number of children movies playing, including the Madagascar’s pinguins, Paddington, a couple of Japanese animations and the Moomins

Some more interesting info:

  • The Carte Journalière Duo from Coop is back! CHF69 for 2x day-tickets, valid in all public transport systems in CH. On sale until 14 February (while stocks last) and can be used until 1 March 2015. I think they are prefect for day-trips during the February school holidays! Note that at least one of the ticket users must have a valid half-fare card.
  • Disney’s Violetta Live! Three concerts at the Geneva Arena on 21-22 March 2014. Tickets via Ticketcorner or fnac.
  • WWF’s Panda Club has published their new activities for January-May. For 6-12yo. Programs look very interesting and perfect for nature lovers. (Thanks Marcella for info)
  • Similarly, the new programs of ProNature Vaud (Thanks again Marcella)
  • Have you heard: EPFL is the on top of “The 100 most international universities in the world 2015“. UNIGE is #2 and ETH Zurich is #3. The top three are Swiss universities! So awesome!

Finally, and very importantly:

Next Wednesday is the first Wednesday in February.

Those of you who were already in Switzerland last year, do you remember what it means?

It’s the SIRENS TESTING DAY!

It means that at 1:30pm on Wednesday 4 February 2015 you should hear VERY LOUD sound – the sound of the emergency sirens. But don’t freak out, as if the sound was heard on this special day and time, usually between 1:30-2pm, it means everything is OK. Read more about it here.

So yes, you may want to avoid your baby napping during that time, or be ready to cover their ears.

And as a general information, if you hear the sound of these sirens at any other time, you should do these.

OK, that’s it for now. I will be back tomorrow with another post. Take care! x

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