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!



Sirens to sound today – “Happy” Pharrell Williams videos in Lausanne and Geneva

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Photo above – Council workers pruning trees down by Nyon lake side

Siren testing today

Don’t panic if you hear sirens sounding today 5th February between 13:30 and 14:00 in the Nyon area, this is the annual siren testing which takes place  on the first Wednesday of February.  See more info here on the reason for the testing.

“Happy” videos featuring local scenes

If the grey cold weather is getting you down, these two videos may cheer you up, they are both set against the Pharrell Williams  “Happy Song”. The first, “We are from Lausanne” is set in the city itself, you can see some familiar sights on here, the  railway station, the SBB trains, the CGN ferry, the  lake, the old town and more.  This video has already had a quarter of a million hits!  The second video set in Geneva has had a smaller audience of 14,000 viewers but readers who live in or work in Geneva may be interested to see some familiar sights on here too.


Films to watch out for over the next 7 days – From a Laundry Room in Lausanne, to Environmental films, to a film set in Michigan

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Still above from the film “Northern Light” set in remote Michigan  in the U.S – photo courtesy Visions du Réel.

The signs have been erected around the town for the upcoming Visions du Réel film festival and shops have decorated their windows in red as part of this year’s “See the town in Red” festival slogan.  This festival is one of the major documentary film events in Switzerland and attracts big audiences and film professionals from around the world. However this festival is very much open to the public and this year, as in previous years, Living in Nyon’s writer’s will being reviewing films on this site to help guide readers through the vast choice of films on offer. Look out for the handy programme which has been distributed across the town and can be picked up at the festival.  See Visions du Réel for details of all films, maps of venues, ticket info etc

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Still above from  the film Northern Light – photo courtesy Visions du Réel

Note: All films at the festival are subtitled in English or translated into English or are in English in their original version. Films vary in length from longer full length documentaries made by well known film makers, to  first films made by young documentary film makers just out of film school.  There are often discussions and debates held on site with the film maker after the screening of films, these can often be very interesting and just as interesting as the film itself! Living in Nyon spoke to Luciano Barisone, the festival director to find out about some of the films that are on the programme agenda this year.

For those interested in environmental issues, the film “The Expedition to the End of the World” on Thursday 18th April is a “must see” film. See explanation here  –  “A journey outside the comfort zone of the Western Civilization. A group of people heads for the rapidly melting ice massifs in North-East Greenland. Geologists, artists, sailors and scientists face the daily problems of an outstanding challenge. The film manages to capture the breathtaking beauty of the world while asking us what we are willing to do in order to save it”.  See trailer below.  Note: This film is a free screening  and begins at 19:00 at the Théâtre de Marens. See map here.  It will be followed by refreshments served offered by the town of Nyon. It is anticipated that there will be a big demand for this film so get there early to get a seat!   There will be a second screening on Friday 19th at 14:00 at the Capitole 1 at the cinema in central Nyon.


Film – Northern Light  – “In a remote corner of Michigan, in the north-eastern United States, work is hard to find. The men cling to their passion for racing snowmobiles or cars; the women are housewives, cheerleaders or… bodybuilders. Over the seasons, an intimate fresco of the American middle class emerges through an impressionist portrait of three families. A great fly-on-the-wall documentary with epic qualities”.   Screening on  Sunday 21st April at 21:30  at the Salle Communale  and on Monday 22nd at the Capitole 1 at 10:15. Link to purchasing  tickets online here  See trailer below

Film – The Laundry Room  “A static journey of discovery into a rarely seen world inside Switzerland: the world of the socially excluded people. It is a rather black comedy set inside the laundry room of a Lausanne apartment block. The foundations of society itself are sketched out or perceived in this microcosm where dirty laundry is almost aired in public”. Saturday 20th April at 14:00 at the  Salle Communale

 and Sunday at the Capitole 1 at 19:30
 This film will be subtitled in English. Link to purchasing tickets here

Film –  10%

The film “10%”  asks the question “What makes a hero? What type of individual maintains the integrity to fight for what is just under any circumstances? What compels someone to jump into a river, risking his own life to save a stranger? Why, during World War II, did some Germans put themselves at risk in order to save Jews? 10% attempts to penetrate and understand the very makeup of the human soul”. Although this film tackles an important subject this we film maker Yoav Shamalso includes comedic touches to the film. This film will be show on Saturday 20th at 16:30 at the Salle Communale and Sunday at the Capitole 1 at 12:15. More information  and link to purchasing tickets online here

See trailer below –

More suggestions for films coming up here soon.

