Sunday, September 24, 2017

The biggest flea market in the world

Usually I write about my Parisian life in my other blog but today I decided to share my little excursion to the world's biggest flea market located in the Northern suburbs of the city of lights. Hop on for the ride.

A sunny Saturday afternoon and Expat husband and I are off to the St.Ouen flea market on our little Italian vespa. Weekend traffic in Paris can be terrible.

You really don't need to be looking for any specific object - in fact it is probably better you don't - because you'll either return empty handed or with all kinds of trinkets you didn't even knew you needed. However, it is a fantastic place to shoot photos... again and again and again...

The business of collecting (scrap metal, antique jewellery, furniture, old books) has been part of Paris life for ever. At night, rag-and-bone men biffins, or crocheteurs travelled through the capital in search of their loot. Driven out of the city at the end of the 19th century by the new authorities anxious to clean up the capital, these rag-and bone men set up camp and hovel between the fortifications and the first houses built in the village of Saint-Ouen. Little by little, it wasn't long before open-air cafés and dance halls appeared, along with numerous stalls where the people of Paris would come by on a Sunday to stroll and perhaps stop for a small glass of white wine.

In 2001, the entire marketplace was classified as Zone de Protection du Patrimoine Architectural Urbain et Paysager (urban architectural landscape heritage protection zone ) for its very unusual atmosphere. There are more than 2000 boutiques spread out into 16 markets and spilling over into several surrounding streets.

Les Puces is known as one of the largest Flea Market in the world.

So, let's start with a real Neapolitan coffee!

An eclectic mix

Caught my eye

I have always had my eye on these kind of 1970s champagne glasses.
My husband informs me his Mamma has plenty of these in the cellar in Napoli.

It's all in the presentation

Seems like a scene out of a French movie

Made me smile big time

Thanks to little brothers and car-mad sons you recognise the models

Loved the colour composition

Blast from the past!

We could do with a big miroir louis xv in our entrance, couldn't we?!?

This painting hit home... literally!

Thinking of my knitting Mexican friend 

Expat hubby does not believe I started skiing with these bindings.

If ever we acquire a chambre de bonne... this could become its direct access! 

Caught my husband's eye! 

Impressive "stand"

I'll have the pair to take home please.

Funky dining room chairs... to bad that don't come in pink!

Please can we have a rest?

These round mirrors might fit our entrance better?

Someone got lost!

Aperitivo time!

My absolute favourite fairy tale when I was a little girl. 

I love kitch!

One day... when we live in the country?!?

Paris or Las Vegas?

Gotta love those old-fashion globes

Wondering what's behind those walls?

A touch of pink and an amazing smell.

Clutter that someone will be interested in buying.

No one home?

Someone emptied their attic.

Where to start?

Feeling artistic!

Statistical Data on Switzerland

Since 1997, Statistical Data on Switzerland has been published every year with the latest data available on a range of diverse topics such as Switzerland's geography, population, work and income, economy, transport, social security, education and training and science.

This publication gives an overview of the most important key figures. It has any number you can think of so dive in and learn all about the country you call home: Download publication

Friday, September 22, 2017

ABC of the Swiss political system at a single click

Can Swiss living abroad vote? Who can vote online? Who can launch an initiative? What is the role of a cantonal government or parliament? Who can stand as a candidate in federal elections, and how?, gives you answers to these and other questions.

This site offers a wide range of information dedicated to how the Swiss political system functions. Fresh content and lots of links to external websites of federal, cantonal and communal authorities are brought together on one single website, making it easier and faster to access information on the functioning of the Swiss political system at all political levels. gives useful, practical information explained clearly and simply for all citizens, both in Switzerland and abroad. The new portal is especially useful for Swiss living abroad as it contains information of particular interest, including explanations on how they can exercise their political rights.

The illustrations, graphics and video clips which augment the explanations in the texts make a dynamic and attractive website for younger citizens too.

And the best news is the site is available in five languages: Italian, French, German, Romansh and English, so just hop over and take look for yourself:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Council of the Swiss Abroad

The Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) represents the interests of Swiss expatriates before the authorities and public opinion in Switzerland. This is why the media call it the "Parliament of the Fifth Switzerland"

The CSA gathers in Switzerland twice a year for a day-long meeting to discuss important matters concerning the Swiss abroad and to voice an opinion on current affairs on behalf of the Fifth Switzerland.

Between January and August 2017, Swiss citizens around the globe were called upon to elect their 140 representatives on the Council of the Swiss Abroad for 2017–2021. The new Council has 131 members, 64 of them new. Nine seats are currently vacant.

