Top Tips for Parents by Parents – Living in Geneva/Vaud or What I wish I had known when I arrived!

By Kate Walker



Know It all?

The “bible’ of living in the area – pick up a hard copy in most book stores with English Sections – Manor is the closest stockist to school. Or go online and sign up to regular newsletters

Say Bonjour

Try and do the ‘bonjour” in all shops and encounters and even when out walking. It is considered polite and essential before asking anything and is appreciated even if you don’t speak French. You will get so used to it that it will be a jolt when you go back home and no-one is saying bonjour.

Traffic, Parking and Tyres

Remember to use your blue parking disc at all parking spots with the blue sign. The sign will indicate how long you can park and you set the dial of your disc to the time of your arrival. In most places the limit does not apply at lunchtime. It can be costly not to use the disc.

Do not speed – speed cameras are everywhere including lots of tricky mobile ones. You can get quite a shock when the fine (or fines) arrive in the post and remember the most serious fines are calculated on the basis of your income. The Swiss are also fond of driving bans for speeding.

Fit your car out for the winter!

In Switzerland, there is no legal obligation to fit your vehicle with winter tyres. However, drivers must always maintain control of their vehicle.

It is recommended to fit vehicles with snow tyres from October until Easter time. Contact your local garage to arrange.

 9 to 19 March 2017 – Geneva Car show at Palexpo – if you do not need to go to Geneva – avoid driving that way on the weekend of the car show! Traffic can be bad, especially on the A1 from Coppet exit heading towards Geneva – and once you are on the motorway, you cannot get off!

Shopping and Eating Out

Food shop online – have their website in English, French and German. So efficient and use your points to pay for delivery. Recommended.

Online deals:

Two highly used websites – part of Trip Advisor, recommendations, bookings and discounts on Swiss and French restaurants. Sign up on BuyClub Geneva to receive a daily email with discounts on events, activities, restaurants, beauty etc.


Each commune usually has details of local suppliers of logs for your fires.

Also recommended – Chez Boumboum in Signy Centre – and Aigues Vertes – a charity that help integrate mentally challenged young people in the workplace –

Looking for a doctor, pediatrician, dentist? Or feel the need to pamper with a hairdresser, manicurist, masseuse?? Please look on the Facebook La Chat Parent to Parent pages for the latest parent recommendations.

Do you have any top tips or questions for our parent community? Please email and we will post or find the answer for you.



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