The Luvaville Blog
The Luvaville.com Blog is ALL about travel and lifestyle for urban parents. Here, we wish to share with you some of our travel experiences as well as tips and various recommendations on fashion, great design, trendy and practical products that go along with life as parents.
Geneva with Kids - Interview with Michela Mantani
Personally I have never visited Geneva, so when we got the chance to talk to Michela Mantani, I got curious. Definately a city I would love to visit. Get here Michela's recommendations and insider tips.
Originally from Italy, I am a Geneva-based freelance writer and blogger and mum of three little munchinks. I moved to Switzerland with my husband and children in 2008, which is when I started my blog about expat family life in Geneva: Tales of an Accidental Trailing Spouse. Before moving here I lived in London and worked at the BBC for many years. I am always on the look-out for cool, family-friendly activities: I am an absolute art, design, food & travel junkie and I try to involve my children in everything we do!
For more Geneva insider tips check out Michela's new Blog/Website Geneva Family Diaries.
1. What do you like best about living in Geneva with children? Geneva is a great place to raise young children. Nestled between white mountain peaks and the clear waters of Lake Léman, it’s a city for all seasons with many attractions for the little ones and a lovely, relaxed atmosphere.
2. What is it like a typical day in Geneva with your child/children/family? My two sons go to school so every morning it’s a race against time as I try to get everyone ready and out the door on time! After the school run is done, I meet up with other mums or enjoy some time at home with my baby girl who’s growing fast and is very, very cheeky! When she naps I try to write my blog and my articles. In the afternoon, after picking up the boys from school, we usually play outdoors, take the boys to football or tennis or just relax at home with our neighbours and their children. In the evenings, when Daddy comes home, the children are all over him so I have some time for myself to do some writing or go to my sewing classes (in French!). At the weekend, we like to explore the city, go skiing in winter or have a picnic by the lake in summer.
3. What is your favorite area in the city and why? Without a doubt it’s Geneva’s lakefront. The view is just amazing and in summer you can have picnics or take the children for a swim to Baby Plage and Genève-Plage.
4. Where do you like to go for lunch or dinner? For a quick bite to eat, my three little gourmands love to go to the food hall at Globus on Place du Molard where they can each choose what they fancy: Thai food, tapas, sweet or savoury crêpes and ice-cream. Pizzeria Luigia, is by far our favourite family restaurant in town. It’s always open and it is just a short walk away from Geneva’s Natural History Museum. Luigia is not only a delicious Italian restaurant but a very hip one too; families are more than welcome and there is a kids play area with drawing material and a table football machine.
5. What kind of public transport do you use getting around in the city with your family? We live in a small village just on the outskirts of Geneva so we have to use the car a lot to go to school or to go shopping. But we always walk or cycle to the playground in our village, it’s a lovely walk with beautiful views over the lake and mountains and the playground has a fantastic wooden pirate ship for climbing!
6. Your favorite shops for yourself and for your child/children? One of my favourite shops in Carouge is Autour du Bain, a scrumptious boutique of skin-friendly, parabens-free bath products which are all made in Switzerland (and yes, some contain Swiss chocolate!). My little ones’ favourite shop in Geneva is Franz Carl Weber, a gorgeous (you have guessed it) toy shop on Rue de la Croix-d'Or. Le Carrousel is my own favourite for their brilliant wooden toys which are all handmade in Switzerland. Their wooden alpine chalet takes pride of place in our living room.
7. The best play ground in the city? We just love Geneva’s Botanical Gardens. They are free of charge and they are the best places to visit if your little tribe loves animals. Here you will find flamingos, deer, goats, wild boars, exotic birds and a great play area with slides, wooden climbing-frames and a fab sand-pit as well. The merry-go-round in the Botanical Gardens is great too!
8. If you have a little diaper incident or need a toilet where do you go? There is a fantastic initiative in Geneva whereby many shops and shopping centres offer dedicated areas where you can breastfeed, feed and change your baby in private. They are called “espaces allaitement” and they really do make a difference when you’re into town with a small baby. If you visit the websites of L’Arcade des Sages-Femmes and Allaitement dans la Cité you will be able to view and download the complete list of these espaces allaitement in Geneva.
9. Your child's/childrens' favorite cultural activity? Needless to say, the boys love dinosaurs and my baby girl is crazy about animals so their favourite destination (especially on a rainy day) is the Natural History Museum. This is the largest natural history museum in Switzerland and on Sunday afternoon it is packed with little explorers on the hunt for dinosaurs and stuffed wild animals, birds, fish and scary reptiles.
10. Your own favorite cultural activity? The MAMCO is Geneva’s Museum of Modern Art and on the first Sunday of every month they organise interactive guided tours for families with children between the ages of 5 and 10 years-old. There’s nowhere more hip in Geneva than this converted 1950s factory and I absolutely love it, especially because it reminds me of our time in London! The little ones enjoy it as well.
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