There have been many achievements and the CSA has always played a decisive role in carrying these through: the inclusion of Swiss living abroad in the Federal Constitution, maintaining optional old-age and disablement insurance (AVS/AI), livelihood protection thanks to the Solidarity Fund, several civil rights revisions, information to Swiss abroad, promotion of training young Swiss abroad or the introduction of the right to vote by mail - all these deserve to be highlighted as major achievements. It is also thanks to the activities of the Council of Swiss Abroad that the presence of the Fifth Switzerland back home over the years has increased significantly.

Here is the a closer look at the composition of the Council of the Swiss Abroad:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Local Agriturismi Open their Doors

Agriturismi in Tavola is a popular weekend food event amongst the local farmers to promote their products organized in collaboration with local association La Meseda.

La Meseda sees the local agritourism farms as protagonists presenting their agricultural company, products and culinary specialities to the larger public. This event winks to the NRLA opening (the New Railway Link through the Alps) and welcomes many Ticino-loving visitors.

La Meseda is dedicated to all families, to foodies of all ages and to all gourmands who love genuine products and nature. On the programme: local product’s sale, thematic areas with animals, presentation of new technologies and new plantation materials, courses about green areas care, practical tips and workshops organisied by the Ticinese Farmers Union such as the “School farm project”.

Please note that the event will be taking place in various locations around Ticino, where the Agriturismi are based. Check out La Meseda website to find out about the program and the various locations. Feel free to stop by any of the selected Agriturismi and enjoy this popular all-day food event amongst the local farmers to promote their products.

Venue: Agriturismi a tavola
Where: throughout the Canton Ticino
When: Saturday, September 30th to Sunday, October 1st, 2017
List of participating agritourismi:

Sunday, September 17, 2017

10 ways to be happy!

How about some quick tips on how to increase happiness. Happiness is essential for a great human experience, it also increases motivation. What makes you happy?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

How many living languages are there?

Some continents have more languages than others. Not all continents are equally diverse in the number of spoken languages.

Whereas Asia leads the statistics with 2,301 languages, Africa follows closely with 2,138.

There are about 1,300 languages in the Pacific, and 1,064 in South and North America.

Europe, despite its many nation-states, is at the bottom of the pack with just 286.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Mendrisiotto Wine Route

Lose yourself among the sweet hills and aromas of the vineyards in the Italian part of Switzerland.

Merlot has been cultivated in Ticino for more than a hundred years, and that’s a fact you can taste!

The wine roads are thematic routes that will take you to explore the wineries and vineyards spread across the canton, passing through ancient villages, rural traditions, landscapes and architectural charm. The wine-cellars are full of labels of excellent quality.

Mendrisio is home to several renowned wine producers: the Cantina Sociale, the wine purveyors Guido Brivio and Gialdi. The wine cellars at the foot of Monte Generoso, in the shadow of mighty trees, are vented naturally by a continual flow of fresh air; ideal for storing wine. Some of the cellars are still used for storing wine, while others have been converted to grottos.

Visits and wine tasting in a wine cellar are possible every Saturday morning. The Cantinas open their doors for guided tours and wine tasting upon appointment.
Please call +41 (0)91 641 30 50 up to Friday 11 a.m.
Duration: 1h30
Number of participants: 3-20
Season: March - December
Languages: German, English, French, Italian

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The world's top 10 languages

Did you know 3 out of 7 billion people on earth speak one of these 10 languages?

With more than 955 million speakers, Mandarin claims the top spot as the world’s most common language. One of the five major dialects of Chinese, Mandarin is the official language of China and Taiwan, as well as one of the four official dialects of Singapore. Approximately 14.4 percent of the world’s population are native speakers of Mandarin.

Although they have different written forms, Hindi and Urdu share a history, many common words, and a grammar. Many linguists consider them different “registers” of the same common language. Over 310 million people speak one of the two.

Its prominence in the Americas as well as in Europe makes Spanish one of the most common languages. The Castilian dialect in Spain is held as a national standard, although Andalusian and Catalan are also spoken.

English used to be the second-most common language, but Spanish-speakers have increased much more rapidly over the past 15 years. Still, scholars have named English the world’s “most influential language,” due to the number of speakers and the number of countries in which it is spoken.

Arabic, spoken by 295 million speakers worldwide, is also the language of Muslim holy writings. It has also influenced other most common languages — Spanish has approximately 4,000 words with Arabic roots.

Which one do you speak?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Changing Perspectives on Human Rights: Lessons from a Long, lnternational Career

Franklin University Switzerland will host a series of events where both the Franklin community and the general public are invited to explore topics of high relevance in the contemporary world with renowned experts. This year the topic is Social Responsibility, an essential part of Franklin's mission.

Starting tomorrow with a Lecture by Dr. Marcia Grant, Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and lnternational Higher Education Expert about "Changing Perspectives on Human Rights: Lessons from a Long, lnternational Career".

