Busy weekend in Nyon and Morges – Autumn events, from car shows to wine fairs to Expat Expo

There is a lot on the agenda this weekend in both the Nyon and Morges areas, with a bit of careful planning you could attend all events should you wish.  Read on and take your pick!

Wine Festival in Nyon

Focussing on the town of Nyon itself. The annual Fête de la Vigne (wine festival) kicks off on Friday night 3rd October at 17:00 with wine and live music outside the Place du Château. At 18:00, the band “Red Night) (A Swiss tribute band to Californian group Green Day) are on the line up, followed by “Bruce Copeland” at 21:00.

On Saturday 4th the wine festival begins in earnest and continues all day with events from 10:00 in the morning to 22:30 at night.  The official ceremony is scheduled for 14:30, and at 15:00 the actual grapes will be picked from the vines near the castle in the gardens above the La Duche car park and then they will be pressed in the old wine press.  Members of the public can take part in the grape picking! For the full programme see here.  See video below of last year’s event on Nyon TV.

Vues sur l’actu du 17 septembre 2014 by nyonregiontv


wine pic

Autumn Fair in Nyon – Oktoberfest

The annual Autumn Fair in Nyon has been renamed Oktoberfest this year, along with the lovely colourful Autumn stands along the streets of Nyon, there presumably will be beer on sale too! The fair continues all day, from 07:00: to 20:00.

Autumn pics

UEFA open day in Nyon 

A reminder that it’s Open Day at UEFA on Saturday the 4th October from 09:00-16:00. This open day is a chance to see inside the building, to take part in competitions, to see behind the scenes and look at   exhibitions all about the beautiful game.  Details here

Ski Club Troc in Bassins

It’s the “troc” (second hand sale) of ski gear in the Grande Salle in Bassins on Saturday the 4th Ocotber. A great opportunity to get equipped for the coming winter season and to find out about La Gamelle (the ski club) itself.  Got ski gear to sell?  Then you can deposit it between 10:00 and 11:30. The actual sale begins at 13:30 until 15:30 and unsold goods must be collected 16:00 and 16:30.

Ski cliub troc

British Classic Car show in Morges  

It’s the annual Classic Car show in Morges on Saturday 4th October. This takes place along Morges lake side from 10:00 to 17:00.

This car show is  gathering of over 1500 British classic cars and motorbikes of all makes.  Entry is free for both participants and the public.  See here for full details

Big Expat fair – Sunday 5th October in Geneva 

This Sunday it’s Expat Expo in Geneva from 11:00 to 17:00 at La Praille shopping centre. Meet 100s of exhibitors from all over Switzerland. These expat fairs are very useful if you have recently moved to Switzerland and want to know about the services that are on offer for expats. Banks, insurance companies and small English speaking businesses will be all there under one roof, along with experts on hand to answer questions about living in this country.

Also – Living in Nyon recommends you visit table number 5 at the Expat Expo where you can meet the authors of  the latest “Know it all Passport” guide and  of “Education Guide Switzerland” .  Note,  there will be a review of the latest  “Know it all Passport” guide in a future Living in Nyon post along with a chance to win a free copy. Watch this space!





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

Divonne and Food Products 018

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.

Divonne and Food Products 020

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

Local election time again in Vaud – A guide for those eligible to vote


It can’t have escaped your notice that it’s local election time again as campaign posters from all the political parties spring up around the towns and villages of Vaud. The candidates that are putting themselves forward for the Nyon elections usually can be found  Place St-Martin (in the centre of Nyon) every Saturday morning. They are there to answer your questions on local issues, so go and chat to them! The date for the first round of elections is March 13th.   

Photo above : campaigning in the rain back in 2007 photo below: campaigning in 2011  

Too young to vote - but still interested.


 Did you know that if you are a foreign citizen who has been regularly domiciled in Switzerland for at least 10 years, of which at least 3 have been in the canton of Vaud, then you can vote!  If so, you should have received your voting papers in the post by now and if you have, you will see  there are a lot of candidates on lots of lists and it can all seem a bit confusing!   

Thankfully, help is at hand as Bob Jenefsky, a member of the conseil communal has very kindly written a clear outline about these elections and the voting procedures for Living in Nyon readers.    

Note: This site will be inviting all the political parties concerned to send in their comments and their stand on local issues, however this is provided  purely as public service information for the expat community and does not imply endorsement of their views by Living in Nyon.    

