Local girl runs Polar race to raise funds for animal park in Le Vaud

If you think the weather is a bit chilly right now, imagine what it would be like at -30 °!  This is the possible temperature that local girl Rachel Frei Bandieri might encounter when she runs a 150km race in Finland in two weeks time to support the animal park of La Garenne, based in Le Vaud (read more about this animal park below).

To participate in the Rovaniemi 150 race, a 150km non-stop race on the 20 – 22nd February, runners must carry all their food and complete equipment (sleeping bag, camping gear etc) with them and manage their race to finish within the 42 hour time limit. It can be done on foot, ski or bike (on fat bike, a specific bike with wide tires to ride on snow). Rachel says; “I have chosen to do this race on foot, because I am definitely much more used to walking and running, than skiing for hours”.


This race is a dream for me! And I know it can bring a lot to the La Garenne animal park. Animals and nature hold a special place in my life, and I am very happy and proud to give my support in an original way to the proper functioning of the park. By the way: the wolf, which is one of their emblematic animals is also the logo of my personal training company!

The Animal Park of La Garenne in Le Vaud itself has four missions: to collect and take care of injured or rescued wild animals, to participate in the preservation and reintroduction of threatened species, to provide educational services to the environment and finally, to present European fauna to the public, so it seemed  an obvious choice of charity for me to support.

36 year old Rachel is an all-terrain athlete, animal and outdoors lover. Having developed an early taste for adventure and unconventionality, Rachel travelled around Australia for 6 months when she was just 18. The following year, she set off for a trek on horseback in Mongolia, a newly open-to-tourism country. In between studies and work commitments, she travelled the world, often on foot or in a 4 x 4 vehicle and says; “I always did this in a spirit of respect when meeting other cultures”.

Rachel Frei running

In 2006, she discovered trail running and fell in love with the discipline that combines sports adventure, surpassing oneself, friendship, authenticity and discovery and says “I enjoy pushing my limits and love the feeling of being in harmony with nature. After being the first to travel the 500km of the Alptrekking in solo in 2010, having led and coached a team at the 100km Charity Oxfam Trailwalker in England in 2012, I needed a new challenge, incorporating the notion of solidarity and support to a cause that is dear to me.


Growing up and working in the area, I followed the development of this very special zoo, I brought them small injured and rescued animals and have visited it on many occasions. Their work for local wildlife as well as their educational programmes is truly exciting and admirable and deserves to be supported”.

If you too would like to support Rachel in this fantastic adventure in the heart of the polar winter and play an important part in the success of this outdoor and charity project then you click here.

You can also follow Rachel’s progress on her training, follow her blog , see photos on her Facebook page here 

See You Tube Video here of  the start of last year’s Rovaniemi 150 race.







British Author Jonathan Coe in Vaud on Saturday 18th – Event open to public

Author event in English followed by an aperitif in the presence of the author.

Photo above – courtesy Jan Michalksi foundation © Mirabella Balaciut

The British novelist and writer Jonathan Coe will be in conversation with Lisbeth Koutchoumoff, journalist of Le Temps, at the Jan Michalski Foundation in Montricher (above Morges) on Saturday, 18th October at 16.00  This event coincides with the publication of his latest novel, “Expo 58″. Expo 58 is a comic spy and international love story. A perfect evocation of a moment in the history of the Cold War, the novel looks at Europe as a place of shifting and clashing political interests.

The event will be held at the Fondation Jan Michalski in Montricher, at the foot of the Vaudois Jura.  The building that houses the foundation (in banner heading above – is famed for its interesting design.  More info about concept and aim of the building here 

Entrance to the event is CHF 10  –  Reservations required     reservation-coe@fondation-janmichalski.ch

Here’s a quote from Expo 58

“He waited in silence for the blindfold to be tied firmly at the back of his head. ‘Right,’ said Wilkins, emphatically. ‘That should do. How many fingers am I holding up?’ ‘Three,’ said Thomas. ‘God damn it to hell, how did you know that? Can you see through the cloth?’ ‘No. It was a guess.’ ‘Well you’re not supposed to guess. For crying out loud, I’m trying to make sure that you can’t see where we’re going. We’re not here to play guessing games. How many fingers am I holding up?’ ‘I’ve no idea. I can’t see a bloody thing.’ ‘Good. It was four, by the way. Not that it matters. Now shut up.”


