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.







Music, Cinema, Rugby: what’s on in Nyon next week


Looking for something to do next week? Here are a few things going on in the area over the next ten days.


Both Cinéma Capitole in Nyon and Cinéma Rex in Aubonne offer special English speaking screenings. The next English films you can go and see in these two cinemas are:

Cinema Rex, Aubonne:

Gravity – 3D Monday 28th October, 20:30 part of the English Movie program

With Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Dr. Ryan Stone is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine space-walk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone, tethered to nothing but each other and spiralling out into the blackness…

You can watch the trailer here.

Cinéma Capitole, Nyon


Monday 21st October, 20:30

With Naomi Watts

A film about cult icon Lady Diana.

Watch the trailer

Blue Jasmine

Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday, 18:00

With Cate Blanchett

The latest Woody Allen film

 Watch the trailer


From Schubert’s Lieder in Gland on the 24th to metal and pop rock this weekend at the Usine à Gaz with the 6th edition of Nyon’s On Fire, but also Fado in Bonmont abbey and the traditional Thursday night Jazz apéro under the Chateau in Nyon, the music offer in the area will please everyone’s tastes.

Thursday 24th October, 17:00, Théâtre de Grand Champ, Gland: Schubert’s Lieder performed by the Atelier à Coeur Joie.

Friday 25th, Saturday 26th, Usine à Gaz, Nyon: For the sixth year running Heimathome, an association which promotes alternative music from the area, is organising Nyon’s On Fire at the Usine à Gaz. After the success of the last few years, and a 100% Swiss headline, they have decided to tackle larger game this year. Friday night will be aimed at metal and hardcore lovers, whilst Saturday night will see the venue resonate with the electro-pop tunes of We Have Band, as well as other rock and electro bands. This will be We Have Band’s third time in Nyon, after a gig at Paléo Festival and another one in the Usine A Gaz. You can check out an interview Living In Nyon did with the band last time they came here.

More info and line-up on the festival’s website

Sunday 27th October, 17:00, Abbaye de Bonmont: Katia Guerriero will play Fado (traditional Portuguese music) in this 12th century Cistercian abbey with wonderful acoustics. Tickets cost 40.- for adults, 30.- for students and pensioners, and 20.- for children (8-15 yrs). Book on www.bonmont.ch

Thursday 31st October, 18:00, Chateau de Nyon: Provinyon’s traditional jazz apéros. Come and enjoy a nice Swiss apéro with local wine whilst listening to the Geneva Boogie Woogie Trio. Entrance costs 5.-, please book on http://www.provinyon.ch/site/fr/contact



The Swiss rugby championship will be held in Colovray on Sunday the 27th of October. Entrance is free.

The ecological association “Sol à Tous” regularly organises walks in the area to clean up the nature and pick up rubbish. Their next expedition will be in Duiller on Saturday the 26th. The rendezvous is fixed at 14:30 at the “Duillier, centre communal” bus stop. (You can take the n°820 bus to St-George in Nyon which leaves at 14:21).

A new cookery school, “Les Papilles à la fete”, has opened in Nyon, and classes are available in English! Check out the website for more information, or read a more detailed account in English on knowitall.ch

Calendar Girls come to Carouge. “Pick your Own” fruit and Flowers in Rolle and Nyon

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Calendar Girls. “Pick your Own” fruit and flowers

Calendar Girls by Tim Firth

The Geneva English Drama Society will be performing the play “Calendar Girls” from Tuesday June 18th to Saturday June 22.  The weekday performances are at 20:00 and the Saturday show is at 19:00. There will be a special gala performance on Friday June 21 in the presence of the original Miss February- Angela Baker! Proceeds from the evening will go to benefit two Geneva cancer charities.  Photo below: The “Calendar Girls” of GEDS in rehearsal.