Now it’s over to Bob for an explanation of  the voting system and the elections.   

 Local elections – Voting the Nyon way   

On March 13, voters in the canton of Vaud will elect their local authorities – the deliberative body (conseil communal or, for smaller communities, conseil général) and the executive (conseil municipal) for the 5-year legislature, which begins on July 1, 2011.   

 In Nyon, the conseil communal (100 councilors) is elected by the proportional-representation system, whereas the conseil municipal, usually referred to as the “Municipalité” (7 members, including the mayor) is elected by majority vote.    

Swiss citizens whose legal domicile is in Nyon are eligible to vote in the city election, as are foreign citizens who have been regularly domiciled in Switzerland for at least 10 years, of which at least 3 in the canton of Vaud.   

 Most voters received their package of election materials this week, together with detailed explanations about the mechanics of voting.    A first glance will suffice to convince you that it’s a bit complicated, so here are some explanations to help you out.   

 Conseil communal   

 The conseil communal is somewhat akin to a cityparliament (UK = town council), although it is not a true legislature in the sense that it does not make laws.  Candidates (Swiss citizens or eligible foreign nationals, see above) must be on an official party ballot. There are 7 parties: from the “left” to the “right” of the political spectrum, the Parti POP-Gauche en movement-La Gauche; the Parti Verts et Ouverts; the Parti Socialiste Nyonnais; the Parti Indépendant Nyonnais (PIN); the Parti Vert’Libéral; the Parti PLR.Les Libéraux-Radicaux and the Parti Union Démocratique du Centre.  In addition to the official party ballots, you will also find a blank ballot, which can be filled out by hand, in the voter’s package.    

 Perhaps you are a member or supporter of a party, or know one or more candidates and would like to vote for them.  It’s important to understand that you must first vote for the party and then for the candidates, in order to increase their chances to be elected!   

 Because there are 100 seats to be filled in the conseil communal, each voter has 100 “suffrages” (as you can see from the blank ballot, which has space for the names of 100 candidates).  The official party ballots have between 10 and 50 names printed on them.     

You have a number of options when voting:   

 1.     You can simply choose a party ballot and place it, with no changes, in your voting envelope, together with your ballot for the Municipalité (see below).  This is referred to as a “liste compacte”. In that case, the party will receive 100 “suffrages”.  When the ballots are counted on March 13, each party will receive the number of seats in the conseil communal corresponding to the percentage it received of the total number of “suffrages” cast by all voters.  The actual seats won by the party will then be allocated to the candidates on its list in descending order of the number of “suffrages” each candidate has received as an individual.  You can increase the election chances of the candidates you like by writing their names in a second (but not a third!) time by hand on the printed ballot (but not on the back!).  This is referred to as “cumul”.    

  1. If you have a preference for a particular party, but like some candidates from other parties, you can vote what is referred to as a “liste panachée”: take the official party ballot, and add each of the names of the candidates from the other parties that you want to vote for, once or (at most) twice.  Each vote for a candidate from another party will be deducted from the maximum 100 “suffrages” going to the party whose list you’re using.  You may also cross off the names of candidates on the printed list if you wish (this only reduces those candidates’ personal chance of being elected, but doesn’t deduct “suffrages” from the party).

  1.Finally, you can take a blank list and fill it in by hand with up to 100 names (or 50 names, each entered twice, or some combination of names entered once and entered twice).  If the total number of names is less than 100, some of your “suffrages” will be lost, unless you write the number and name of an official party list in the upper right-hand corner of the ballot, in which case any remaining “suffrages” (these are referred to as “suffrages complémentaires”) will go to that party. Municipalité   

 The 7 members of the conseil municipal (they’re referred to individually as Municipal in the masculine, Municipale in the feminine and as Municipaux in the plural form) are elected in a two-round process:   

 March 13 (first round)   

 In the first round, candidates for the Municipalité must receive the absolute majority (50% of votes cast plus one vote) to be elected.  Those not elected in the first round must face a runoff election on April 3.  Each voter can cast a single ballot containing up to 7 names, which may be those of official candidates or of any other eligible person (i.e. write-ins).   

 April 3 (second round)   

 To fill any remaining seats in the Municipalité, a runoff election will be held on April 3.  Candidates are elected by relative majority, i.e. those candidates receiving the most votes cast will fill any remaining seats.   

