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Old 12.02.2011, 00:04
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Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

We have found housing that appears interesting in the three towns listed above. I am really struggling with thinking about pros and cons and am hoping to get some advice. We are hoping the kids will go to Haut-Lac but won't know until later in the Spring. Champittet is presently our second choice. My husband is working in Lausanne and we hope to get by with just one car. We also intend to be here for 3 years. We will be moving there as a family in July, but he is already on site so we could commit to something anytime between March and July.

Lausanne is an apartment near St. Francis, but with no parking. However, there is a parking garage where we could rent a space about 2 min. away. I am told the kids (presently 11, 9 and 6) should be able to safely take the train to Vevey when I am unable to drive them, because things are so safe in Switzerland. Would be fun to be in the midst of Lausanne, but will it be too loud and a hassle with the car? Will it get too hot in the summer? Is it a hassle having to do everything on foot?

St. Legier is a great house with a yard. Our two cats could go outside (like they do here when we don't have 2 ft of snow!). Parking will not be an issue. We will be walking distance to Haut-Lac (assuming we get in). Is it too isolated and small of a village? Do they have amenities within the village, or do all errands have to be done in Vevey? Are there any expats who live there that can give me some first-hand information?

Pully seems to be a mix of the two but we technically have not seen it yet. Looks good on paper but they have not posted any photos of the inside (possible red-flag). It is a house with a yard but somewhat close to amenities. Would require the kids be driven to HL every day and a long walk to work for hubbie. Is this a possible good mix of the two (close to Lausanne but not too small) or lacks a little of both (not lively like Lausanne and no real space to talk of like in St. Legier).

My concerns are to feel part of a community, which I assume will largely be generated by the school and the expat community. Not that we want to rule out the locals - my husband is French and I am also fluent - but that seems less likely.

Any thoughts/personal experiences/etc. that you could share would be most appreciated!
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Old 12.02.2011, 08:45
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

mistrale,
Hi and welcome to the forum
Hope you have a smooth trip here and that you'll enjoy it.

Let's start with the positive.
1) you both speak French. This will help you immensely. You can pick any place you want because even if you select the countryside (St Légier) you'll be able to communicate with the locals.
2) the whole region around St Légier called the Lavaux, is breath-takingly beautiful. It's all on a hill with a fabulous view of Lac Léman. It has been recently classified as "Patrimoine de l'humanité" by the UNESCO. It's small and most shopping can be done in Vevey (10 minutes away by car)
3) Pully is considered the residential suburb of Lausanne, though they're stuck together so you don't even realize when you've actually crossed from Lausanne to Pully. Housing is usually rather nice there. The distance to the center of Lausanne by bus or car is 5 to 10 minutes.
4) Lausanne is quiet, even at night. It's beautiful and quaint and you'll find everything you need in the center of town.
5) It's rarely too hot here. For yearly temperatures think of New England perhaps ?

Now the negative points:
1) Safe is as safe does.. Lausanne is a large city with a large train station and I wouldn't let kids the age of yours take the train to Vevey. No way.
You shouldn't have an issue though because most private schools have a private school bus system.
2) Yup, it's a hassle to be on foot in the center of Lausanne. 3 kids and Mom carrying bags of groceries from one shop to the next ? Getting a car for yourself, if possible, will be a priority, regardless of where you live. St Légier would be tough without one (the bus service is not so frequent, circa 1x an hour, versus every 10 min in Lausanne and Pully).
3) There's housing shortage in the region. Though you shouldn't have too much difficulty as you're probably supported by relocation services, you might not have a choice in regards to where you'd like to live. It's a real issue, so if there's a place you like, and your husband visits it, take it (no kidding, some places can be rented out in 1 afternoon).

I would suggest that you concentrate on the schooling first, housing next, comfort, distance etc last. There are waiting lists for private schools as there are many expat families. Try several. Have your husband visit them and get an appointment and get on the list. The fact that you have 3 is in your favor. Don't only try Lausanne, also try Vevey (as you did) and the region going towards Geneva. (Nyon etc, still the canton of Vaud)
You'll find more info here:

http://www.swiss-schools.ch/index.php?language=en
http://www.avdep.ch/
http://www.agep.ch/eng/index.php

Once you get the school squared away, then pick a place to live close by.
The rest will fall into place

Hope it works out for you
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Old 12.02.2011, 08:57
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Sky - thanks so much for your post. It was quite helpful. Kids have been accepted at Champittet and are on the wait list for Haut-Lac and ISL. Don't expect ISL to really be an option from what I have understood with wait lists and all. We won't know more about Haut-Lac until the end of March when current students must declare if they are returning next year. Unfortunately HL does not provide transportation, but Champittet does. As for the train, I appreciate you sharing that with me. I have been told by a few people "no problem" but didn't really feel at ease about it. As for the car, the plan is for it to be used primarily by me - on rare occassions by hubbie so would like to have access to public transportation so that I/we have options.
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Old 12.02.2011, 09:09
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Champittet is just on the border between Lausanne or Pully, so you'll be comfy with one or the other.
Champittet has good press, so why would you want to change to ISL or HL (they're all equal really).
Public transportation from Pully or in Lausanne, for your husband won't be an issue at all. the bus system and the metro offer good timely services.