Concern for Human Rights and the idea that they could be protected and enforced started only after World War II. In her talk, Dr. Marcia Grant will examine how she became aware of human rights issues during her childhood and international career in higher education and diplomacy, and discuss the challenge to each of us to examine our values and how they impact our understanding and concern for human rights.

A small reception will follow the lecture.

Venue: Changing Perspectives on Human Rights: Lessons from a Long, lnternational Career
Where: Nielsen Auditorium, Franklin University Switzerland, Via Ponte Tresa 29, Sorengo
When: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
Time: 19:00 to 21:00 PM
Other lectures coming up:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

TEDxLugano 2017

Listen up....TEDxLugano 2017 is coming up this Saturday, September 9th in Lugano, Switzerland! It will be the biggest and most prestigious TEDx event in Switzerland.

The theme is “Professions of the Future”, which is designed to create a universal platform for speakers from all over the world to share big ideas that will improve and innovate our future jobs – from business and infrastructure to art and work-life balance, from science and technology to entertainment and design, from innovation and robotics to qualitative breakthroughs within social interactions.

The main question that the audience is waiting for an answer on will be “What is it that we should do now to overcome the shortage of jobs due to automation in the future?”

TEDxLugano accepts speakers applications from all over the world on a first come / first serve basis, starting with a short draft of the idea worth spreading outlined with bullet points of arguments to our email address or on their contact page.

See the speakers so far:

Venue: "Professions of the Future" by TEDxLugano
Where: LAC Lugano, Piazza B. Luini 6, 6900 Lugano
When: Saturday, September 9th, 2017
Time: from 11:00 to 18:00

Reserve tickets here:

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Beyond Chocolate - understanding Swiss culture

Wanting to better understand the Swiss and their culture? Curious about certain traditions and habits?

Immerse yourself in the cultural attitudes of Switzerland’s fascinating, multifaceted society. This study exposes different attitudes and potential misunderstandings about friendship, neighbourliness, being professional, giving and getting compliments and criticism, parenting, schooling, being polite, entertaining, decision making, etiquette, leadership, making plans and much more.

The latest edition contains two chapters about the Swiss approach towards risk and safety such as natural dangers, playing with fire, exposing children to risks like saws, drills and knives at school, the risks on playgrounds, or alpine risk assessment. Sound exciting? Read it for yourself!

Click here for details:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Harpertif at AQVA Lounge

The Evening Group ( is organising a special event, on behalf of the IWCL charity committee and they would like to invite you and your friends to join them.

You will be listening to the enchanting harp sound thanks to Eleonora Ligab from Mixolydia Music Lab ( in a stunning and brand new location, the AQVA Lounge in Sorengo (

Chelodesign Photography ( will be there to take your pictures so remember to smile for the camera! An event you don't want to miss.

Venue: Harpertif at AQVA Lounge
Where: Vicolo Cisterna 8, 6924 Sorengo
Date: September 1st, 2017
Time: 19:00 to 21:00
Price: CHF 40.-/ p.p. includes 2 drinks and 4 finger foods
All donations will go to Progetto Avventuno (

The venue can be easily reached by the FLP train (stop Sorengo) the entrance is just 2 min walk from the station, there are limited parking places (ex- Credit Suisse Center) so carpooling or the FLP train is strongly advised. Schedule of the FLP trains:
Parking: input Vicolo Cisterna 1 in your GPS to reach the parking directly

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sportissima 2017

On Sunday, September 10th, the thirteenth edition of Sportissima, a free event open to all, will take place in seven locations in Ticino.

Sportissima is a festival of all sports clubs in town. Thanks to the 219 workshops involving about 2000 volunteers from nearly 190 companies and sports federations, you will be spoiled for choice.

You'll be able to experience more than 110 disciplines: from aerobic classes to capoeira, from kanga-training to American football, from orientation runs to maxi-tramp, from climbing to various dance and fitness activities, everyone can have fun practicing healthy movements.

Participating is simple: no need to sign up, just head to the chosen location after 9:30, talk to a staff member, and choose the activities you'd like to try. Easy-Peasy!

Check out the offer of Sportissima's the thirteenth edition in Bellinzona, Biasca, Capriasca, Chiasso, Lugano, Mendrisio and Tenero-Contra.

Venue: Sportissima 2017
Where: Stadio Cornaredo, Gerra, Resega, Campi Pregassona, Lido, Figino-Casoro e Gandria
Date: September 10th, 2017
Time: 9.30 to 17.00
List of activities in Lugano:
Following is the link for Lugano's Sportissima programme:

Sunday, August 27, 2017

La scuola in Ticino

Tomorrow Ticino's public school summer holidays 2017 officially come to an end. Good luck to all of you who are embarking on the new academic year!

Below is a chart from 2015 about Ticino's schools which caught my attention today.

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