Consumer issues in French speaking Switzerland – from Head lice lotion to Chicken nuggets.

Consumer issues in Switzerland – from head lice lotion to chicken nuggets. Plus, an appeal for winter clothes for asylum seekers, drop off in Nyon and Gland.

If you are interested in consumer issues here in French speaking Switzerland and want to know more about the products and services you buy and use, then Living in Nyon can recommend two excellent sources of information. The first is “Bon A Savoir” (Good to Know) –  a monthly magazine which can be found in many newsagents including Naville.

At just CHF 4.50 it’s packed with info and tests on products. November’s issue tested 8 different bottles of head lice lotion and produced a graph with its results. See here.

Also in this month’s issue are tests on the dried fruit that can be found for sale in main supermarkets. These fruits were checked for their pesticide and preservative content, provenance, cost per 100g etc. The results are surprising!

Not all of the tests are not available online, you have to subscribe or buy the magazine to see all the results. However the savings to be found in some of the magazine’s comparative testings on products such as  health insurance premiums, and telephone charges more than make up for the purchase price!  Even if your French is quite basic, you should be able to understand the tests and their results.

Bon a Savoir

A Bon Entendeur (ABE) is a television programme produced by RTS TV and broadcast on a Tuesday night and this also covers consumer issues  ranging from an analysis of the actual meat content in the chicken nuggets that are sold in shops and fast food outlets, to the maze of “packages” offered by telephone and internet companies to consumers.  See a programme from the 14th October here

Mens clothing and toiletries required for asylum seekers in Gland 

 EVAM, the (Etablissement Vaudois D’accueil des Migrants) in Gland has put out an urgent appeal for warm coats,  jackets,  jeans,  trousers , belts,  shoes (all kinds), socks,  gloves,  woolly hats,  scarves,  back-packs, hold-alls,  bath towels (all sizes) and toiletries for the male asylum seekers currently in the Gland reception centre and waiting a decision on their future.  At this stage of their asylum application, the men are not allowed to work unless their application status changes. Further info here

Clothes can be dropped off at the following places.

1. Nyon: Centre Horizons, Maison de Paroisse, ch. des Eules.  Bin at door.

2. Gland: Chapelle Catholique, chemin de l’Abbaye, go down steps on left – bin

For further info on the work of EVAM see their frequently asked questions page on their website here. 

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!





Living with, and driving an electric car in Vaud – CH 2.50 on average to fill it up!


Living  with an electric car in the canton of Vaud

Back in March, thousands of visitors visited the Geneva car show to gaze upon the new offerings of the motor industry. This year, the “Green Pavillion” at the show created a lot of attention from both the press and the public and in this area  it was possible to test electric cars from Citroen, Opel, Nissan and Renault amongst others.  

Living in Nyon recently interviewed Christian Frutiger who lives in the canton of Vaud and is a bit of a pioneer of the electric car himself , so we spoke to him to find out what living with, and driving an electric car, is really like.

Photo above – Christian in his Citroen C- Zero

Christian has been commuting to work in an electric car for a year between his home in Borex on the outskirts of Nyon, to his office in Vevey 65 kilometres away.  A couple of years ago Christian had already been investigating the choices of electric cars on the market with a view for a future purchase but then a motorway accident  in October 2010 resulted in his existing car being  written off. This speeded up the hunt for an electric car that would suit his needs for his daily commute. He chose the Citroen  C-Zero which in ideal conditions can be driven for 130-140 kilometres on just one charge.

 Christian says that the first thing to notice about the car is that it is very quiet – “it has no noise and with no combustion engine and it doesn’t smell either. The acceleration is good, it can go from 0-100 in 9 seconds which is faster than some petrol cars and it’s nice to drive.”

Driving techniques

However he goes on to say – “you always have to drive in anticipation – firstly in terms of the range and the need to charge the battery”. Christian has a special charging unit at home and his employer has made a charging point available in the car park at work. But it is possible to get caught out. Thankfully this has happened to Christian only twice, once when the plug was not connected to the socket correctly, (so the battery did not charge fully), and secondly when he purposely let the battery discharge completely to see what would happen. He found here that the car went into “hibernation mode”  or “turtle mode” (an orange turtle lights up on the board display),  so all non-essential power is switched off such as the radio and heating.  “At this stage it is really necessary to drive economically by reading the road and traffic ahead to avoid braking if acceleration is needed shortly afterwards. In this situation speed should also be reduced. Christian also says in general “anticipating other road users, to be able to drive smoothly and conserve battery power in fact becomes second nature with an electric car”.  As does watching out for pedestrians – the lack of noise from the car can catch people out!

