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Lake Geneva Region : the ideal location in Europe to tackle the European market

As the map herebelow clearly shows, the Lake Geneva Region is at the geographic center of the major European markets. An ideal location indeed to conquer the affluent markets all around, not to mention the fabulous natural environment of the Lake of Geneva, beautifully nested between the Alps and the Jura mountains.

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Even though a small territory in size, it offers a richness of wonders rarely seen anywhere else in the world, both in terms of touristic and economic appeal.

The Swiss economy is known for having excellent performance levels. Highly specialised enterprises with first rate qualifications, international groups, very liberal politics, a stable purchasing power (notably due to rates of inflation that are among the lowest in the world) and capital at relatively low cost all guarantee companies a fair level of prosperity.

Western Switzerland offers, in addition to a favourable general context, considerable advantages in matters of law, taxes, communication, know-how and mentality of the manpower.

The fact that Switzerland is not part of the European Union is by no means a concern since numerous treaties and bilateral agreements have been signed with the members of the European Union or with other countries in the world. Besides, there is always the possibility to stradle the border with a foot in each territory.

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Moreover, Lake Geneva Region gathers the presence and know-how of world-renowned actors active in such fields as:

  • banking 
  • finance
  • chemistry
  • medicine
  • pharmaceuticals
  • biotechnology
  • food
  • telecommunications
  • technologies in general
  • industrial equipment
  • micro- and nanotechnologies
  • watch-making

The particular stability of the country and the welcome conditions reserved for enterprises have naturally incited many multinational companies to establish themselves in Western Switzerland once they have analysed the alternatives. Some of the major groups of the world have been active here for years and this trend is increasing with European enterprises that choose, in 57 % of the cases, to relocate their headquarters in Switzerland.

Currently, they have all chosen Western Switzerland for access to world markets, services, products and knowledge of proximity that foster their activities. In this open, liberal and competitive quality environment, Lake Geneva Region welcomes several company headquarters such as:

  • Alcan
  • Alcoa Europe
  • Cartier
  • Celgene
  • Cemex
  • Ciba
  • Cisco
  • Du Pont de Nemours
  • EBay International
  • Givaudan
  • Logitech
  • Lonza
  • Merisant
  • Michelin
  • Nestlé
  • Novartis
  • Owen Illinois
  • Philip Morris
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Merck Serono
  • Rolex
  • Sunstar
  • Tetra Laval International
  • Tupperware
  • UPS Supply Chain Solutions, and many more.... 


Besides, as another evidence of its attractivity, Lake Geneva Region accommodates numerous international and non-governmental organisations whose mission resides in designing the future of humanity. In addition to the United Nations, the region has the biggest organisations related to:

The contributions of international organisations are important. Among the major advantages one can name:

  • infrastructures
  • international presence
  • stability and security
  • information (statistics, analysis, etc.)
  • scientific and industrial return, technological gains (access to particular components, for example, training of researchers)
  • cultural diversity

For instance, the investment per inhabitant in telecommunications equipment is the highest in the world.
In spite of a complex topography, connections by rail, road and air are among the most developed in the world (71,277 km of roads, 5,100 km of railways, 1,640 km of motorways, 180 km of tramways and 65 km of waterways).

Motorway and railroad systems cross the swiss cantons, as well as nearby French departements and allow rapid access to the international airports of Geneva and Lyon, as well as to nearby European airports. The big hubs of the continent can thus be reached rapidly. Moreover, the region also has about ten airports that can accommodate business jets and private aeroplanes.

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Lake Geneva Region is linked to the European network of high-speed trains (TGV, ICE, Cisalpino, Thalys, etc.), enabling numerous connections with surrounding countries:

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Luxembourg
  • The Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Spain
  • The Czech Republic
  • Hungary

In the region the trains are reputed for their punctuality and link all the Swiss cities on journeys that last, on average, less than two hours, while Paris is a mere 3 hours ride from Geneva.

A particularity of Western Switzerland and the country are the free ports (17 entities spread all over Switzerland). Situated near the major highways and borders, these logistic centres are kept for goods that transit through Switzerland and do not need to comply with the free zone’s entrance and exit formalities.