 Election of the mayor   

 The mayor is primus inter pares among the Municipaux, so he must first be elected as a member of the Municipalité.  Although the current incumbent, Daniel Rossellat, is running unopposed for re-election, he must first overcome the technical hurdle of being elected to the Municipalité, as only members of that body are eligible to run for mayor.  The election for mayor also takes place in 2 rounds: the first, on May 15 (absolute majority required), and the second (if necessary) on June 5 (relative majority).    

 Need more information?   

 Got it?  Well, if not, don’t worry: you’re in good company!  Many native Swiss don’t understand the system, either. If you have any questions after reading all the official information, call me on 079 2025014 or e-mail me at jenefsky@iprolink.ch and I’ll try to help.    

 Bob Jenefsky – Conseiller communal – President, Parti Indépendant Nyonnais   

Note: If you received your free copy of La Côte yesterday you should have also got the special election supplement which lists all the candidates in the district of Nyon.    

Questions and answers on local schooling

Living in Nyon has recently received a few questions from parents who are about to move to the area and who are considering putting their children into the local public schools.  For those parents who have questions you might like to know that the canton of Vaud has recently produced a helpful website with the key facts to public schools in Vaud. This information is in English with helpful charts comparing the Vaud educational systems with those of various other countries (including England). 

Here is the link  to the site. 

In addition for your information here are some of the questions this site has received and replies that parents have given. 

Please note these answers come from the personal opinions of  parents and obviously experience varies according to each individual’s situation.  

The photos in the article are of children from local schools in the “end of school summer parade”  in the centre of Nyon.

Question on integration

“Hello, we  have just arrived and are staying in Geneva this week to look at the area. We think that we will probably move to Nyon in January, and will put our kids in the public schools. However, we would like to visit one of the primary schools to discuss their integration programs. I have searched web sites and the Know It All Passport but can not find the address for a primary public school in Nyon. Can you help out? Thanks!

Reply from a parent

“In Nyon, you’re assigned a primary school depending on the street in which you live. The level of support for each child depends on the school and on the age of the child. The good news is that I’ve only heard positive things about the primary schools round here – we’re certainly very happy with Ecole de Centre Ville, which is in the town centre.
I don’t know about other primary schools, but our experience is that children in 2nd Year Enfantine (CIN2; ie age 5) who need help with their French get one specially-devised French lesson a week as part of a small group, plus help with vocabulary from their class teacher. In 1st Year Primary (CYP1; age 6+) this goes up to twice a week, and my daughter gets extra help – “appui” – for 45 mins on Wednesday mornings when she would otherwise be free to come home.
I don’t know what the catchment areas are, but I’m sure the Admin office for the Primary Schools of Nyon would be able to help.”
Etablissement primaire de Nyon (CIN, CYP)
Ch. de Prélaz 5
Case postale 2307
CH-1260 NYON 2
Tél. +41 (0)22 557 55 55
Fax +41 (0)22 557 55 56
Secrétariat : ouverture au public 7h30 – 12h et 15h – 16h30

Question on  Geneva versus Vaud schools?

“In your opinion, would schools in the Geneva canton have better integration programmes for non-French speaking children, or are the schools in Vaud just as good?  In the US, there can be big differences in the quality of the schools and teachers within the same city.  Is that also the case in Nyon?  Is there a primary school (or schools) within Nyon that are known to be better with non-French speaking children?”

Reply  from a parent

“When we moved here, the relocation company assured us that state education in Geneva and in Vaud was of an equally high standard. I don’t know anyone who’s moved between the Geneva and the Vaud schooling systems, and I don’t know anything about the Geneva set-up, so can’t helpfully compare them. Maybe one of your colleagues has children of a similar age who are schooled in Geneva and who might be able to shed some light on the subject?
There are certainly lots of ‘international’ children in schools in Geneva. However, the area between Geneva and Lausanne (‘La Cote’) is also very popular with expats and there are children from non-French speaking families in most of the schools in towns and villages close to the lake. Once you head away from Nyon and into the villages, it’s more likely that children will be allocated to the primary school that has space for them, which might not be in their village but a bus-ride away. Likewise, specialised classes like French for non-native speakers, may be held in a different location, with children coming in from several villages nearby. Schools in Nyon and Geneva have a large enough non-native population that they deal with this ‘on site’.
As far as Nyon is concerned, again I can only speak from experience. We have friends with kids in a couple of different primary schools here (Tattes d’Oie and Couchant) and in villages nearby (Trelex/Gingins) and they are happy with the standards and the level of support they are getting. But there are no ‘league tables’ and I guess you have to go by how well you feel your children’s individual needs are met, which in our case has been really well. As Nyon is relatively densely populated, the schools are all pretty close together, and all have a sizeable proportion of non-native children, who enter at all levels. On starting at Ecole de Centre Ville, in the old town, both of my children had other kids in their class who spoke English, which made it a bit easier, and kids who didn’t speak French, so they certainly didn’t feel isolated. There are certainly quite a few English-speaking parents that I’ve got to know in the playground! 
My best advice is to have a look round, decide which area you’d like to live in and have an informal peek at the schools nearby. At least that’s what we did!”

