Living in Nyon is delighted to publish this article below on the Jura Foothills. It was written by Janet Schiewe-Orchard who has been living in the area for many years. If you live in one of the surrounding towns or villages and want to write about it for this site then just contact the editor on email@example.com
The Jura Foothills
Looking in a northerly direction from Nyon (400m) lies the Jura. At around 1000m, slightly to the left lies St. Cergue and a touch to the right is St. George. The Jura foothills (Pied de Jura) start at about 600m altitude, just above the last of the vines. This region includes communes such as Arzier, Bassins, Burtigny, Le Vaud, Longirod, Marchissy, etc, an area of natural beauty and the subject of this brief article.
These villages sit comfortably between the soft rolling hills and meadows that dominate the landscape. Beyond Begnins and Burtigny, you are captivated by the mass of colour, with the Jura looming over a patchwork of fertile farmlands and trickling streams. The hills are well-walked and the rich diversity of the nature trails, flora and fauna attracts the rambler, artist and photographer.
From up here on a clear day, to the south you can see Mont Blanc which looks even more majestic than from the “plain”, especially when it turns pink in the setting sun. To the north, the beginning of the Jura range with its ever-changing colours, to the west, the blue-black dash of the lake and in the distance, the plume of the Geneva Fountain, the Jet D’eau.
The population of this area is well over 10’000 and growing, many villages having doubled their size in a short time. As land becomes more scarce and expensive on the “plain”, many families are turning to these charming hills to build their houses and settle, where they get more for their Swiss Franc!
All the communes above come under the Jurisdiction of Nyon – (District de Nyon) – which now comprises 47 communes.
Life is less stressful up here and people are more relaxed and friendly, happy to give you the time of day, Farms dot the landscape, but will they become like those on the “plain”, which have swapped cowsheds for concrete? Hopefully not, as they provide us with fresh and reasonably priced produce, chickens, eggs, beef, vegetables and fruits. The water is natural and in most cases comes from the Source.
Several communes have village shops; the mini-supermarket in St-George is open 7/7, closing a few hours on Tuesdays. People come from far and wide to buy their fresh cream and home-made meringues. Marchissy has a good shop too, also open Sundays. Bassin has a nice Boulangerie. La Cézille, not technically a hill village, has an excellent butcher with customers coming from as far as Geneva to buy their highland beef. You can see the familiar long-horned, shaggy creatures, grazing on the hill behind the shop. Quite different from the standard Swiss cow!
There are many good Auberges; the Auberge Communale de Lion d’Or in Burtigny with its friendly, English-speaking Patron (Robert Bubloz) being a favourite. Good food, non-stop cooking on Sundays, “Filets de Perches” on Mondays (as much as you can eat!) Look out for his Sing-Along evenings, Country and Western, Jazz etc.
St. Cergue and Arzier have their cheerful little red-train whilst St.George and Longirod enjoy a good bus service to Nyon station. Marchissy has a peak-hour service to Gland station. Don’t forget the Postal Publicar Service – it picks you up from your door for only 3 CHF more than the normal bus fare. There is also an excellent network of schoolbuses serving the colleges in Nyon, Begnins and Genolier.
As for the weather, it’s about 3° cooler up here than on the plain but we benefit from a lot more sunny days and less pollution. Lac Léman is so often shrouded by cloud in the winter months. Snow-clearing lorries and salters are out by 5:15 am. Local farmers clear your drive for you with their tractors. It’s worth noting that the high passes, on the St.Cergue side (La Cure) and on the St. George side (Marchairuz) bring in hoardes of workers from France. So, the roads must be kept in good shape.
Janet was born in London of Scottish and Welsh parents and has duel Nationality – British Swiss (naturalised). She studied in London, Lausanne and Cardiff University and speaks English, French, German and Spanish. She worked in various private Swiss companies in Geneva for 20 years as a translator English to French and on occasion as an in-house English teacher. She is currently semi-retired – but still teach English privately and is a councillor in the Conseil d’Administration de Longirod. She is a keen golfer.