The Swiss Post offers one of the densest and most efficient European networks.

Another key element of the region's attractivity lies with its excellent offer of private and international schools.

Lake Geneva Region is a privileged location for all those who wish to receive a first class education. The region indeed accommodates the biggest concentration of private schools in the world, reflecting the multicultural and multilingual context that characterises it. Thus, in Geneva alone there are 1.37 international schools for 100,000 inhabitants, ahead of Brussels (1.10) or Singapore (0.21).

These institutes dispense special schooling or complete education up to university levels in most languages. Some of them are world renowned for the exclusive education they dispense in general culture, the hotel business or in yet other fields.

Furthermore, certain private schools are reserved for children of expatriates who can profit from their short or medium-term mandates to offer their children a good education, adapted to the exams they will have to pass in their home country. In an international comparison, the schooling of most of these establishments offers an unmatched quality-price ratio (e.g. schooling expenses of 15,061 US$ in the English primary schools).


And yet, all this is even reinforced by the outstanding natural beauty of the region, with such world renowned spots as:

* Geneva's lake
* Mont-Blanc, Europe's highest mountain.
* Chamonix, world capital of alpinism
* Annecy and its lake of pure water
* The Lavaux area, named at the UNESCO World Heritage
* and so much more.....  

A point worth to be pinpointed by non European companies eager to set up European headquarters: In Lake Geneva Region, you can benefit from the better of 2 worlds:

Attractiveness of a Swiss business friendly environment coupled with back office location in France's close territories, that offer access to the huge European market; as well as some specific advantages on the French side such as Research Tax Credit which favors installation of companies which devote large amounts to research, especially valid for high  business.

I have travelled the world over, and lived many years in Asia; Yet I can tell you, ther is no other place in the world like our Lake Geneva Region. It's definitely worth your visit, as a business man, or as a  tourist. That is why I hope I will have convinced you of the interest to look favourably at our region as the next place you want to be. For those interested, you can reach me by mail to get some key addresses for further investment information

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An example of the "nice" behaviour of France & England towards China

China collateral victim of the annexation of Savoy by France, in 1860?


1860 is a very sad year for Savoy. In that year, the Savoyards lost their independence and became French against their will. Through a series of occult maneuvers (secret negotiations of Plombieres* between Napoleon III and Cavour in 1858 to set the terms of the annexation), and dirty tricks (shamelessly rigged plebiscites in April 1860 validating the annexation of Savoy to France).  1860 was also a disastrous year for China.  In that year China was the victim of unspeakable abuse, perpetrated by the governments of two of the great powers of the time: France and Great Britain. 1860 ended with the sack and destruction of the Imperial Summer Palace near Beijing, one of the great jewels of humanity.  What is the relationship between the two events, except the year? I'll make an assumption that seems justified, but that needs to be researched and confirmed. If among the readers of this article, there are people who have information about these events, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Preparations for the Franco-British expedition of 1860.
An expeditionary force of 20,000 men was sent to China (12 000 Anglo-Indians and 8000 French).  To send its 8,000 men to China, France had to put together up a huge and costly logistics (13 warships, 100 transports). Men and ships left France in December 1859. On the British side, the expedition was much simpler and less costly as almost the entire expeditionary force came from the British colonies in India.


Why did the British mount this operation?
China represented a captive market, very important and very profitable for the British, where they could sell huge quantities of opium grown in India. England was then a narco-trafficking state, and intended to defend its economic interests regardless of the havoc that opium wrecked on the Chinese population.

How did this happen? Why did Britain use all means available to force China to buy her poison? We must look back a few decades. Great-Britain, had been the dominant sea power since the 17th century, using this dominance to impose the British products wherever it could. China was different and could not be swayed.

The many trade delegations sent to the Emperor by the British to try to persuade or intimidate him to buy their products, were rejected every time. This stubbornness irritated the British as they imported a lot of products from China (particularly tea, silk, pearls, porcelain ...) and the Chinese government required payment in silver money.

