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 in Arzier

Photo above –  Sledding and skiing in La Givrine near Arzier

If you  are about to move to the Nyon area, and want to know what it is like to live in the village of Arzier, then read this article by Laura Covino Kerpelman. She recently moved to this village in the Jura hills and has written about the beauty of the place, a little bit about the social life, she also touches on the current state of the housing market. You can read Laura’s biography at the end of this post.

Living in Arzier 

Motivated by my love of nature and beauty, I recently moved to Arzier, and am very happy here. There are some wonderful views to be had living at a high elevation,  you can often see the sharp profile of the Alps against sunrises of delicate pale pink skies, and the majestic silhouette of the Mont Blanc emerging from the mist. All this beauty conveys a feeling of living inside a Ferdinand Hodler painting.

Every season has its delights in Arzier

Spring and autumn are colourful and cheerful. In summer, cows are out in the pastures, (you hear the sound of their bells all day long!) Hiking, biking, and VTT are popular sports nearly all-year-round. Winter is an especially festive, fun time. For winter sports lovers, Arzier is just minutes away from  the St.Cergue – La Givrine- La Cure area. This provides great opportunities to practice downhill or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding in a landscape of stunning beauty. Ski lessons and equipment rentals are available for all ages, and mountain restaurants offer fondues and other delightful regional specialities.

 A “Green” Attitude 

The commune of Arzier-Le Muids includes two villages: Arzier and Le Muids. Both are part of the Nyon district. The village of Arzier is located at an altitude of 881 metres. One of its greatest advantages is that the village is on the Nyon-St.Cergue-La Cure train line, which connects Arzier up to St.Cergue, La Givrine and the La Cure  and down to the town of Nyon. It is then 17 minutes to Cornavin (Geneva train station) and a few minutes more to Geneva airport.  Arzier is an approximate 15 -20 minute drive distance from Nyon and is provided with a wide and well-maintained main road.

The commune includes 71% of wooded areas, which makes Arzier a true nature lovers’ haven. Choosing to live here means embracing a whole living philosophy, and an attitude well tuned with the spirit of nature. Woods, wildlife,  snow and skiing are definitely a big part of daily life here!  Hedgehog crossing warning signs, a mountain train  breath-taking scenic walks through woods are just a few reminders of the place that nature occupies in this community.

Road signs reflect the “eco-friendly” spirit of Arzier.


Social Life and Attractions

 Arzier has a rich social life with its schools, local associations, a yearly arts and crafts market in early November, a ski-club, a badminton club, choir groups, different walking and fitness groups, the yoga center Yoga Arzier,  and more. It also has a public library, and a day-care centre.

On August 1st, the Swiss National Holiday, the commune throws a very popular party for all the villagers and their friends, featuring great food and an impressive  firework show.  On December 1st, Christmas trees are distributed to the village residents at no charge. Many local businesses have flourished here, and you can find out more by browsing the local website   Both Arzier and Le Muids have a few good shops and restaurants. A couple are listed below.  

Photo above – The Delachaux Bakery

Deliciously appealing, the Delachaux bakery and tea-room is right in the village centre. It is the place to stop at during the week or on weekend mornings after having picked up up your fresh newspaper for a treat of fresh bread, pastries, sandwiches and croissants. The owners, Mr. and Mrs. Delachaux also own the St.Cergue bakery  Open all week except Mondays.  Boulangerie Delachaux, rue du Village 14, 1273 Arzier, Tel +41 22 366 3940

 Photo above – the  Auberge de L’Union Inn , Arzier

 Recently refurbished and tastefully decorated, situated in the village centre with an exceptional view of the Alps and Lac Léman, the Village Inn “L’Union” features a lovely hotel and restaurant. It is a wonderful place to try out if you wish to enjoy exquisite gastronomic meals in an peaceful, elegant setting, or to spend a few days in a relaxing environment. The restaurant is open all week and closed Sunday night, Monday, and Tuesday noon. Reservations are highly recommended.

 “L’Union” Village Inn, rue du Village, 1273 Arzier, Tel +41 22 366 2504

The Housing Market in Arzier 

 Initially a small farming village, Arzier  soon became a preferred summer and winter holiday destination for Geneva-based families. Its proximity to the St Cergue and La Givrine ski domains, the great views of the lake and the Mont Blanc, as well as the extensive walking tracks network contributed to make Arzier a very attractive location for residential living.

The village has been steadily expanding in these past few years. Compared to other locations in the area, the great advantage of the local housing market is that in Arzier you can still have more for less.  If you are looking for property in the area then Bellini Immobilier / Real Estate is the specialist of the housing market for Arzier and the surrounding region. The agency was started in 2005 by Milena Bellini-Sheppard, and proposes a wide array of customised services that cover real estate transactions including house-search for expatriates intending to relocate in the area,  legal counsel for foreigners who want to relocate or buy property in Switzerland. English, French, Italian are spoken.  

Bellini Immobilier / Real Estate, chemin des Granges 19, 1273 Arzier, Tel +41 79 321 0164; 

A lawyer by training, Laura Covino Kerpelman is a free-lance writer with work published in the Environmental Law and Policy magazine She is also an artist, and an art therapist. Her on-going projects are: producing an art book dedicated to the region she inhabits,. Laura has lived in Switzerland since 2005, and in Arzier since spring 2012. She has two grown-up sons, Michael and Alexander.   Contact: