Night Time Skiing and Fondue, Flea Market and Music – Events this weekend

 

Photo above – A  “sitting room” alongside the lake, part of Nyon flea market.

A selection of weekend events  chosen by Jonas Parson – Living in Nyon guest writer

Night-Time Skiing and Fondue in St-Cergue

Enjoy skiing down St-Cergue’s two  slopes lit up after dark, with unlimited access to both ski-lifts. Once you’re done with the snow, treat yourself to a fondue in one of the restaurants associated with the offer.

Special offer costs 33 CHF  per person for skiing and the fondue. Available Tuesday to Saturday, from 18:00 to 21:30. Booking a table at the restaurant is advised. Telephone numbers of all the restaurants and more information on the St-Cergue tourism office website: Click here

 

Photo above –  Fleamarket stall in the old town of Nyon, courtesy Jonas Parson

Flea Market in Nyon on Sunday 24th February

Every last Sunday of the month, there is a traditional flea market that takes place along Nyon lakeside. Walk along the lakeside, stroll by stalls full of (sometimes intriguing artifacts it’s and fun for everyone, even if you’re not looking for anything in particular. From 08:00 to 18:00

Sons of Noel and Adrian” at La Parenthèse

British band “Sons of Noel and Adrian” will be playing at La Parenthèse this Saturday night. Critically acclaimed for their second album, this new-folk band based in Brighton are know for their epic live performances, sometimes bringing on stage a number of their musician friends. Their music is powerful and light at the same time, with haunting vocals similar to alternative band Beirut. Check their website for a video of the band.Click here  and read an interview here. Click here   The concert is free.

 

“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

Brillantmont – A traditional school with a family atmosphere, modern outlook and help for working parents

Spotlight on Schools  1 -  Living in Nyon goes behind the scenes of the three schools that are currently advertised on the site. We begin with Brillantmont International School in Lausanne.   

Hung in the entrance hall of  this school is an electronic board that gently reminds pupils that the mid year exams are not far away; just one example of  the school using modern technology combined with traditional teaching values to help its students. Pupils who attend Brillantmont not only get to learn in classrooms in the school’s elegant buildings  (with sweeping views over Lausanne, the Alps and lake), but they also become part of a warm friendly atmosphere at a school that has been in the same family for five generations.  

 The school was founded in 1882 (it began as girls boarding school), but it is has definitely moved with the times as it is now a mixed school for both day and boarders and takes in pupils from over 35 different nationalities. Living in Nyon went to visit the school in February and spoke to Sarah Frei, the school’s head of marketing.

She says: “We use modern technology for our teaching methods and our small class sizes mean that we can give maximum attention to each student. We also lay emphasis on critical thinking rather than rote learning and we encourage students to express their own judgement”.

A help for working parents

“We have also adapted to the needs of modern society by offering a service for busy working professional parents who have children in our day school. If  parents need to work late, we will happily let the pupil work quietly in a supervised study hall from 17:00 to 18:30 and if necessary, they can eat dinner at the school.  Should the parents need to be out of the country for any reason, the pupil can also be accommodated within the boarding school. We can also collect pupils from Lausanne train station each morning.”

(Ed note : Lausanne  is a  30 minute train ride from Nyon, 25 minutes from Gland and 12 minutes from Morges).

Photo below: The range of publications in the school library, from The Economist to the New Scientist to L’Hebdo to Muy Interesante.

“Whether the child is a day pupil or a boarder, we take great care to ensure that the family atmosphere that has prevailed since the school began, still remains.  We have a house system in the school for day students and boarders, run by elected student leaders.  The aim is to help students feel part of a group (the names of houses are named after famous Swiss such as Piccard, Anker, Rousseau), to provide peer mentoring for new students and to organise different events within the house or between houses to create a sense of belonging and help everyone feel part of the school community.”

 The traditional building (tennis courts and grounds behind) set in 13,000 sq m of parkland.

“We pride ourselves in our multicultural outlook, students come to us from all backgrounds and countries, however we also try to restrict our numbers so we have no more that 10% of any nationality to ensure that the school doesn’t become dominated by one particular culture or language.   The teaching is in English in the school, but we actively encourage students to learn French and to discover Switzerland. We organise social and sporting events outside the school such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking etc.  We also arrange cultural visits for pupils, they can visit Swiss destinations and further afield, and locally they can go to theatrical or ballet performances in Lausanne and we take part in the Model United Nations programme.  

 The elegant school interior

One of the the boarder’s bedrooms

Preparing for university

The school is currently in the process of building a multi purpose hall in the heart of the Brillantmont campus which will be used for all sorts of events: sporting and cultural. The hall will be built underground to maintain the beautiful gardens in front of the existing historically protected buldings.

Further info 

Brillantmont offers the following programmes to boys and girls aged 11-18

British programme Years 7-13 IGCSE,  AS and A level examinations)

American programme Grades 6-12 (High School Graduation Diploma)

Language programme – officially recognized language examinations

Winter Course short stay language and ski programme (January and February)

Summer courses in July and August for 12-17 year old boys and girls who come for a flexible stay of two to six weeks.

Brillantmont is a member of Swiss Learning - an organisation committed to the excellence of Swiss education.

Click on the ad on the sidebar to go to the school’s website or click here.

Snow in Nyon, Verbier skiers to get own English radio station.

The snow has definitely arrived in  Nyon and on Wednesday the town saw lots of heavy snowfall. Despite it causing lots of disruption to public transport and to commuters , for others it was just an opportunity to throw snow balls or build snowmen.  

“Mobility” cars – not very mobile and going nowhere in Nyon.

