Haut-Lac International Bilingual School is located in one of the most picturesque areas of Switzerland.
St-Légier is a charming village above Vevey with panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the French Alps. It is nestled between Montreux and Lausanne in the heart of the Lavaux wine-growing region.
St-Légier has a population of just over 5,000. About 20% of its inhabitants are expatriate foreign nationals. Most of the population speaks French, but German and English are also predominant languages in the area.
Small herds of sheep and cows still graze peacefully on private lands bordering the village, harking back to the area’s former rural origins. St-Légier is a perfect base from which to explore the region. There is a thriving tourism industry, in large part boosted by the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site known as the Lavaux region: 30km of terraced vineyards stretching from Vevey to Lausanne. These so-called “terraces” enjoy a Mediterranean-style climate. There are no less than 8 wine producing areas along their route such as Lutry, Villette, Epesses, St-Saphorin, and Chardonne, to name but a few, each one worthy of a detour.
Large international companies like Nestlé, Philip Morris, Medtronic, Kudelski, and Logitech have their headquarters in the region. Between them they employ a sizeable proportion of the local community, as well as numerous expatriates. Naturally, there is an extensive network of buses, trains and boats which makes it easy to get around.
Just a stone’s throw from St-Légier, Vevey boasts numerous boutiques, shops, eateries and other metropolitan fare like cinemas, theatres, and bars. The historical old town invites you to wander and explore its interconnecting alleyways and alcoves. The Market Place doubles as an open-air car park during the week, but is bustling with colourful stands selling anything from vegetables to bric-a-brac every Saturday over the summer. A traditional atmosphere prevails with music, local costumes and wine-tasting. The Street Artists’ Festival with its hundreds of street performers delights the crowds in the cobbled streets of Vevey Old Town in August.
Vevey is beautiful in every season. You can stroll along the lakefront and watch white swans with an ice-cream in summer, and sip mulled wine under the awnings of the Market Square in winter. The town boasts golf courses, cooking and chocolate-making lessons, and the fascinating Swiss Games Museum. The “Train des Vignes” (Vine train) connects the town with various local vineyards, and the “Train des Etoiles” (Star train) takes visitors to Les Pleiades (1360 m) for magnificent views of the area.
Montreux lies a short distance from Vevey. It is breathtakingly rich in natural beauty. Exotic plants and trees seem to spring out of nowhere. Its temperate climate and quality of life attracted the first wave of international visitors around 200 years ago. Wealthy Europeans, especially the English, were seduced by descriptions of Montreux and its castle in Lord Byron’s, “Le Prisonnier de Chillon” (1816). Together with “La Nouvelle Héloïse” (1761), by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, these books caused people to flock to the region.
Today, Montreux still attracts wealthy tourists, many of whom stay at the Montreux Palace, a luxury 5 star hotel built in 1837. Since 1967, Montreux has been host to one of the biggest music gatherings on the Swiss cultural calendar, the annual Montreux Jazz Festival. The line-up always includes a host of international stars, as well as young, up-and-coming artists. During the festival, the town comes alive with open-air food stalls, arts and crafts markets, and of course, live music. In winter, the Montreux Christmas Market has become of central Europe’s “must-see” destinations.
Vidéo: ©Office du Tourisme du Canton de Vaud 2013, Tous droits réservés
Vineyard: ©Montreux-Vevey Tourisme, Tous droits réservés
Castle: ©www.chillon.ch, Tous droits réservés
Further details and advice can be found at local tourist information offices.