What’s on – long weekend starts for Geneva

Sous la tente © Anne-Christine Wanders

Under the tent at Le Livre sur les Quais in Morges (photo © Anne-Christine Wanders)

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Thursday 5 September is the Jeûne genevois, a holiday that for much of the city signifies a four-day weekend. The rest of Switzerland has a similar holiday, the Jeûne fédéral, Monday 16 September.

Weather forecast

I’m posting what’s on for the weekend a bit early because of the long weekend in Geneva, but also because this is a weekend rich in activities. And the weather people are promising us fine summer-like weather, with sunny skies and 14-28C temperatures in Geneva and Zurich, slightly cooler during the day in Lausanne and the Swiss Alps.

The Swiss “Jeûne” holidays

There is some disagreement about the start of Geneva’s separate holiday, but you’ll find a good explanation for the day and its trimmings, including plum tarts, in our Geneva Living section. If you haven’t worked it out by now, the word means fasting, not youth.

Banks and businesses are generally closed throughout Switzerland for the 16 September holiday, although in canton Valais shops tend to stay open. Traditionally, the Swiss fasted for the Jeûne Fédéral, leaving food until evening. Today it is often a long weekend celebrated with family and friends, which means a lot of people on the move: expect roads throughout Switzerland to be busy Friday 13 from 15:00 on, for the federal long weekend.

Early September: national wine fair, European golf, literary bonanza


Vinea, a wonderful way to learn about Swiss wines

Three big events and scores of smaller ones are on this weekend. Morges in Vaud is home to Le Livre sur les Quais, 6-9 September, where 40,000 people are expected for an everything-literary weekend. Sierre in canton Valais is holding its annual Vinea Swiss wines fair, also 6-8, one of the most important wine events of the year for the general public.

And nearby, up in the resort of Crans-Montana, the Omega European Masters golf tournament runs from 5 to 8 September, where 60,000 people will watch some of the world’s best golfers.

Omega European Masters: Tickets range from CHF50 to 160 and with beautiful mountain weather in store, this is a great chance to watch superb golf.

Le Livre sur les Quais: Morges is a beautiful little Swiss town of under 20,000, famous for its spring tulip festival and its dahlias along the lakefront in summer. This is the fourth year for this literary event, which boasts 300 authors this year.

Foule au Livre sur les quais © Michel Barraud

Foule au Livre sur les quais © Michel Barraud

Much is in French, but the English-language and literary programme is rich, the organizers tell me, with:

“readings, discussions, literary encounters, film screening and even cruises. Morges has a selection of cafes, restaurants, and historical buildings, a lovely place to visit and spend a day.

This year we have a fabulous list of authors, including an impressive selection from the English speaking world. Literary stars Douglas Kennedy, Colum McCann, David Vann, Roger Ellory and Victoria Hislop will rub shoulders with the festival president Tatiana de Rosnay, Amélie Nothomb, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Andrei Kourkov and Luc Ferry, and with a whole host of writers of literary and crime fiction, young adult fiction, and many other genres.

Every day there will be a selection of dedicated events in English, including a discussion and screening of the film of “The Boy in Striped Pyjamas” in the presence of the author, John Boyne on Saturday, 7 September at 19:00.

During three days from Friday to Saturday and Sunday there are consecutive events in English. On Friday we have Colum McCann (longlisted for the Booker) talking about his latest novel in a bilingual event at 16:00. The whole programme is available online under the section – English programme.

Events are organized all over Morges in museums, hotels, and a large marquee. There are events for kids, for young adults and for families.There will also be a boat coming from Geneva on Sunday morning with an English speaking event coming organised by the Geneva Wriers’ Group. Cost of the cruise in CHF10. Entry is free of charge. Access to Morges is easy by train from Geneva and Lausanne, and car by autoroute A1. Or by a literary boat from Geneva. The festival programme is now available online www.lelivresurlesquais.ch.”

Vinea is one of the most delightful ways to learn about Swiss wines, an important part of the economy, but if you’ve ever taken the train in Switzerland you’ll undoubtedly have admired the role of vineyards in the landscape, too. This is the 20th anniversary of the fair, which sparked a number of other, more local events, including the cantonal wine open days. This year Vinea has re-designed the layout and put more emphasis on food and wine pairings.

I’ll be covering the wine fair starting Thursday evening, so expect more details here.

Our Events.GenevaLunch.com sister site lists dozens of events and we’ll be adding quite a few more in the next few days, so you won’t be short of ideas for fun and interesting things to do this weekend.