Big Expat fair in Lausanne on Sunday 4th Nov. French/ English conversation exchange wanted

In just over a week’s time it’s the Léman Expat Fair! This event will take place in Lausanne from 11:00-17:00 on Sunday 4th November. This fair, now in its 6th year is where expats and members of the public can go to find around 140 business, services, clubs and groups all under one roof.  All of these have experience in serving the English-speaking community.  Living in Nyon will be present at the fair at Booth Number 100, so do come and say “Hello!”

It’s a good opportunity to ask questions about living in the Nyon area, but also to buy the “Living along Lac Léman” book. This book is a collection of columns that have been published in La Côte newspaper (in English), together with other articles and photographs, it’s a light hearted look at living in the lake Geneva area. It makes for the perfect gift, Christmas present and is useful to have if you have just arrived here and want to know more about the customs and traditions of living in the Romandie part of Switzerland.

Read a review of the book here by Diccon Bewes, author of Swiss Watching ( Best book of 2010 – Financial Times)

Come and have a copied signed by the book’s author (also the Living in Nyon editor).  Note: the editor will not be at the stand until approximately 13:30 on Sunday 4th, but there will be a representative of Living in Nyon  to sell books and answer questions from 11:00 onwards.

According to the organisers of the fair, no matter what your current level of integration is, “whether you’re here for a lifetime or just passing through, you’re bound to find something new!”

Check out all the exhibitors that will be at the fair here. There will also be  light snacks and lunches available all day at the coffee corner and restaurant. There will be sand art and face painting for children and opportunities to speak to experts  on hand during the day to help you with your expat questions.  There will be an “Art Corner” to view paintings, photographs, sculpture, etc, and to find art courses! There will also be “career enhancement” advisers  present.  Want to know more about job hunting in Switzerland? Listen to this (recently broadcast) radio programme about the mistakes expats make when job hunting in this country.

At the fair there will be performances from the theatre group the “Village Players”.  Listen to an interview with them here on World Radio Switzerland recorded at the beginning of this year.

So there’s a lot going on at the Léman Expat Fair.  There are prizes to be won too such as  a night’s stay in Gstaad, a dinner voucher for 200chf,  wine tasting for 10 people,  and 500 chf worth of travel on CFF!  See you there!

For  full information on the fair, location, parking directions etc, see the website here. 

French/ English conversation exhange

A living in Nyon reader has contacted the site to see if there is a reader who would like to exchange his French conversation with English conversation with another reader.

For further information contact  Régis-email

Farm shops and bbq spots in the area. Guided tour in English round Nyon this Saturday followed by apéro.


Photo above (cnp) –  Early evening on the terrace of Nyon château

Did you know that every first Saturday of the month (from May to October), Nyon Tourism organises a guided tour around the town for tourists, guests (and residents too!) to discover Nyon’s rich cultural history? Tours are given in French, German and English, they begin at 10:30 and finish approx an hour and a half later with an apéro and snack  in the wine cellar of the château.  You don’t need to reserve, just turn up at 10:30 this Saturday 7th July outside the castle. Price – Adults 20 chf , children free. For further information call Nyon Tourist office on 022 365 6600.

Photo below –  copyright Grégoire Chappuis – The Nyon guides

 Local farm shops and bbq spots

La Côte newspaper recently introduced an excellent new information section called “Cest facile de..” (“It’s easy to..”). The articles in this section provides lots of  useful local information such as:  “It’s easy to… do your shopping at a farm shop” , this article is then followed by a list of farm shops in the area, produce on sale at each shop, opening times and contact details along with photos of the shops. Living in Nyon can certainly recommend “Le Panier Gourmand” on this list. This farm shop can be found on the road heading north from Nyon (direction Signy centre).  See article here.

There’s another article in this section called ” It’s easy to organise a barbecue”  which goes on to list (and provide maps for), some of the free open air bbq spots in the area from Chéserex to Dully to the bbq area in the Nyon Boiron woodland.

Schools Out/ Useful book to take “home”.

Local state schools break up for the summer holidays on Friday 6th July and return on Monday 27th August. Many private schools have already closed their doors until “la rentrée” –  this French expression means the return to school after the summer vacation. If you are an expatriate and heading off  “home” to another country for your summer holidays, then a reminder that the “Living along Lac Léman” book is a great little present packed to take to your friends and family back home. It’s packed with photos and articles to show them what it is like to live in this part of the world. The book can either be ordered on line here or picked up in one of the many retail outlets in Nyon, Rolle, Geneva, and Lausanne details here. Note – it is also now on sale at the Musée du Léman in Nyon down by the lake side.