The only commodity that the British managed to sell in China was opium. Opium was  grown in India (a British colony at the time). Opium was sold by a private company, the East Indian Company, protected by the British government. Initially, in the 1800s, opium returned in fraud, in relatively modest quantity. Then, little by little, the demand increased, the volumes grew and the business became very profitable. The British wanted to export freely (without restriction or limit) their poison. The Emperor of China was opposed to this trade, at first timidly and then more and more actively as the trade began to empty his coffers and make a growing number of his subjects dependent.


* Small spa town in the Eastern part of France, where Napoleon III used to go to treat his gout attacks

Finally the Emperor decided to ban all imports of opium into China and destroyed a shipment of opium in the port of Canton. That was enough for the British. They attacked China in 1830: the first Opium War.

China was not prepared to resist the British invasion. She was quickly defeated and forced to negotiate with the British narco-traffickers. China lost Hong Kong which became a British colony, had to open many Chinese ports to British ships, accept the free importation of opium, and pay very heavy war reparations to Great Britain.
This peace treaty imposed by Great Britain was resented by the Emperor of China, who tried not to apply it in all ways possible. This is what caused the second Opium War. The British blamed the Chinese for not respecting the agreements signed previously and, in 1860, decided to mount a punitive expedition. This time the British wanted to give a serious lesson to the Emperor of China and bring him to strictly enforce the confiscatory treaties previously signed.

We understand that for the British, China represented extremely important business and financial interests. It was not the case for France, which at the time had virtually no presence in this region.


Why did Napoleon III sent troops to participate in this distant expedition decided by the British?
The official argument was that he had to avenge the murder of two French Catholic missionaries, committed two years before. This was a very thin pretext to justify an operation of this magnitude: expensive, risky and far-away! We will see later what the real reasons which led Napoleon III to cozy up to the British for this shameful operation were.

Once again we quickly need to go back in history.
Following the disasters of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (Napoleon the First) which drenched Europe in blood for nearly 25 years, the victors (mainly the British, Austrians, Prussians, Russians) redrew the borders of Europe with the treaties of Paris [1814] and the Treaty of Vienna [1815].
Savoy, with the very active support of the British and Russians regained the autonomy it had before the French invasion of 1792: re-entering a greater Savoy “federation" which also included Piedmont, Nice, Sardinia, and newly Liguria, former Republic of Genoa.

The new configuration of Europe was designed and intended primarily to safeguard British interests. Britain made sure that no power was too strong and sought to minimize the nuisance power of France. This was to avoid any repetition of an attempted military hegemony of France over Europe. To do this, Britain set up new frontiers of France, using Britain’s friends: creation of the state of the Netherlands, then Belgium, overhaul of Switzerland (with new cantons such as Geneva , Neuchatel, Valais, Jura bishoprics being entrusted to the canton of Bern), State of Savoy. Thus France, on its northern borders, east and south, was surrounded by friendly countries and allies of the British, a kind of cordon sanitaire.

When Napoleon III came to power, he never stopped wanting to get rid of the Treaties of Paris and Vienna. To achieve his ends, he sought to break the power of the victors of 1815. Surely this was one of the reasons which led Napoleon III to be allied with the British and the Ottoman Empire against the Russians at the time of the Crimean War of 1856.


In doing so Napoleon III fuelled the rivalry between Russia and Britain, attracted the sympathy of the British and again became a power of his own. This rapprochement with the British was paid dearly by the blood of countless French, British, Russian and Ottoman soldiers who fell during the Crimean campaign (known from 200 to 300 000 deaths) particularly during the siege of Sevastopol and Malakoff.

As a price for his participation to the dirty Crimean war, Napoleon III thought he could now count on a benevolent neutrality from the British, which would enable him to act more as he pleased in Europe and regain some lost territory in 1815.


