Switzerland is a highly desirable place to live. Who hasn’t dreamed of living in a cozy Alpine chalet or an elegant apartment overlooking a mirror-calm lake? The attractions of high living standards, low crime, and fantastic infrastructure aren’t to be sneezed at either.
Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons and is a great place for hiking and skiing.
In Western Switzerland you are never far from lakes, mountains, or both. This is the French-speaking part of the country: la Suisse.
You’ll quickly realize that German-speaking Switzerland doesn’t have the monopoly on cowbells…needle-spired churches…or Alpine chalets brimming with window boxes of geraniums.
A skier’s playground in winter, Villars-sur-Ollon in Vaud Canton is part of the Alpes Vaudoises and is linked to the glacier skiing at Les Diablerets. The surrounding area, which includes the villages of Gryon, Chesnieres, and Barboleuse, boasts a number of ski lifts serving over 70 miles of pistes. It’s a charming village—very low-key—with alluring views of the jagged teeth of the Dents du Midi range.
Lac Leman (often wrongly called Lake Geneva) is tagged “the Swiss Riviera.” Summers are Riviera-like with warm weather. Winters can be quite mild.
Deep blue-green, dotted with sailboats, Lac Leman suggests Swan Lake come to life. It’s spellbinding to watch these graceful birds, especially the swans that patrol the looking-glass waters under medieval Chillon Castle. In summer, numerous ferries ply between the lakeside villages and the elegant cities of Geneva and Lausanne.
Vladimir Nabokov, Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, and Freddie Mercury—all owned homes in Montreux and neighboring Vevey. Ambling the Quai des Fleurs, a lakeside promenade between these neighboring towns, it’s easy to understand why. You’d never tire of the panorama of lakes, Alpine pinnacles, and twinkling villages. And within a half-hour, you can be high in the mountains. It’s fabulous in spring when the upper meadows become a blooming mass of narcissi.
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