THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS IN CAROUGE – 2019
by Chené Koscielny
As the chill sets in and the countdown to Christmas begins, we are on the lookout for the cosiest and most magical places to stay warm and embrace the festive season. Carouge, which already has its own special kind of magic, is one of our favourite places at this time of year..
This year the city is pulling out all the stops with new artistic light displays, a huge Christmas tree-shaped restaurant, as well as the usual family fun, unique shops and a fabulous market that will bring back the fondest memories of your best childhood Christmases.
Photo credit main image: Nicolas Du Praz
GET YOUR SKATES ON…
For us the season officially kicks off with a visit to the Carouge patinoire (ice-skating rink) for a session of family skating. We love this rink, which opens on the 16th November 2019 for the season, because it’s not too big and impersonal and it’s good for all levels (including beginners like me). It has a real community vibe and becomes a hub for the city’s festive activities. It’s a fun and safe place for children and tweens and teens love the discos.
Afterwards, warm up with a hot chocolate or vin chaud and enjoy a plate of charcuterie or a famous fondue at the popular adjacent Ice Bar.
This year, we’re looking forward to testing their new after work music events – enjoying a bit of exercise in the fresh air with music, followed by a drink and meal with colleagues and friends.
If you’re into Swiss traditions – check out the accordion soirée where you can also try Carouge’s version of the famous longeole sausage. A Michael Jackson night is also planned, if you’re that way inclined.
The first after work evening will be on November 20th. For more info about other events at the patinoire, click here.
NOTE – this year the rink is also accessible for disabled users with two wheelchair platforms.
Image of Ice Bar: photo credit: Loris von Siebenthal
A CHRISTMAS-TREE SHAPED POP-UP RESTAURANT
The first snow on the mountaintops was all the excuse we needed to test the new Christmas-tree shaped pop-up restaurant/bar called Swisspine (operated by the same people who brought us the popular Igloo bar in Cologny last year.)
You may have noticed the impressive 14 metre-high wooden structure on the Place l’Octroi. Step inside and you’ll find a restaurant/bar offering 55 seats on two levels in a cosy, chalet-style environment where you can enjoy fondue, raclette, crepes and daily specials such as meatballs. Open 7 days a week until late at night until the 7th February – this is a great new wintry hang-out. We tried the raclette double portion for CHF16 and a vegetarian crepe (CHF9) washed down with a glass of Chasselas during a chilly lunchtime this week. We’ll definitely be back with some friends in the evening, when it should be even more magic.
A brunch is planned in collaboration with local restaurants for Sundays during the season.
A CITY FULL OF SPARKLE
This year the city of Carouge is turning on the sparkle with different artistic light installations throughout.
You may already have noticed the poetic migrating birds on the Place l’Octroi – created by the Studio of Pitaya in Carouge. Look out for more flying creations, including fish and elves in different streets and squares throughout the town in coming weeks.
By the 1st December all the lights will be in place and a nighttime family stroll will take you from one bedazzling display to the next. We can’t wait. Be sure to wrap up warm and fuel up at one of the many bars and restaurants in-between.
Photo credit: Thierry Parel
CLASSICAL MUSIC CONCERTS SET THE TONE
Another piece of the pre-Christmas magic are the classical music performances in the impressive Temple de Carouge. On Sunday, 17th November ,we are looking forward to listening to two winners of the Marescotti Bursary offered by the City of Carouge.
Margot Plantevin – is a mezzo soprano and Mattheus Mello plays the violoncello. This will be their first collaboration. Entry to this concert is free.
On Sunday, 24th November, you can listen to i Gemelli – an ensemble of talented musicians performing music from the 17th century
More info here https://www.carouge.ch/concerts-dautomne
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SORTED
If you’re planning your Christmas shopping, mark your calendar now for the start of the Carouge Advent Calendar from December 1st until the day before Christmas – during which one craftsman/artistic venue per day will reveal a special ‘surprise’ calendar door opening.
During December in the run-up to Christmas most of Carouge’s charming shops will be open on Sundays (1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd ) ideal for finding the perfect gift for everyone. The last brocante of the year also takes place on Sunday, December 1st.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the Christmas market – one of the best in the Geneva area – with a great selection of stalls focusing on artistic crafts, decorations and special gifts. It’s one of our favourite weekends of the year. The atmosphere is festive with music, snacks and vin chaud everywhere.
This year’s market will take place on the 13th, 14th and 15th December.
For more info about the shops in Carouge visit https://icarouge.ch/
You can also download the shopping application for Carouge from the same site using the same url.