Lake Geneva region has no shortage of things to keep you happy this weekend despite mixed weather
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The weather forecast for the Lake Geneva region, and for the rest of Switzerland, is mixed, with lows of 5C and highs of 12-13C for the next three days, and rain alternating with some sunshine. Take an umbrella if you’re going out. Better yet, take advantage of the many events going on indoors in the region. Top of the pick:
Area gardens are coming to life
Schilliger Garden Centre in Gland is presenting its Jardins du Monde, a series of specially designed theme gardens that take you from the tropics to the Alps.
They are beautiful to walk through but even better for avid gardeners because a series of how-to sessions are organized for Saturday (08:00-18:00) and Sunday (09:00-17:00).
A bonus is that the center’s enormous hothouse is open to the public this weekend.
Schilliger grows most of its own plants, rather than importing them other climate areas and the greenhouse is a treasure chest worth viewing.
Check ahead for times of guided tours.
Morges Tulip Festival
The annual month-long tulip festival at the Parc de l’Independence in Morges is underway, and it has warmed up enough for the flowers to stand tall. This is a must-see for gardeners and anyone with visiting grannies or small children. A beautiful park, dressed to the nines for spring, on the lakefront in the city centre.
Cinema, a tried and true way to beat the rain
Visions du Réel film festival in Nyon
Nyon is growing in stature in part because of its documentary film festival, Visions du Réel, which kicks off officially Friday night 20 April and runs until 27 April.
The programme is a rich mix, in terms of style and cultures.
The shows are popular, entrance CHF15 or CHF35 for a daily card, with special rates if you want to go all week.
Arvinis, the wine season opener
The new 2011 vintages are out, although some are not yet even bottled, but they are available for sampling this weekend at Arvinis. The wine fair that opens the tasting season attracts some 20,000 people a year and the first two nights showed this year is no exception.
Arvinis runs from 18-23 April and offers wine-lovers 230 stands. The system is simple: you pay CHF30 to enter, are given a glass and you are free to wander around and try what you like. Don’t lose your glass!
Tips from GenevaLunch to make it an enjoyable learning experience
The guest of honour this year is Swiss Wine Promotion, which has a stand for each of the country’s six wine regions. These wines are to the left, shortly after the entrance.
Ed. note: visit EllensWineWorld on Facebook for wine notes for 25 white wines sampled at Arvinis (currently adding them), including several from the guest of honour; a series of tasting notes for red wines will be published Saturday.
Plan ahead and check the list of wine producers and other exhibitors, then match the ones you want to visit against the map of the stands.
There is still space at some of the special events, which vary in price and length. GenevaLunch editor and Swiss wine specialist Ellen Wallace is giving a class Friday evening, Introduction to wine-tasting, in English (2 spaces left as we publish).
For first-tme visitors, here is a mini-guide to Arvinis:
Transport, parking: Take public transport, to avoid drink/driving problems, but also because there is little parking next to Arvinis. The large public parking area at the entrance to Morges, coming from Geneva, is the best place to leave your car if you do drive.
Fee, tasting glass: CHF30, Visa, Masters credit cards accepted and PostFinance card
Hours: Open from 11:00 Saturday and Sunday, from 16:00 Monday, closes at 22:00 every evening except Sunday, 20:00
Children, animals: Children under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No animals allowed.
Ordering wine: This is a commercial wine fair and producers will happily take your orders for delivery later. Many of them ship via the post office, at little or no cost depending on quantity. But the main goal of wine producers at Arvinis is to introduce their wines to you and help you learn about them.
Feel free to ask as many questions as you like and don’t be afraid to show that you’re not an expert.
For those whose French is weak, this is the perfect opportunity to perfect it, but a number of the wine producers speak English – just ask!