Reply from another parent

“I can only speak from anecdotal evidence but I have heard that the public schools are better in Vaud (and I think they came out better in a survey in a  magazine article, but this could have changed).  From personal experience our daughter arrived from England at the age of 10 here too (speaking no French)and the support she received in her Nyon school was excellent.  Having said this there are some things that take adjusting to;  you will find that the Swiss system is not the same as say in the UK where there are more parent/teacher associations and involvement in school life, here the parents do not seem to be given the opportunity to get involved in school activities.  

 As to which school to choose according to which area the school is in or the quality of the teachers in each school  well like everywhere in the world,  there are good and bad teachers in every school, public or private, you could choose a school because of a good teacher etc only to find they leave the next year and don’t forget Nyon is a small  town there aren’t really any “ghettos” as there can be in some U.S. towns.”

Entry date/Cut off date  for children to local schools.

“I have a 3 year old, currently at pre-school. I understand that their are 2 public primary schools in Nyon. (We will be looking to send them to public school). Am I able to choose which one and are they much the same? My daughter like us only speaks English.    She will be 4 on September 2nd 2011, can she start Primary school in 2011, or is their a cut off age/date?”

A parent’s reply

” Our kids go to l’Ecole de Centre Ville de Nyon, which is our local primary. They were 4 and 5 when they joined (one in Premier Enfantine, known as CIN1, the other in Deuxieme Enfantine – CIN2) at the beginning of the school year 2009. Although the first couple of months were pretty tough – new language, new town, new friends – they settled faster than I’d anticipated, and are both on their way to being fluent in french, having started with none at all. There are quite a few children at school who come from non-french-speaking households, and the school is well set-up to help them, with extra ‘French for foreigners’ classes from CIN2 onwards. In fact, there were a couple of other English-speaking/bilingual kids in both classes and I’ve met even more British/US mums in the playground this year.
As far as I understand, you’re allocated the school nearest to where you live – there are quite a few evenly spaced around town, and they all look quite nice. We certainly had a nose around our school before we signed our rental contract, just for peace of mind. For more information on the school system, the best place to look is here . When we started, children had to have turned 4 by 30 June of that year to get a guaranteed place in CIN1. I’ve met a couple of people who appealed and had younger children accepted if they had already been at school in their country of origin or if their birthdays were in the late summer, but I’m not sure how this works or if the cut-off date still stands. The academic year 2011/12 starts on 22 Aug 2011 so I’d imagine you’d be in with a chance especially if you can prove that your daughter has been assessed as ‘school-ready’ by her current teachers.
If not, there are quite a few preschool options available, both French and bilingual, some semi-run by the local council, others private. We’re pretty lucky in Nyon, as the childcare situation isn’t as dire as it is in other cantons, although it is still quite a way behind the UK in terms of cost and number of places available – see this link  for details of the ‘state’ provision. As it happens, I went with a friend to pick up her kid from the Croque’Lune the other day, and it looked really good. This sort of childcare is very carefully regulated, and they have strict rules about proportion of staff to children of various ages.
The cost of the ‘state’ nurseries here in Nyon is means-tested (as is the cost of the lunch-clubs “Classe Tartines” for school-age kids) but I don’t know what that means in terms of actual price. A good starting place to find information about private nurseries in and around Nyon would probably be the Know-It-All Passport, which is a directory of all things expat in Geneva/Vaud (see www.knowitall.ch).
Probably the best people to ask about preschool/creches would be the Moms in Vaud group, who meet up every Weds morning and have an active Yahoo group .  There’s also a Mums and Kids group called GEMS (Group of English-speaking MotherS – !) who meet weekly at the Westlake Church in Nyon and seem to have a great time – their blog is at  and the Mums and Kids section of the International Women’s Club of Nyon