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Switzerland - Vevey

(15 Posts)
ReloKayShon Sat 17-Oct-15 19:12:15

Any advice on living there? I've been perusing englishforum but thought I'd try here as well.

My eldest DC is due to start reception next September and currently goes to preschool 3 days per week. We'd probably move in the new year. I don't think we'd get schooling funded by the employer and we're keen (though a bit nervous) to use the public/local schools.

I speak a bit of French. DH speaks none. I'd be working in a largely English-speaking office, whilst DH would be at home with the 2 DC.

We considered Basel for a role pre-DC but really didn't like it when we went for the look-see trip. The Swiss-German thing massively put us off and the city really didn't appeal much. I'm hoping that we'd find Vevey/Lausanne better. By better we mean buzzy, cool, nice shops, cafés, leisure activities etc. Basel felt, to us, a bit soulless.

Anyway, if anyone can share what life is like in that party of Switzerland that would be great. Thanks!

ReloKayShon Mon 19-Oct-15 10:48:14


PinkBallerina Tue 20-Oct-15 13:00:01

Hi, the area is IMHO lovely. Lausanne has the better nightlife, Vevey is a small quiet town. But the whole region is very nice, beautiful scenery, lots of do. Les Paccots ski resort is just 10 mins from Vevey.

For nice bars and restaurants google Le Deck in Chexbres (bar/restaurant with one of the nicest views in the world), in Lausanne there are a lot of nice coffee shops and café/ restaurants, try Café de Grancy, Blackbird, Café du Simplon, Café des Artisans. Lausanne is a student town, so has a friendly, cool vibe to it IMHO.

Most lakeside areas have good outdoor pools, google Bellerive Plage in Lausanne, fab little water park there, and a nice new one in Renens too.

There are a few toddler groups scattered about, Little Arrows in Vevey is nice. Your DH won't be the only SAHD, i know of a few English speaking SAHDs.

France close for cheaper shopping and you can reach Italy in under 2 hours.

I much prefer the area to the Swiss German part, but that is just me. It feels much friendlier and more fun to me.

Your DCs will be fine in local school but be warned they all come home for a couple of hours at lunch so two working parents will only really work with an au pair or nanny. The DCs should get free French lessons during school. After 18 months your DCs should be pretty fluent. I would really advise putting them in local school, they will make more local friends and pick up the language much much quicker (i know expat teenagers who have been here 10 years in international schools and my 6 year has to translate for them because their French is just not that good)

ReloKayShon Thu 22-Oct-15 22:32:28

Thank you very much pink. This all sounds rather positive!

Sounds like you know the area well... Would you say a car is essential? Or is public transport good enough? Thinking of DH getting about with the children and for all of us come weekends. I get the impression we'd be hard pushed to find accommodation by looking solely in the town centre of Vevey and that we'd need to widen our search to the villages in the surrounding area. Are these really quiet and small? I'm imagining tiny hamlets with cows roaming around grin and tbh I'd prefer to live somewhere with a bit more life...

Pully / Lutry look like nice areas. I'd be commuting to the well known food company wink - any idea of what that commute would be like? We'd be going for a lifestyle change and as part of that I'd want a short commute, yet be based somewhere that was handy for DH and the girls to have quick/easy access to daily activities and entertainment.

Struggling to find websites for individual schools.... I've read that all public schools are pretty good so am happy with that, though slightly twitchy about what my DDs being behind in English if we returned of the UK later....

PinkBallerina Fri 23-Oct-15 12:19:41

You could commute to work from Pully or Lutry by train. But i would recommend a car for general out and about. The kids play centres for example are not accessible by public transport.

Pully feels like a suburb of Lausanne, Lutry feels more like a village, a lovely chic village though. If you want a lively neighbourhood then try Lausanne sous gare. Village life can be quiet, think cows in little fields, vineyards, small windy roads and steep hills. But you also get the snow, gardens, amazing views and more community integration than you would in the cities. Most expats i know start out in Pully then gravitate towards the villages such as Grandvaux, Cully, Chexbres, Lutry, Epalinges, etc after a few years. You get much more for your money there.