Jonathan Coe High Res



Open Day at Conservatoire, Support a sponsored hike by a St Cergue resident

Tomorrow Saturday 5th April it’s Open Day/ Portes Ouvertes at the Conservatoire de L’Ouest Vaudois in both Nyon and Morges, from 10:00 to 16:00.

This prestigious music school will be open for the public to visit to find out more about the school’s courses.  Adults and children alike can learn about playing  an instrument from guitar to piano and drums. The school has its own choir and theatre group too.  There will be workshops at the Open Day for children from 3 years old and mini concerts performed by pupils at the school throughout the day. Many of the teachers at the Conservatoire speak English, so go along to find out more!


If you have never been to the conservatoire in Nyon,  it’s worth visiting just to take a peek inside this lovely old building along the lake side.

Also, on Sunday 6th April, there will be an afternoon concert at the Conservatoire at 17:00 called La Sauve Melodia, details here

Portes Ouvertes COV

Living in Nyon is always happy to consider submissions from readers and we are delighted to publish this short article by Diantha Terry.

Diantha moved with her family to the Canton of Vaud with her family five years ago and she has written a little about living in the village of St Cergue.  Diantha is about to embark on a sponsored hike in the Himalayas to raise money for Hope for Children. If you would like to read more about the charity or to sponsor her, then read on.

Diantha Terry in St Cergue

I started my career as a nurse and then worked in the pharmaceutical industry for more than 13 years.  We moved with our children, to Switzerland in 2009 when my husband took up a position with the World Health Organisation.  We were keen to continue living in a village environment as we had done in the UK, so chose to live 30 minutes outside Geneva first in the pretty village of Genolier, near Nyon, and then in St Cergue.  St Cergue is nestled in the Jura mountains and often has snow on the ground for 4 months of the year which keep its two small ski slopes  running even at night with floodlit events.

St Cergue

Photo above by Diantha Terry   St Cergue in the snow

We both wanted our children to feel part of the community they grew up in and so we sent them to the local Swiss schools. The state is very supportive and the children, who were 6 and 7 when they moved, received a lot of free extra tuition.  For us it was the best decision we made. They are both well settled and speak fluently in French at school and with their friends, and they are also learning German.

We all love the variety of outdoor activities that living in Switzerland offers, with skiing and snow sports in the winter and hiking and the lakes to enjoy in the summer. Living in St-Cergue is a true delight as so much of the outdoors is accessible and you will often find me out walking my dogs in the Jura countryside.

Desalpe 1

Photo above – The Desalpe in St Cergue

Having had such a fortunate change to our lives, by moving to Switzerland, and being very conscious of the opportunities open to us, we as a family feel it is very important to support people whose lives are not so fortunate.

In 2004 I led a successful fundraising campaign in our Cambridgeshire village and the money raised enabled a number of primary schools in Sri Lanka to be re-equipped following the devastation caused by the tsunami. (My own parents made the move from Sri Lanka to the UK in the 1970’s.)

This year, in April, I am undertaking a sponsored hike in the Himalayas for one week, to raise money for the UK-based charity Hope for Children.

HOPE is a fantastic charity that helps orphaned, disabled, poor and exploited children across Asia, Africa and Europe.  If you would like to be part of giving something more to children who have less, please visit my fund-raising page here.  Every donation is valuable, whatever size!

My target was to raise £2000 and I’m almost there.

Diantha cropped

 Photo above – Diantha Terry

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   www.auberge-arzier.ch

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; milenabellinisheppard@gmail.com 

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: lkerp@bluewin.ch

“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