Napoleon III started implementing this strategy with Savoy and Nice: in 1858 he seeked to appropriate himself, without consulting the victors of Waterloo (Russia, Great Britain, Prussia, Austria) in violation of existing treaties. To achieve his ends, Napoleon III proposed to the Duke of Savoy (Victor Emmanuel II), in exchange for the cession of Savoy and Nice, to help militarily to create a Kingdom of Northern Italy (Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Veneto), expelling the Austrians from Lombardy and Veneto, territory that had been entrusted by the Treaty of Vienna in compensation for Austrian territories in Germany and ceded to Prussia. But things did not go as planned. The French military campaign against the Austrians in Lombardy turned to slaughter (battles of Solferino and Magenta). Napoleon III had to stop his offensive at the border of the Veneto region, because of very negative and hostile reactions of Prussia and England. Napoleon III tried to calm the British as he wanted to avoid at all costs another military alliance of Austria, Prussia and Great Britain against  him.

This is where I introduce an hypothesis which needs to be confirmed. I have read in an American or English book for which I unfortunately have lost the reference that Napoleon III would have found a way to mollify the British: making a large contingent of soldiers available for the operation that Britain was preparing against China. Indeed the British were desperately short of ground troops. Just while preparing this new war against China, a serious revolt had broken out in India, the first rebellion of Indian soldiers against the British masters: the Indian Mutiny, which was to be put down quickly to avoid a full Indian uprising. The proposal of Napoleon III arrived at the right time and was accepted by the British. Coincidentally, from that moment on, the British were much more accommodating and left the annexation of Savoy and Nice to be, without formally approving it ...


Conduct of the Anglo-French military campaign of 1860 in China.

The operation was to use military force to bend the Emperor of China’ will and oblige him to open his country to the opium trade under British monopoly. The Chinese army, although valiant, was poorly equipped compared to the Anglo-French. The Anglo-French quickly reached Beijing and to bend the Emperor’s will, they decided to strike a decisive blow by attacking the Summer Palace, one of the symbols of the power of the Emperor of China. The Summer Palace was looted and ransacked thoroughly for four days (October 6 to October 9, 1860).

The Anglo-French troops behaved like true barbarians of yesteryore: they scooped up the all treasures they could find, gold, precious stones, pearls, jade, silk, carvings, paintings, rare books, porcelain ... and what could not be stolen was smashed and destroyed. To complete this deed, the British decided (the French did not associate with this decision) to burn all that was still standing. The fire lasted for one week (October 18 to October 24, 1860) and necessitated the involvement of 2000 incendiaries, Anglo-Indian soldiers.


For the Chinese, the wound is still open, they consider this crime as inalienable. One can understand why: if a horde of barbarians had from afar and looted, ransacked and burned the castle of Versailles or the palace of Westminster before quietly returning home the French or the British would certainly remember it. Many stolen items are still in British and French museums and private collections. In Paris and Beijing in early 2009, much was made of the auction of two magnificent bronzes stolen from one of the pavilions of the Summer Palace: these pieces were part of the YSL-Berge collection up for auction at Christie's ...


The old Summer Palace was never rebuilt. It has become a place of pilgrimage, meditation and remembrance for the Chinese people. For them, the ruins illustrate the double standards of many Western governments, who claimed to be the defenders of civilization, while in fact destroying, ruining other civilizations without a moment’s hesitation.


What was the Summer Palace *?

Rather than the Summer Palace, it would be more accurate to speak of an Imperial city for the summer. Indeed it was a real city which stretched in a huge park of 25 to 30 square kilometers, about 3000 hectares. In this park were scattered over 200 houses and palaces, where the court and its guests lived for nearly nine months a year. The park is a huge garden, with rivers, ponds, hills, forests, created by the best architects and gardeners of the time.
This huge, beautiful complex had cost a fortune to the Empire, even more than Versailles to France. It was built over a period of 150 years which ended around 1760. All that was most beautiful and valuable in China could be found in the 200 houses. There were statues in gold and silver, decorations with jade beads. There were several pagodas, porcelain floors. There were beautiful fabrics, tapestries, silk carpets, porcelain vases of inestimable value. There was a library of over 10,000 works all more valuable than each other all were destroyed in the fire.

