Useful Swiss Consumer Programme – From Scams to Dried mushrooms, Toothbrushes and Tea.

If you are interested in consumer issues and want to know more about the products you buy here in French speaking Switzerland, it’s worth taking a look at the weekly television programme called ABE (A Bon Entendeur) presented by Manuelle Pernod and broadcast on Tuesday evenings on RTS1 at 20:10

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A regular look at the products we buy

This consumer progamme takes a regular look at many of the products we all buy in the main Swiss supermarkets and shops. It compares brands, analyses the content of many food products and draws conclusions for the consumer. Even if you only understand a basic amount of French, these programmes are well produced, can be easily understood and the conclusions are illustrated in graph form or with clear photos. 

Housing, Transport, Insurance etc

The programme also looks at other consumer issues such as housing, transport, insurance etc.  The website of the programme has useful links to consumer associations and  links to consumer rights groups.

The products featured over the last few weeks have been on a variety of items such as electric toothbrushes (their conclusion – buying the most expensive product in the shop isn’t necessarily the best!)  Scroll to around 4 minutes on the programme here to see the result on this particular test.

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Pesticides in Mushrooms and Herbal Teas

Another programme broadcast on February 18th featured the packets of dried mushrooms that can be found for sale in recognised retail outlets. It explained which packets of mushrooms contain pesticides and other chemicals, and which brand of mushrooms was rated the best all round. 

For lovers of herbal tea  another programme revealed the content of some well recognised tea brand names, the results can be seen on this clip here 

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Scam targeting local businesses

This week’s programme revealed a scam that involved small businesses being approached (one of them in Versoix) to take out and pay up front for advertising in a magazine that simply didn’t exist.

The programme has been on air for many years and there’s lots of archive material to be found on their site.  There is even an ABE app!



“Living along Lac Léman” book is now for sale! – The perfect gift for everyone.

Tuesday evening in Nyon saw the official launch of  the book “Living along Lac Léman”. Thankyou so much to all those who came to the Villa Thomas at the COV for the vernissage/launch.

Photos above. Happy book fans!

The venue in the stunning lake side setting made it the perfect place to launch the book. It also gave readers of this site,  La Côte newspaper, and other members of the public a chance to mingle and enjoy a glass of local Swiss wine, along with tasting some British cheeese from the British Cheese Centre of Switzerland. 

Photo above: the Villa Thomas along the lake side. Note – there will be a jazz concert at the Villa Thomas on Friday 7th Oct see COV for here for full details

There were also representatives at the event from the various local festivals (Paléo, Caribana, Visions du Réel etc),  from Nyon town council and Nyon tourism giving those there the opportunity to find out more about the three festivals and local issues.

Photo above – Checking out the book at the vernissage

About the book –  The perfect company gift, birthday or Christmas present.

Packed with columns articles and photos the book is is a light hearted look at life along the shores of lake Geneva and contains a selection of columns which have been published for the last two years in English every Friday in La Côte newspaper.  This weekly column is a conversation is about the people, places and events in Vaud as seen through the eyes of a British expatriate.

Photo above: left C. Nelson-Pollard author of “Living along Lac Léman”, right Contessa Pinon – editor of La Côte newspaper

With observations on unusual Swiss customs and on the peculiarities to be found in both the French and English languages, it also comments on other subjects such as the jargon that estate agents use when advertising houses for sale, the difficulties of making a fondue, or trying to say a telephone number in French.

Image above – article from book called  “Figuring it out”

With other articles on local festivals, the Désalpe and more, and packed with photos that capture the colour and essence of the Léman region, the book makes a perfect gift for someone who has just moved to the area. It  will also delight those who have lived here for a while, whether expat of Swiss, in recognising  the slightly side quirky side of Swiss life whilst acknowledging the beauty of the Léman area.

Image below – Article from book called “A saisir!” (on estate agents’ jargon)

At just 29 CHF, the book is available to order through this site, just click on “Living in Nyon” book on the top side bar to order.  Free delivery in the Nyon, Coppet, Rolle and Prangins area.  

From  Tuesday 11th October, the book will also be for sale at Nyon tourist office  Opening hours  Monday-Friday 08:30 -12:30/ 13:30 -17:30

Special book signing – The author will be signing copies of the book at Nyon tourist office on Friday November 4th from 16:00- 18:00.  An ideal opportunity to pick up a copy and find out about events and winter activities happening in the Nyon and St Cergue region.