Calendar girls in rehearsal

The play will be preformed at the  Théâtre Pitoëff, 52 rue de Carouge, Plainpalais. For more details of the production click here.  For tickets, click here

Synopsis of the play: When Annie’s husband John dies, the ladies of the Knapeley WI (Women’s Institute) decide to raise money for a new settee in the family waiting area of the hospital. They realize that they need a more compelling way to raise money than their traditional calendar with views of Yorkshire. As Annie’s friend Chris puts it, “a slight shift from a WI Calendar of Spectacular Views, to a calendar of Spectacular Views of the WI.” The ladies produce a calendar of them performing the standard occupations of the WI such as baking, playing music and knitting. The only catch is that they are all nude!  The amateur rights for the play have only been released for one year in order to have as many productions worldwide as possible for a Guinness World Record.

“Pick your Own” – Strawberries and Flowers.

The warm weather has finally arrived in Vaud and with it the seasonal fruits have now appeared. There are quite a few farms in the Nyon area that offer a “pick your own” service. The farm Pré-de-Vers just outside Rolle  on the lake road (details and map here) has lots of delicious, succulent strawberries to pick right now. You can pick them until the 20th June 00 on Monday to Friday from 14:00 to 19:00 and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00. Call 078 691 32 73.   You can either take your own container which will be weighed before you start picking the strawberries, punnets are also provided for those who arrive empty handed!

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There is also a small farm shop on the premises. There will be  sunflowers to pick from July to September and then tulips in March to April. Photo above – a family from Lausanne picking strawberries.

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Below: The friendly Madame Bonvin at the farm shop

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Above – Apple juice and home made jams for sale – Below – You can’t miss the sign for the farm shop on the Route Suisse! 

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If you like the idea of picking your own flowers, the farm called the Domaine de Bois-Bougy (on the outskirts of  Nyon just past the tennis club) is offering  a “pick  your own” service.  Flowers in bloom at the moment are beautiful white, pink and dark red peonies, there are some lettuces too. There are some lilies toowhich are almost ready (this post was written on Sunday 16 June). There is an honesty box next to the field to pay for the flowers collected. There are secateurs  provided.  This farm is also a bed and breakfast establishement.

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Photo below – Flowers and strawberries picked locally and back at home.

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Happy Easter To All Living In Nyon Readers! Decorated Fountains, Easter Celebrations And (Hopefully) The First Signs Of Spring…

This rabbit joins us in wishing a “joyeuses Pâques” to all Living In Nyon readers!                                                                               (All photos, except specified, courtesy- Jonas Parson)





Decorated Fountains Around Nyon

Walking around Nyon, you might have seen one of the numerous decorated fountains across town. A local tradition, the fountains are decorated each year at Easter by local schools, groups and shops, for the pleasure of all.

A “treasure hunt” is organised around these fountains: each fountain has a sign with part of a word written on it. If you go round town and discover all of the fountains, you will be able to find the mystery sentence, and win one of three prizes given by the local shops!

A fountain decorated by the Graap- Groupe Romand d’Accueil et d’Action Psychiatrique

Decorated with recycled objects, this fountain even has an underwater beetle!

This game is organised by the Nyon tourism office, and is a great way of getting to know the town, and the many beautiful fountains that riddle it, as well as discovering the creative decorations that transform each fountain into a work of art!

Detail from a fountain on the lakeside

Is Spring Here At Last?

After Thursday’s terrible weather, we might doubt such a thing, but walking around town on Wednesday, appreciating the sun shining, it seemed like Spring is just around the corner- after what is apparently the coldest month of March in 26 years! The temperature hasn’t risen over 19° this month- with a maximum of minus 4° measured in St-Gallen this Tuesday! Something that hasn’t been seen since 1987.

But the flowers that are blooming all over town and the budding trees look like messengers of an approaching Spring- let’s hope so anyway! (Even though according to the weather reports, it doesn’t look like the temperatures are going to rise…)

Even wild primulas are blooming, here under the castle

Budding trees for the coming Spring?

A lost buttercup on the lakeside



Looking For an Easter Celebration in the Nyon Area?