In conclusion:

The dictator Napoleon III trying to persuade the British to accept the annexation of Savoy to France, had not hesitation in participating to an ugly military campaign against one of the world’s most ancient and brilliant civilizations. I hope that this article (with others) will have shown the harm done by the unscrupulous and imperialist policies of France's Second Empire which claimed Savoy and China amongst other nations as their victims.

* called 'Yuanming Yuan' in Chinese, which means 'Garden of Perfect Brightness'.

This article is courtesy of my good friend, Bernard Fauvelais, whom I met in Hong Kong and who now lives in Annecy.

18:10 Publié dans Asie - Hong Kong - Thaïlande, English, Histoire, Loisirs | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | | | Digg! Digg | | |  Facebook


Welcome to Saint-Julien

Hello to everybody who is interested in our wonderful territory, located in between Geneva and Annecy, and the Jura and Saleve mountains, right in the center of Europe. In this blog, you will find information about what's going on here, as regards events and leisure activity. For those of you who wish to visit us, I have tried to help you discover things of interest which are available around Saint-Julien, my hometown.

Another purpose of the blog is to indicate what I like in life, whether it is music, cinema, books etc.... I think in this world where too much information kills information, it is nice to find shortcuts to what is really essential. On purpose, I did not wish to mention well known items, as you don't need me to know them, but rather to introduce unknown things which, in my opinion, deserve to be better known. Of course, it is not possible to please everybody all the time, but I hope that I will have helped some people to discover things that they would have never heard of otherwise.

Think of Johnny Halliday, for instance, who is a mega star in France: he is absolutely unknown outside the french speaking countries. As a matter of fact, I remember the South China Morning Post , the leading Hong Kong english paper, decribing him as "THE BIGGEST ROCK & ROLL STAR THE WORLD HAS NEVER HEARD OF". Yet, I believe he is worth listening to, as his voice is one of the best any singer ever had.

As for movies, I have listed only a small number of film, preferrably 10 years old or more, which, for one reason or another, deserve to be watched.

I apologize for the fact that most of the material present in the blog is written in french, but these writings are mostly about french politics and may not be of utmost interest to our foreign friends.

Good reading


15:26 Publié dans English | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | | | Digg! Digg | | |  Facebook


Introducing "Porte Sud de Genève"

Located  between the well known international city of Geneva and Annecy, the french candidate city to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, our territory "Porte Sud de Genève" ( Geneva's French Southern Gateway in english) is an ideal place for international investors to set up their European headquarters.

In a magnificent environment between lake and mountains, 70 kms from Mont-Blanc, our territory is only 10 kms from Geneva's international airport, one of the major hubs for the famous low-cost airline EASY JET, and with air connections to most European cities. At the crossroad of 2 major highways, it is only an hour drive from Italy and Lyon, the second largest French city. Thanks to its connection to the TGV train railway network, Paris is only 3 hours away.

Located in France, therefore in the EU, Porte Sud de Genève is no more than 10 minutes away from Geneva's city center. An Asian company could for instance set up its European Headquarters in Geneva, to take advantage of a friendly tax rate, while setting up its back office and, particularly the spare parts logistics, inside Europe. No other territory in Europe can offer such a favourable climate for investment.

Technopole2.jpgThe Technopole du Genevois, located in Archamps, offers first class accomodation and advanced communication tools for marketing and sales companies. The entertainment park 3 miles away, offers an aquapark, as well as a casino and the largest European Dancing Discotheque. Last, but not least, plenty of hotel accomodation is availble from 5 star hotels to budget accomodation, making it easy for companies to call regular meetings of their European staff.

Some prime real estate remain available for a company that would be interested to build an ambitious architectural building.Technopole.jpg

Interested parties should not hesitate to contact Saint-Julien City Hall , Maison de l'Economie or the Archamps Technopole for more information. Web links are provided on this blog to make contact easy .       

00:31 Publié dans English, Porte Sud de Genève - CCG | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : invest, geneva, haute savoie | | | Digg! Digg | | |  Facebook