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For many others, the newly arrived snow means that it’s time to hit the ski slopes (many resorts are now open for business).  For skiing options near Nyon and further afield see a previous post here.

Many ski resorts are within a day’s drive or train ride from Nyon and Verbier, in the Canton of Valais is one of them. The resort is not only very popular for its expansive pisted terrain, but also for its nightlife and boasts over a million overnight hotel and chalet stays per year, (three out of four of  these during the Winter season). 33% of its visitors are from the UK, 24% from Switzerland 10% from France and 14% rest of the world all coming to experience  “Verbs” (as it affectionately known).   

As a high percentage of these visitors of these are Anglophone, it was only a matter of time before an English language station would spring up to cater for their needs, so on January 2011 Mountain Radio Verbier will begin broadcasting  in English to these visitors. The aim of the station is to aimed at the whole Verbier-St-Bernard tourist destination.   

Conor Lennon, the founder and director behind the new radio station currently presents and produces the morning show on World Radio Switzerland, (the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation’s national Anglophone station)  He says;

“Listeners will get the latest information on snow conditions and weather, as well as daily events guides and a special music mix. The station will target all tourists who use English as a lingua franca, wherever they are from and will aim to create a bridge between the tourists and the local population, by talking about the rich cultural life of the region.

 As for the music mix it will be primarily hits, but catering to the needs of the younger, party crowd, but we will also play some Swiss (English language) tunes to remind them which country they are in!” 

Photo above: Party time in “Verbs”.

Prior to presenting on World Radio Switzerland Conor was Producer for Special Projects at BBC Radio in London. Conor and his family are permanent residents in Lourtier, Val de Bagnes.

Mountain Radio Verbier will be able to be heard on the Sateldranse cable network broadcast to skiers in chalets and hotels and listeners can tune in online before they come to the resort.

More information on Verbier’s summer and winter activities is available on its official website (English section). Check out the webcam of conditions in Verbier here.

Skiing options near Nyon and further afield

From St Cergue to Chamonix

The snowdrops are out, yet the snow is still in great condition, so what are the best options for skiing from Nyon, both nearby and up to 90 minutes drive away?

St Cergue


Nyon’s own “ski-hill” is at St Cergue which is easily accessible via the red NStCM train from the centre of town. The two slopes are open all day Saturday and Sunday, and Tuesday to Friday afternoon. However, arguably the best way to enjoy skiing at St Cergue is to finish work early and try the night skiing from 7-10 pm on Tuesday to Saturday. You can combine this with a fondue at one of six participating restaurants.

See their website for more info

A little bit further on and worthy of a full day is to ski at La Dole. Accessible by car or by the red train and a bus connection (take either the 07.56 or 08.56 trains from Nyon), La Dole has a chairlift and 8 button tows. It is also connected through to the French resort of Les Jouvencelles. Take your passport!

See La Dole website

Options less than a 90 minute drive away

Further afield there are many options within less than 90 minutes drive from Nyon. Heading east around the lake past Lausanne, there are a range of options including Leysin, Villars, Verbier and les Portes du Soleil.

For families, Villars is a good option.

Park either at the free car park on the left hand side on entering the town, and take the gondola onto the slopes, or alternatively, park in the underground carpark in the centre of Villars opposite the train station and take the train upto Bretaye. Take plenty of coins for the underground carpark – you will need CHF12 for 6 hours. Bretaye is the centre of the ski area from where the slopes radiate out. There is a flat area for beginners, a ski rental shop and several restaurants.

Villars website

Champery

Across the other side of the Rhone valley, and opposite the Dents du Midi mountain range there is the village of Champery. It is part of the vast Portes du Soleil resort which has 650km of slopes.

Set off from Nyon at 8.15 and you could be pulling up at the carpark in front of the cablecar by 9.30. Pack your passport as the best skiing is arguably over the border in France on the slopes of Avoriaz and Chatel. Whilst there are plenty of blue slopes, there are also unpisted and steep slopes – including the downhill course at Avoriaz and the infamous “Wall” which is the Swiss side of the border on the way home (though there is no embarrassment in taking the chairlift down if you don’t fancy the moguls). There are also plenty of typical Savoyard restaurants, including several nice ones in the Les Lindarets “goat village” above Montiond.

Portes du Soleil website

Both Villars and Champery are also accessible by train from Nyon. Take the train to Brig and change in Aigle. There are mountain trains that connect to Villars and Champery, as well as Leysin and Les Diablerets.

Les Contamines

Heading west from Nyon around Geneva and down to Chamonix, another great option for families and those who prefer to ski on blue and red runs is Les Contamines.

Turn off the motorway at St Gervais and in the town turn left to Les Contamines. This is a resort that is “off the beaten track”, with wide open slopes situated above the tree line. It is situated in the snow shadow of Mont Blanc and so often has good snow. Drive through the village. If there is no car park space by the first gondola station you come to, drive further up the valley and there is a larger car park and a second gondola that will take you up the mountain.

Les Contamines website

Les Grands Montets at Chamonix


A final recommendation for those who like steep slopes is Les Grands Montets at Chamonix. Drive to Chamonix, then carry on up towards the head of the valley to Argentière where the Grands Montets cable car is on the right hand side just off the main road.

Be prepared to share the cable car with ski-mountaineers complete with ice axes and other high altitude equipment. Pay an extra fee and you can join them and take a cablecar upto 3300m and enjoy some off piste skiing through mountain wilderness and up close to a glacier. All less than 90 minutes from Nyon.

Chamonix website

A few other tips. Most of the larger resorts allow you to buy your lift pass on the internet. You will need to have a “hands free” ski pass. Several resorts also offer a loyalty scheme. Collect points every time you ski and you will be able to get either a discount or eventually a free day skiing.