You can find two English-speaking churches in the Nyon area, one in Nyon and one in Gingins where you will be able to celebrate Easter with other English speakers. Different activities are organised by both churches around Easter for all ages. Check out their websites for more information! Here for Westlake Church in Nyon, and here for the Anglican Church in Gingins.



Tulip Festival in Morges Starts This Friday

Every year the Tulip festival takes place in Morges. Over 120’00 tulips of 300 different varieties are brought together in the Parc de l’Independance in Morges for 6 weeks. A series of events are organised around this festival, including a brunch on Monday the 1st of April. This festival is one of the first open-air events of the year, and animations take place during the weekends in the park. Note that the first tulips will bloom mid April. For the whole program, look here.




Looking For a New Game to Discover?

Have you heard of the Ludothèque in Nyon? This is a toy library based in the corner of the Place Perdtemps in Nyon. With a huge collection of toys and games for all age groups, this is the perfect place to go to discover a new game. Special workshops and events are also organised for kids and for adults (including a adult-only games night on the 19th of April). You need to be a member to borrow games. All the information regarding opening hours, events and membership can be found here.

La Venezia Open For the Season

Last but not least, La Venezia, Nyon’s Italian style gelateria situated on the lakeside (near the Quai 23) will be opening this weekend for the season. They have opened on the last two weekends, and will be open regularly from this weekend onwards. Treat yourself to delicious home-made ice cream, with loads of interesting flavours (for the adventurous, try the amazing chocolat delire (ie chocolate madness), dark chocolate with chilli).

La Venezia- Ice cream shop on the lakeside


Out and about with children in winter – Tips and suggestions of where to go near Nyon and further afield

Looking for ideas of where to go and how to entertain children during the winter season?  The following article, “Out and About this Winter” written by Tracey Keenan and Nadia Leone of  “Ready.. Steady..Lausanne and Vaud!”  suggests ski resorts, ice skating , tobogganing and snowshoeing options for families. The article also includes a couple of indoor entertainment options for children.

Photo above:  Tracey with her children on the ski slopes

Tracey and Nadia both say –  “Our clients appreciate the personal and customised service that we offer when settling in to the region, but the main ingredient to our success is that the information we give is based on the fact that “we have been there, done that and got the T-shirt!”

As they are both keen on the outdoor life in Switzerland and they have taken  their children onto the ski slopes from the age of three, they are well placed to give advice. Read on for some great tips, suggestions and places to go with the family this winter. Click on the words highlighted in blue to link to the websites of the places mentioned.

 Ski Resorts

Tracey says  “There are plenty of places to try out skiing or snowboarding and many resorts have diversified their options, offering snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowtubing, ice skating, curling, husky-dog trips etc. Here are a few of our favourites below.

Tip: If you are not planning on a taking a whole week’s vacation, make the most of Wednesday afternoons (a free afternoon in Swiss schools), and keep in mind that Saturdays tend to be quieter than Sundays, both on the slopes and on the motorways due to “changeover day”.

La Givrine

Nadia says: “La Givrine (in the St. Cergue area) is ideal for young children and beginners. We recommend you take the little red train (Nyon-St. Cergue-Givrine)  which takes you directly to the slopes. There is a nice café “buvette” available called La Trelasse (click here)  022 360 12 89).  This can be found in the middle of the slopes next to the Swiss ski school. It has a nice atmosphere and seats 70 people, has mountain-style décor with log fire. Another nice restaurant is  Restaurant de la Givrine  which is located at the arrival of the train from Nyon and a 10-minute walk from the slopes.

Tip: IKEA bags are great for carrying all your children’s ski equipment! St. Cergue is a larger ski area and does tend to get busy

St. George is another small resort and is ideal for little ones to learn and practise skiing.

