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Old 16.04.2008, 05:24
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French speaking city near Zurich

Hi all,

My wife and I will be relocating to Switzerland on a two year assignment with my company. Headquarters is in Zurich and the company will pay for housing of my choice within reason (approx 5,000 CHF / month).

My wife and I both speak French (no German) and think we would be more comfortable in a French speaking part of Switzerland, both from a language and cultural perspective. My guess is I could work from home two days a week and would be expected in Zurich the other 3 days. I'd also be traveling throughout Europe.

Does anyone have recommendations on French speaking cities that are still commutable to Zurich where we might reside? I should mention our children are grown, we both just turned 50, and are more interested in skiing and the outdoors than nightlife. We're American and will have a dollar based salary so finding a slightly less expensive city than Zurich would also be nice.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 16.04.2008, 06:41
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Re: French speaking city near Zurich

you might want to look at a language map of switzerland. there are no french speaking cities near zurich.
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Old 16.04.2008, 06:47
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Re: French speaking city near Zurich

Biel/Bienne is about an hour or so from Zurich and there are direct trains. It's pretty much bilingual. It's probably your best bet with a French speaking place.

Neuchatel might also be an option.
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Old 16.04.2008, 06:57
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Re: French speaking city near Zurich

Fribourg could also be a choice: it is 1h15 with direct trains going pretty often.

It is a nice little city and chepaer than zurich BUT you should also check taxes etc as each city/canton has their own tax rate so lower cost of living in a higher tax canton does not necessarily mean more money in your pocket at the end of the month

Cheers,
C
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Old 16.04.2008, 09:40
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Re: French speaking city near Zurich

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Hi all,

My wife and I will be relocating to Switzerland on a two year assignment with my company. Headquarters is in Zurich and the company will pay for housing of my choice within reason (approx 5,000 CHF / month).

[snip]

We're American and will have a dollar based salary so finding a slightly less expensive city than Zurich would also be nice.

Thanks for any help.
If the company is willing to cough up five grand a month for housing, I'm sure your salary will be more than enough to live on in style even in Zurich, even if dollar-based.
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Old 16.04.2008, 09:45
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Re: French speaking city near Zurich

Basel is at the border to France and about an hour from Zurich. While the Basel Swiss german is one of the ugliest dialects (along with Sankt Galler dialekt) - some could perceive it as cute , many people speak French there and you can cross the border in no time. I would bite the bullet and come to Zurich though...
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Old 16.04.2008, 10:02
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Re: French speaking city near Zurich

I say that Biel/Bienne is your best choice since it is only one
hour away by train from Zürich.

Most people in Zürich speak a high level of English, and I don't
know why you would be uncomfortable. There are many expats
in the area so English is fairly prevalent.
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Old 16.04.2008, 14:52
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Re: French speaking city near Zurich

Thank you all for your advice. I should probably have added that my wife and I are from a small US town, which is why we think Zurich may be a bit "too much" for us, even putting aside the the fact that we speak French but not German. Also, while our housing allowance is quite generous, my US dollar based salary looks small indeed against the food, clothing, and hotel costs I've seen posted. Hence the desire to also be in a locale perhaps a bit less expensive than Zurich.

All that being said, Biel, Fribourg, and Neuchatel appear to be good choices. Are there any obvious differences among the three cities? I've googled all three but don't have much of a feel for how life in each of them differs from one another.

Thanks again for your advice.
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Old 16.04.2008, 15:35
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Re: French speaking city near Zurich

Biel is a nice little city situated on a lake, but the fastest
connection is 1 hour 11 minutes. You can check this
out on www.sbb.ch. You can even add your exact
address, and you can get a door-to-door time. Additionally,
the cost of commuting will be about 220 CHF per month.

Zürich is 350,000, but there are many nice villages
20 minutes outside of Zürich.

Thalwil, Horgen, Dubendorf, Adliswil are all about 20 minutes
to Zürich, and there are very strong expat communities although
not French speaking.
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Old 16.04.2008, 15:36
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Re: French speaking city near Zurich

Biel is a nice little city situated on a lake, but the fastest
connection is 1 hour 11 minutes. You can check this
out on www.sbb.ch. You can even add your exact
address, and you can get a door-to-door time. Additionally,
the cost of commuting will be about 220 CHF per month.

Zürich is 350,000, but there are many nice villages
20 minutes outside of Zürich.

Thalwil, Horgen, Dubendorf, Adliswil are all about 20 minutes
to Zürich, and there are very strong expat communities although
not French speaking.

Cheers,
Grant
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