At a recent PTA coffee morning, new parents had the opportunity to quiz ‘old’ parents about setting up home in this beautiful corner of the world. Several themes emerged.
Learning just a little bit of French is a must. Whether you are a complete beginner and wish to immerse yourself in the language or whether you studied French at school and just want to brush up on the basics, there is a class for you. Lessons are offered at school on Fridays at La Châtaigneraie:
10:30-11:45: Level B1-B2 (Independent users)
13:45-15:15: Level B1-B2 (Independent users/advanced)
And a few other names that came up in conversation:
Ecole-club Migros, Nyon – https://www.ecole-club.ch/Lieux/Romandie/Nyon
Altera Lingua, Chavannes-de-Bogis – http://www.alteralingua.ch/wb/pages/en/about-us.php
Ecole et Quartier, Versoix – http://aeqv.ch/index.php?page=100&CodCat=60
University of Geneva (intensive courses during summer and February) – https://www.unige.ch/lettres/elcf/coursete/en/cours/
It must be all the fresh air. Our newcomers were very keen to find out about how to keep fit.
The PTA organises a Monday morning walk which meets at the Secondary school at 8:30am; for those with more time to spare, there are some fabulous local hikes.
There is a lovely swimming pool at Cheserex, which is open 7 days a week – http://www.cheserex.ch/net/Net_Cheserex.asp?v-vm=&NoOFS=5709&NumStr=50.30
And there are countless local gyms, yoga studios and outdoor boot camps – please feel free to add some personal favourites in the comments section below.
Many local communes and villages offer their own classes, which have the added benefit of meeting people in your own community and perhaps picking up some French along the way.
Being in the heart of Europe, we are truly spoiled for choice. Driving in France (for example Annecy, Chamonix & Lyon) or Italy (Aosta & Courmayeur) are popular options. But if you would like to explore more of Switzerland, CFF offer various travel cards which offer huge savings: the half-fare travel card (annual cost 185chf) allows travel all over Switzerland for half the normal fare; and the Junior Travel card (30chf) allows a child to travel for free with a parent.
Most communes offer a carte journalière which allows unlimited travel all over Switzerland on one particular day for 40chf. Generally there are only 2 cartes available for each day so you need to plan well ahead. Check with your local commune for full details.
As well as the local supermarkets in Switzerland and France, some of our families prefer to do their shopping as locally as possible. We are surrounded by farms and many sell their products at the farm gate – just look out for the signs.
Famille Balmer, Grand rue 47, Founex
La Ferme des Pralies, Arnex – http://www.lafermedespralies.ch/joo15/index.ph
La Ferme Courtois, Chavannes-des-Bois – http://www.fermecourtois.ch
Some farms will even deliver to you – https://www.vitaverdura.ch
And of course, there is the charming Sunday morning market in Divonnes-les-Bains.
Online shopping is useful, but beware of steep import charges if you live on the Swiss side of the border. If your parcel costs more than 60chf (including the cost of posting), then tax and expensive administrative fees will apply, although this is set to change next year – http://lenews.ch/2016/10/04/no-more-tax-free-shopping-online/
And for those companies who will not ship to Switzerland, there is always the option of having the parcel sent to France to a friend, the French Post Office (Amazon. Fr) or a parcel collection service such as Self-Box in Cessy – http://cartons-de-demenagement.info/delivery-receipt/?lang=en You can then drive the parcel back into Switzerland where the higher limit of 300chf applies.
For last year’s top tips click on the link below.