In winter using the heater also reduces the range – in a car with an internal combustion engine, heat is drawn from the engine, but in an electric car the engine does not produce any heat, so the heater needs to draw from the battery. The same goes for the use of the air conditioning in the summer. 

Charging the car

With a regular 220V16A plug , similar to those on camping sites, a full charge takes 6 hours (9 hours with a domestic 220V 10A plug), though a fast charge is possible with a special 400v 125A connection when it is possible to charge up 80% of the charge within 30 minutes.


Photo above – No queues at the petrol station – just fill up at home!

So far as Christian knows, there are few other private owners of electric vehicles in this area, most electric cars are used by organisations for use “about town”, and so there aren’t too many options if you want to make a long trip  for example, to the south of France. There is however a charging station at Geneva Airport and another in Lyon. You can find fast charging stations in France, but you’re well advised to map the route first. These don’t exist in Switzerland, but there are camping type charging stations at the La Côte and Villette motorway rest areas and in a couple of car parks in Geneva and Lausanne.

The cost of owning and running the C car

Christian says that the down side to owning an electric car is that initially it was expensive to buy, about CHF 50,000 (including cables and home charging device), but the upside is the cost of “filling up the battery” is  minimal, – just a few CHF. A complete battery charge of 16kWh costs about CHF 3.20 (at a tariff of CHF 0.20 per kWh) although you never completely discharge the battery, otherwise the car stops. Thus the average cost of a “fill-up” is about CHF 2.50. Christian also adds “you also want to make sure that you use electricity from a renewable source to charge your electric car”. Christian changed his subscription with the local electricity provider and says, “you should do this anyway, even without an electric car”. The charging station itself was actually offered to Christian by the electricity provider, what he paid for was the adaptation of the electricity system in the carport (which meant laying a new 16A cable from the main outlet in the basement across the garden), this cost as much as the charging station itself.

If the vehicles on show at the Geneva Motor Show are anything to go by it seems certain that electric cars will increase in importance. In 2008 the Department of Transport in the UK carried out a survey that showed that the average car journey was 13.6km and 93% of all car journeys were less than 40km. Christian has shown that over the last 12 months, with a little planning it is perfectly possible to commute longer distances. He has travelled more than 30,000 km with his electric car, since he purchased it. Perhaps it’s a little early to forecast the demise of the internal combustion engine, but for a second car, or if most journeys are just around the region then it’s perfectly possible to live with an electric car.

“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

Saving Money

There is no doubt that when many expatriates arrive here they are amazed by some of the prices of goods and services. However not everything is expensive, chocolate, wine and petrol are cheaper (than in the UK), but after a few years of living here I have learned that it is not worth comparing prices with whichever country you have come from. This really doesn’t get you anywhere. Its best to grin and bear it and remember you will still have a very good quality of life here, which, of course is priceless.
Having said that, if you are on a budget, here are a few tips to help. If you know of any more then let me know and I will add them.
1. Shopping in France


Some products are much cheaper over in France, particularly foodstuffs so many people drive over the border to go to stock up on certain items. This is perfectly legal but there is a fixed amount of goods you can bring back. Don’t be tempted to go over the amount stated as the border guards do make spot checks and will fine you if you have gone over your allowance. 

2. Swimming Pool Passes.  

lf you are a resident of Nyon you can get entrance to the pool at a reduced price. Either take some form of proof of identity (with your Nyon) address on when you go to the pool, or go the Controles des Habitantes and get a special pass (carte de légitimation pour la piscine et la plage)  


3. Second Hand Stuff 

For second hand furniture there are a few places to go to such as 

The Salvation Army (Armeé du Salut) in Nyon – a good place to pick up some bargains.  



4. Buy and Exchange radio programme  

World Radio Switzerland the English speaking radio station, has a programme most Fridays mornings between 09:00- 10:00 (though not always during the summer), called “The Classifieds.” Here you can buy and exchange second hand goods. Many a bargain has been picked up this way.There are always lots of expats on the move so its a very useful resource.