I don't like the train station in the evening, so as a mama, I would not be comfortable (but that's just me).
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Old 24.02.2011, 18:48
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Exceptionally, I will (marginally only) disagree with my dear Sky.

St. Légier is breathtaking - and it feels like a picture. I mean it litterally. You need to be dead to have fun there, there is nothing, and Vevey - shopping-wise - is a nightmare. Of course, you have a supermarket, and a shopping mall with a grand-total of 10 shops. Given a choice at all, I'd run away from Vevey faster than the time it takes to say it. Unless of course you work for the chocolate-makers...

Lausanne on feet can be done - although I fully concur with the bad points noted by Sky. Safety-wise, it is fine; my own daughter has been going around on her own since her 8 yrs old, and since she was 10 she has also been using the bus to Lausanne (we live in Pully). Pully is indeed minutes from Lausanne (I live in Pully south, and frequently walk to Lausanne center on a nice day), but enjoys better schools, better air and a lower tax rate. It also have a lot of expats resident.

I've heard nice things about both Champittet and Ecole Nouvelle; less on ISL, but nothing very precise. Personally, we've made the choice of the public schools, and couldn't be happier (10 yrs later).
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Old 24.02.2011, 19:08
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

There are buses in both Lausanne & Pully so "on foot" doesn't have to be taken literally. I'm sure your husband will be able to walk to the bus or train in Pully in less time then he walks all the way to work.

With no car, I would absolutely not live in St. Legier.

Personally, I'd take the apartment in St Francois. But it seems we are a bit late on the uptake and you have made your decision or find yourself with 3 new options.
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Old 24.02.2011, 20:48
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

I agree with Sky. One thing you need to do when you think about Switzerland is learn to shrink distances and your definition of city, town, village.

All the places you mention are within 15 -20 mins mins drive of each other. So temperature-wise they will be be equally hot in Summer. Or equally not, depending on the weather.
Lausanne is a small town not a city as many would define a city. Pully is Lausanne and St. Légier is a tiny village on the outskirts of Vevey which is separated from Pully only by a 12 mile stretch of empty vineyards. All in all they range from quiet (Lausanne), to peaceful (Pully,) to dead (St. Légier). Ratchet that down a notch or two in Winter, but then all three have fabulous access to the mountains and skiing.
Transport-wise without a car St. Légier might be inconvenient but that's inconvenient by Swiss standards - 10 mins to Vevey by train and 30 mins to Lausanne via Vevey with trains running every 30 mins. Then there are the buses.
Vevey might be quiet but it's really nice by the lake in Summer and all the conveniences are there. Believe me if you live in St. Légier, Vevey wil seem busy.
If you want town, personally I would go for the extra space in Pully vs apartment in St. Francois. If you want space and magnificent views and can put up with a 10 min trip to decent shops, I'd go for St. Légier.
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Old 24.02.2011, 21:21
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Hi and welcome to Vaud. With all due respect, you appear to be putting the cart before the horse, if I read your post correctly. The items you see online today that are available right now will almost assuredly no longer be available in a month or 6 weeks or whatever. Unless there is something horrifically wrong with them, they will be gone by the time you get here to start househunting.

I may be confused about your timeline. Are you here now looking at these places in person? If you are, my apologies! If you are still in the US doing research online, just be forewarned that the housing you are looking at today will probably be rented. Most housing here is rented within one or two days of being listed.
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Old 24.02.2011, 22:11
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Actually, the answer is both! The kids and I are still in the US. Husband is already in Switzerland and has personally seen all 3 choices. I got to see the choice in St. Legier when I was there. We did decide to eliminate Lausanne center (St. Francois). Most likely will miss out on the other two choices, but really need to decide/hear about schooling first (which should be within the next few weeks).

I love hearing the viewpoint of others, so keep them coming! Helps me to think outside of my own 'box', especially since it has been a while since I have lived in a European city (and then, with only 1 young child, not 3 slightly older ones!).
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Old 26.02.2011, 10:14
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

I am so sorry Longbyt... didn't mean at all to post an ad!