Photo above and below – Selling the books left to right. Anna Hiller Bedlington, Suzy Nelson-Pollard, Nicola Bedlington.

All photos of the vernissage –  Catherine Lewis photography see site here

New shopping centre and children’s playground for Nyon. Debate on future of area. Local news

Here’s a quick round up of local news taken from La Côte newspaper plus events coming up in the region. 

Drop in CGN passengers numbers due to poor summer weather

CGN (Compagnie Générale de Navigation – the company that run the boats on Lac Léman) announced that due to the bad weather over the summer months, the company saw a drop in its passenger numbers of around 40,000. CGN hopes that the good weather in September will compensate for the lacklustre summer and numbers will increase during this time. However, the company did see a strong rise in passenger numbers on the Lausanne to Thonon route due to passengers travelling to France to shop to take advantage of the strong Swiss franc. Note: CGN switched to their autumn timetable on the 11th September.  See timetable here

 Buvette closed by beach

The buvette of La Plage des Trois Jetées in Nyon closed unexpectedly on the 31st August due to various circumstances. However the voluntary Association of the Bains de Trois Jetées will be re open their small café and sauna in mid October. Check out the site of this association to keep up with their latest news.   

Old building collapses in Coppet

Residents living nearby and on Coppet’s main high street, were woken up to a loud noise in the early hours of  Saturday  morning on 3rd September due to a large and ancient “grange” unexpectedly collapsing and falling into the street. Scattering stones and debris everywhere, the street became dangerous and impassable so it was then closed off  to the public by the police. Fireman from Nyon’s fire brigade attended the scene along with search and rescue dogs to ensure there were no casualities due to the incident. Thankfully there weren’t and the reason for the collapse of this old building which dated back to 1784, remains unclear.  

New playground for children on the Rive

There’s a new play area for children down by the Rive in Nyon next to the Musée du Léman (photo in banner). This enlarged play area for children (open for children ages 2 to 10 years old under supervision), comes with bright blue equipment, slides, swings, climbing frames and synthetic grass.

There are also benches in a shaded area for family picnics.

  Nyon council have spent 270,000 francs in renovating this area. Note : Want to know more about child and parent related activities in the area? Check out the Moms in Vaud site or click on the Know it all Passport on the right hand side of this site.

New Shopping Centre in La Gravette

After many years of discussion and debate, the go ahead has now been given for Migros to construct a new shopping centre at La Gravette (where the Migros Brico Loisirs is situated). Plans for this centre include a supermarket of 1500m2,  an electronics store of 500m2, a restaurant and a new Brico Loisirs with garden centre. There will also be three commercial areas in the centre which will not be part of the Migros chain. The first phase of work is due to be finished by Autumn 2012.

Events coming up

Wine train this weekend.  On Saturday 17th September Morges’s petit train will wind its way from the débarcadère (boat embarkation point) in Morges, up through the  pretty wine villages of La Côte. This is a great opportunity for passengers to take in the fabulous scenery and to visit various wine cellars such as Vufflens-le-Chateau among others.  For more information see here.

Note: Nyon will have its own Fête de La Vigne on the 24th September, more information on this to follow.

Circus in town.  The Knie circus is in the area and will be in Nyon from the 16th to 18th September.

Debate on the future of L’Arc Lemanique at Globiunion.

On the 30th September there will be a debate held at Globiunion in Nyon entitled “Croissance de L’arc lémanique – Chances and Risques”.  As the arc of Lac Léman has seen rapid growth over the past few years with many multinational companies moving in to the area, the region and the local economy has been boosted by this growth. However this growth has brought challenges too in terms of infrastructure, housing, education and the integration of the new arrivals. The debate will discuss these challenges and it is open to everyone (registration required).  Speakers include Philip Jennings, Secretary General of the Global Union, both mayors from Copenhagen in Denmark and Utrecht in Holland  (they have been invited to recount experience of growth in their own cities). Other speakers include Jennifer Ackermann from UNIA, Frederique Reeb-Landry from Proctor and Gamble, Devendra Rana from WWF, Cyriaqu Sendashonga from IUCN and Francesco Della Casa Cantonal Architect from the Canton of Geneva. For more info see here

Talk by Commonwealth Secretary General at BSCC and Welcome Day for newcomers to the region

The Commonwealth – Crossing continents and many Countries. (photo of the video screen on an aeroplane seat!) 