Further afield

If you prefer larger resorts, there’s a whole bunch of them in the Alpes Vaudoises, such as Les Mosses, Les Diablerets, Villars, Leysin, Chateaux d’Oex . Note: Children receive a free ski pass and accommodation up to nine years old with the GoKids Family Club . There is more infrastructure in these resorts provided for families such as babysitters on hand – perfect if you want to ski with your older child and you have a toddler or baby to keep happy too.

Tip: Look out for resorts with the Families Welcome Label, these are places which specialise in catering for families (e.g. family hotels, child-friendly restaurants, playgrounds, childcare facilities)

Ice Skating:

Most ice rinks are open from October to March and you can find rinks in many places: Versoix, Coppet, Nyon, Gland, Morges, Lausanne. However, a very special place is the Lac de Joux.   

At 1000m altitude, when the lake freezes, you are allowed to go and walk or skate on the ice – a wonderful experience!  We recommended you drive to a nice little town called Le Pont and park  there. You can hire ice skates and boots (closed Sundays and Monday morning). There is also a small ski area in L’Abbaye.  Note: check snow conditions due to the low altitude of this area.


Tracey says:  “I tried a super place for the first time last winter with my two boys  the Tobogganing Park in Leysin. This is a great little trip to do for the morning or the afternoon, combined with lunch out in the Snow Village at the Park or further up in the resort. You need to reserve a time slot in advance on the day you wish to go (click here, the site is in English) . This then allows you to have an hour and fifty minutes in the park with a limited number of people.

Tip:  make sure you arrive 30 minutes before the start of your slot to give you time to collect your ticket and get ready!

There are varying levels of slopes so it’s ideal for mixed-aged children as well as brave parents. If you prefer to just watch, there is a viewing stand and it is easy to keep an eye on your children (above 6 years ) and watch them whizz down the slopes – the park is very well contained. For little ones  under 6 there is a mini area with a limit of one hour from the time you purchase your ticket.


Nadia  – This season we will definitely go back for our family’s snowshoeing excursion which we tried out in January this year – but this time we will try it during the daytime. We drove to the “Col du Mollendruz” where you will find the shop with rental equipment. We rented snowshoes and set off at about 17:00 h for a thirty minute walk to the Chalet du Mollendruz (1250m altitude – open Wed-Sun from December to March).

After our cheese fondue and dessert, we set off back to our starting point, torches in hand – what a wonderful experience! Recommended for children from 6 years old ,  there is a possibility to rent out baby-carriers and pulkas. The family who runs the small rental equipment shop are very helpful. The Chalet restaurant itself is quite small, so it is best to reserve your table in advance: Chalet du Mollendruz, 1344 L’Abbaye, Tel: 021 864 3027 or 078 794 7327.

And if you really don’t like the cold and snow, why not try these following places

Bernaqua Waterpark & Spa

During the recent Autumn school holidays, I went to Bernaqua Waterpark with my two older children (11 and 8 years of age). We had a great half-day there. The children had lots of fun on four toboggans and they got to watch a film from inside the pool.  Meanwhile I  was able to relax in the Jacuzzi and different thermal waters. We ate blinis in our swimming gear at the small bar ! My only little regret was that I had not brought my little 2-year old with me, because he would  have had fun in the water jets and the “pirate” swimming pool which is especially designed for the little ones. However he will get his chance before the Christmas break, when I plan to visit the Westside Shopping Centre which is where the water park and spa is located. This place makes a great day-out for the whole family and shopping with or without children. The shopping centre has a childcare facility  called “Kinderland” for children from 0-8 years. Exit 32 Bern Brunnen on the A1 motorway.

 Indoor playground: Urba Kids in Orbe

Guaranteed fun for children from 2-10 years of age.   This  playground is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 09:00- 18:00.

 Tracey Keenan, is an English ex-pat based in Lausanne. Nadia Leone was born and raised in Lausanne. Both of them  provide settling-in assistance to newcomers to the region with private consultations and in-house seminars. Both have children in the local school system. Their combined experience of moving to Switzerland as an ex-pat and their local knowledge and contacts help their clients get a real head start settled into the Vaud region. See their website here.