Anyway, I think The Spouse is right. The speed of real estate here is quite impressive, it looks like apartments and houses (worth millions...) are flying off the shelves. Once you find one - then you need to deposit your request on a waiting list!!! - then they do a background check, and according to that, they will give the lodging to the first one on the list. So - once you see something you like, one should RUN RUN RUN to deposit the request, usually at the real estate agent place; often, people deposit the request for all apartments they even only remotely like. A form to fill for the request is usually available... but it is advisable to add to it: a motivation letter (including an "extrait du registre des poursuites", salary certificate, personal references), and some even add a CV. yeah, yeah, I know. So before you really start looking for an apartment, have all this ready to send - otherwise you really risk seeing your dream apartment or house disappear under your very eyes!

BTW, you may enjoy this little video on Vaud... it gives a good idea how - small! it all is. the last 5 minutes are a video of the center of Lausanne... day, night and so on... http://www.suisse-romande.com/tour-d...ud-suisse.html
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Old 09.03.2011, 02:36
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Hi Mistrale,
Have your children been accepted to a school? Any luck with an apartment? I'd be curious to hear more about Haut Lac from any of the forum readers too. We are in the same process so this thread is helpful
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Old 09.03.2011, 07:15
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Hi,

Considering the school your children will be going to and that your husband is going to work in Lausanne.

I would suggest

Pully
Lutry
Belmont
La Croix Sur Lutry

All really nice area's with other children in the area and great public transport options....

Good luck with finding a place
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Old 09.03.2011, 14:28
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Where do things stand?

Well, the kids were accepted at Champittet and are waitlisted at Haut Lac. Due to the following reasons, we have decided to commit to Champittet...
1. They are already accepted and all the 'unknowns' and decisions surrounding the move are really starting to weigh on me.
2. It is a less transitory school than Haut-Lac.
3. More Swiss and therefore meeting more locals. School has said it is 80% swiss and 20% international.
4. More focus on French.
5. Willing to take all 3 kids, whereas HL was uncertain about our youngest (he has some delays and we are looking to provide him with an aid in the classroom, for which we would finance).
6. Nicer facilities.
7. We have been told by a number of different people that Champittet is in a transition time right now, moving more towards an international curriculum and manner of involvement (ie room parents, more communication with parents, etc.). I am hopeful that we will be joining something that is really on the 'upswing'.

As for housing, we are still painfully undecided. Living in an apt. in Lausanne is no longer in consideration. Don't think St. Legier is on the table anymore either since we are now commiting to Champittet located in Pully. Right now hubbie is feeling optimistic about 2 things in the Pully area and a place in Chexbres. I will let you know when it is decided!
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Old 09.03.2011, 15:34
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

if you have already decided on champittet, i would focus your search on pully and lutry. there is a much greater chance your kids will meet other english speaking kids and that you will make friends easier as well. you are much more likely to meet people in your same situation in pully and lutry than you will in st legier. if you are from connecticut, the countryside, than it's true that lausanne may be a bit more of a city than you are looking for while pully can be a more suburban, expat area. you'll enjoy begin close to the lake, so will your kids and feel free to contact me when you arrive- there are plenty of english speaking kiddos around to have playdates with! good luck!
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Old 23.04.2011, 17:02
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Just wanted to let everyone know that we have finally made a decision regarding housing! We will be living in Paudex (between Pully and Lutry). The house appears able to meet our needs and we have already met a neighbor (Swiss) who has 2 girls that are the same age as our oldest and youngest. They are extremely friendly and welcoming. And the proverbial icing on the cake is that we will be very close to the water which we are all excited about!
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Old 23.04.2011, 17:20
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Thanks for coming back to tell us. We look forward to hearing more from you later! Good luck with the moving. I hope it all goes smoothly.
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Old 24.04.2011, 07:29
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Great location, between Lutry and Pully, and served by bus line 8 and 9 to get into Lausanne efficiently.

Get to know Cully, and, the walks in the Lavaux vineyards starting just east of Lutry.

And there is a cute little beach (la plage) in Paudex.

Bonne chance.

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Old 25.04.2011, 02:36
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Thanks for the tips Tiny! I'm excited to say that we will be right behind that 'plage'. Am planning on buying ping pong paddles for the table tennis. And no, we will not be in one of the mansions!
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Old 25.04.2011, 03:27
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

hello, I am moving to the Lausanne area and am considering schools for my 13 year old. I am a little worried to get him into a great school. Do you have advice? We does not speak French yet.... Is there a reason you picked these schools? I always prefer private, but do you have a recomendation about the public schools there too?
PS (I lived in Pully as a child and remember it as beautiful)
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Old 25.04.2011, 03:28
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Re: Lausanne/St. Legier/Pully - where to live?!?

Sorry, We DO not speak French, not "we does not" - uhg
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