Here are a few of the events happening around the area, and in Geneva over the next couple of weeks. The first is another meet up of Male Trailing Spouses at Les Brasseurs pub in Nyon TONIGHT 10th May at 20:00. Just turn up or email cnp at for more info. See previous post here about these events. 

Don’t forget that “The Producers”, the Mel Brooks Musical, begins its run this week at the Nyon Marens Theatre in Nyon! See previous post for more info.

Talk by Commonwealth Secretary General

On Monday 16th May the guest speaker at the BSCC (British Swiss Chamber of Commerce)will be Kamalesh Sharma the Commonwealth Secretary General – He will address the topic “Future Directions of the Commonwealth”. This will be at Le Richemond  Hotel in Geneva 11:45 Aperitif 12:15 Luncheon.  Registration by Thursday 13th May 2011. For more info see the BSCC website.

Here is some background information on the Commonwealth provided by the BSCC. 

“The world’s largest and smallest, richest and poorest countries make up the Commonwealth and are home to two billion citizens of all faiths and ethnicities. Member countries span six continents and oceans. Its nearly 2 billion citizens account for about 30 per cent of the world’s population and 25 per cent of international trade and investment. It is bound together by a shared history and by the English language, the world’s lingua franca. Here in Geneva, Commonwealth countries account for 40 per cent of WTO membership. Membership continues to grow.  The most recent members are Rwanda, admitted at the 2009 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and Cameroon and Mozambique, the first countries to join with no historical or administrative association with another Commonwealth country. Beyond the ties of history, language and institutions, it is the association’s values which unite its members: democracy, freedom, peace, the rule of law and opportunity for all.

Kamalesh Sharma, an Indian diplomat, became Commonwealth Secretary-General on 1 April 2008. Previously, he served as India’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom”. 

Want to know more ? See a video about the Commonwealth here.

Welcome Day for Newcomers to this region

Another event that may interest readers to be held on May 20th and organised by International Link is a “Welcome Day”.  The goal of the Welcome Day is to familiarise newcomers with this region and give them a first official introduction to their new environment.

Various aspects,  politics, economy, culture and tourism in Vaud and Switzerland will be presented in the hope of helping them answer the question – how to deal with everything here?  It is an informal, friendly event at which people from different companies and cultures can interact and discover the best way to truly feel at home here. They will have the opportunity to ask questions about anything that concerns them and receive useful documentation. We will also present the advantages offered to expats through International Link, such as specific integration and career workshops. We will conclude by enjoying a buffet lunch together to taste Vaud seasonal specialties.

Foreign individuals can attend the Welcome Day. To register, please send an e-mail to with your contact details.  The fee for foreign individuals or participants from non-member companies is 200 CHF.


8h30-8h45            Welcoming

8h45-9h05            “Putting Switzerland on the map” presentation by Red Cut

9h05-9h40            Interactive Game

9h40-10h00          Presentation by the Lake Geneva Region Tourism Office

10h00-10h15        How to buy a House in Switzerland? presentation by Credit Suisse

10h15-11h00        Coffee Break and networking game

11h00-11h45        Living in Switzerland: Tips, Politics, Economy

11h45-12h00        International Link: What it is and how to use it

12h00-12h15        Questions & Answers

12h15-13h45        Buffet Lunch

The event is free of charge if the company is a member of International Link or in the process of becoming one. Venue CVCI, Avenue d’Ouchy 47, Lausanne (Metro M2: stop at Jordils)  

Brocante Sale

On the 13th May 09:00 – 21:00 there will be a Brocante sale over in Gex at  L’Ancienne Ferme Brocante and
Saturday 14th May 09:00 to 15:00.   Address  485 rue de l’Etraz, 01170 Gex, France.

Bring a friend or partner to help select from an unusual range of antique and  brocante items; painted furniture from the Paintsmith and Phoenix greetings cards.  Leave the children to play in the garden and make time for coffee and cake. For further information contact Sian Sibley on 00 33 4 50 41 92 30 or email  Park on the road and walk up the drive.

House for sale in Nyon

House for Sale in Nyon. Three storey house (60m2 floor on each of the three levels) with 800m2 garden. Near to the shops and train station. For an appointment to visit – Telephone Marie José Joly on  079 882 82 02.

Price : CHF 1, 560,000