On the outskirts of every great city across the world are the towns, villages and communities that complete the character of a region and, without whom, such cities perhaps would not be quite so great.
Los Angeles has the sun-soaked coasts of Santa Monica and Malibu, Paris has the densely populated Levallois-Perret and Geneva has the placid beauty of Terre Sainte and Nyon.
Located on the La Côte, or “the Coast,” the small territories known as Terre Sainte and Nyon are set against a backdrop of gently sloping hills off the western banks of Lake Geneva in the canton of Vaud. The two regions consist of a number of small villages and municipalities, a handful of which have populations under 3,500.
Though only a brief train ride away from Geneva’s center, the two regions remain mostly undisturbed by traffic and commercial congestion, preserving their natural beauty and historic charm.
With stunning scenery being ubiquitous along Lake Geneva’s alpine coast and ample options for luxury housing, choosing which area along the lake to live in comes down to some key advantages, says Sébastien Gentilini and Laurent Martinez of Geneva-based FGP Swiss & Alps.
“Basically, it’s a question of do you want more space, less traffic and easier access to the airport all for the same budget. If so, then Terre Sainte is the perfect choice,” says Gentilini.
While more space and practicality may imply lesser pedigree, the picturesque hills and impressive homes of Terre Sainte and Nyon prove otherwise.
Homes in Terre Sainte and Nyon
Lovers of traditional architecture will find themselves right at home in Terre Sainte. Some properties in the region even date back to the 13th century. While classic exteriors have largely remained, interiors have been updated, says Gentilini and Martinez.
“These old properties are in some ways better because you can keep the traditional beauty of the architecture but with a renovated inside. You rarely see someone building a modern property here when they could keep the original style,” says Martinez.
That being said, as the luxury market in Terre Sainte and Nyon continues to grow, so too, has the presence of modern architecture, offering today’s buyers more contemporary choices.
In Nyon, buyers will find a market with more high-end residences, including some of the sought-after waterfront properties on the western coast of the lake. Due, in part, to the presence of businesses like Hublot and the UEFA, however, there is comparably less residential space than Terre Sainte.
With more space to house larger homes, amenities not often found in the more crowded centers of Geneva can include swimming pools, large gardens and outbuildings.
Prices in Terre Sainte and Nyon
As with many luxury markets across the globe, high demand in Terre Sainte and Nyon is clashing with a strained supply, resulting in rising home prices.
While both markets are comparable, prices per square meter are relatively cheaper in Nyon, says Gentilini.
Although rising interest rates have encouraged sellers to move more quickly, competition for ultraluxe properties at the highest end of the market has been largely unaffected.
The Vibes of Terre Sainte and Nyon
As a part of Vaud, Terre Sainte and Nyon are set among some of the best wine-producing countrysides in all of Switzerland. Thanks largely to the lake, which provides temperature moderation as well as light reflections, the region is suited to growing a variety of wines, including chasselas, pinot noir and gamay grapes. As such, Vaud boasts multiple Premier Grand Cru sites.
With a history that spans back to antiquity, an abundance of historical sites can be found throughout Terre Sainte, including ancient churches and cathedrals, castles and even Roman remains.
Golf enthusiasts will find a number of world-class courses nearby, such as the Golf & Country Club de Bonmont and the Golf Club du Domaine Impérial, one of the only courses in continental Europe designed by renowned golf architect Peter Dye.
According to Gentilini, Nyon has attracted a slightly younger clientele when compared to Terre Sainte.
As with other lake regions around the globe, Lake Geneva offers ample opportunities for water recreation, such as sailing, swimming and rowing, even hosting a number of competitions throughout the year.
Schools in Terre Sainte and Nyon
With foreign citizens accounting for almost a quarter of the population, Switzerland is home to a wealth of international private schools, many of which are located in the general vicinity of Terre Sainte and Nyon.
Included in this list is the Institut Le Rosey, one of the most prestigious and expensive boarding schools in the world. Throughout the school’s 141-year history, a long list of royalty has been educated at Le Rosey, such as Prince Rainier III of Monaco; Prince Edward, Duke of Kent; and Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess of Greece.
Other notable schools include Ecole Internationale de Genève, La Chataigneraieand Le Collège Champittet à Nyon.
Surrounding Terre Sainte and Nyon
An hour and a half by train to the eastern tip of the lake’s crescent shape is Montreux. From there, popular ski-resort destinations like Gstaad and Crans-Montana are a rail ride away.
Geneva Airport, the second largest airport in Switzerland with service to nearly 50 countries, is roughly 30 minutes by train.