If you put your DCs in the public school system then they are sent to the local commune school. You can't choose the school for them. Your only choice is in which commune you choose to live in. How can i word this...some people would avoid renting in Renens because the schools there cater to a very high blue collar immigrant population; Portuguese, African, Serbian, Albanian kids and very few Swiss kids, who the Swiss argue don't try hard at school and thus the level of education is to a slightly lower standard. A more affluent area, such as Lutry or Pully, would have British, American, French, Dutch and Scandinavian immigrants, for example. Gosh that sounds secular but that is the way it is. There are no Ofsted ratings, you don't decide your school you just pick your commune. We are in a rather remote area, most of the kids in DCs classes are Swiss from the farming community and a handful of immigrants. It is a lovely mix of kids from various backgrounds but French is the predominant language thus DC's French is very good. Your DCs will learn their language from their class mates. If there are few French speakers in the class then your DC's level of French will not be as good and so they will struggle more at school.

You could always suppplement their English education at home, i do this.

ReloKayShon Fri 23-Oct-15 18:31:43

Ok thanks, I'm now leaning towards closer to Vevey to really reduce the commute... I'll investigate importing/buying a car a bit further. I doubt we could afford two cars and I'd like 30 mins max door to door from home to work.

That makes perfect sense re acquiring French if based with fewer expats. I'd seen that you just go to your local school and there's no debate/discussion about it. So I guess it really would be a case of finding the right place to live first. I hasn't thought of the villages being more of a community and therefore easier to integrate. Hopefully we could find somewhere that mixes the two - ie community feel but not too small and with a bit of a buzz.

This is all totally hypothetical at the mo as I've not been offered the job yet

Thanks again for your help.

PinkBallerina Sat 24-Oct-15 09:28:41

You're welcome. Feel free to PM me if you need to ask anything else. Also have a look on Facebook, there are a lot of local groups which will help you. And beware, English forum is useful but depressing and full of misreable, cynical bastards ;-)

ReloKayShon Sat 24-Oct-15 13:05:12

I'm so glad you said that about englishforum - I was thinking the same!

I think I need to calm down a bit in my research/planning - I'll see how that rest of the job application goes and if it's looking more of a goer, I'll deffo be in touch. Thank you!

smellsofsick Sat 24-Oct-15 13:30:21

Hi. We're down the road in Geneva if you need info about that bit.

Completely agree about English Forum!

ReloKayShon Wed 28-Oct-15 15:15:18

Thank you! Trying to be patient as I await feedback!

tekeo Tue 03-Nov-15 22:24:31

Agreed re: English Forum!
I'm in Lausanne - feel free to pm me. I've been here for almost 8 years and we have an 18m old.
Fingers crossed for the job offer!

MmeLindor Sun 08-Nov-15 21:23:50

I lived across the water, so can't comment on Vevey area, but loved living in this area.

I'd say that you'd probably need two cars unless you could commute by public transport to work. We had one car, but our village was on bus route into town, so DH took the bus most days. Otherwise, I would have been very isolated.

Our kids were in Swiss schools for just under 4 years, and settled back into UK schools reasonably easily. They were 8 and 10 when we returned, and the only issue was that they start on times tables later in Swiss schools, so DD was a bit behind on that. The fact that there were loads of English kids around, helps them improve their English (we'd lived in Germany previously),

Pippidoeswhatshewants Sun 08-Nov-15 21:33:40

Just coming on to say that we lived near Lausanne for 3 years and loved it. The big N is a really good employer, and there are loads of expats around. Velvey is a lovely place. Our dc went to the local schools (no choice) and did extra French. They were fluent by the time we left.
Commuting is a doddle compared to the UK.
Take englishforum with a pinch of salt and always search before you ask anything, people will jump down your throat for "being stupid"!!
God, I miss the lake.

MmeLindor Mon 09-Nov-15 09:18:17

I miss the lake too. Used to walk the kids to school, then walk the dog along the lake and through the vineyards.

I wouldn't have wanted to stay forever but it's a great place to live for a few years.

ReloKayShon Mon 09-Nov-15 17:17:05

Oooh more good things. Thank you!

I'm yet to hear a bad review tbh. I don't think it would be a forever move but would be lovely for a few years to get the kids speaking French (then have to keep it up at home/next destination I guess) and pay down the mortgage by renting out our house....

Apparently I should hear more this week.... I'm not very patient so this is killing me

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