Voici le Train à Petite Vitesse

March 31, 2014, No comments

Picture from BGE Geneva

Slow Train to Switzerland is coming this October in French, and it needs a title. So all you French speakers out there, please put your brains into gear and come up with something suitable for a bestselling book about train travel and Switzerland in the 19th & 21st centuries.

You may remember that when it came to translating Swiss Watching into French, I asked for your help with the title. And it worked. A flash of inspiration from one reader, Jérémie, and Le Suissologue was born. Once it was published last August, it went straight into the bestseller lists in Romandie and even appeared on Téléjournal evening news on 1 August.

That could happen to your idea as well!

The first Swiss port of call for the tour was Geneva, and they arrived at the original Gare Cornavin (shown above), which was only five years old in 1863. That building burnt down in 1909 and was replaced by the current one, which seems to have been undergoing semi-permanent renovation ever since. After that it was on to Mont Blanc, then across the Alps and on through Switzerland, though not always by train.

In the book I talk about how slow the trains were then, typically 20 km/h, and joke about how they could be called trains à petite vitesse – hence the title of this post. But that is just a starting point; I’m sure you can do much better. So get creative!

If you have a moment of genius, then send me a message or leave a comment here, whichever you prefer. There’s no reward in terms of money but you will, of course, get a signed first edition from me as a thank you. And you will see your words on the cover every time you go into Payot or onto Amazon.

As with Le Suissologue, this French edition is being published by Helvetiq in Lausanne.

If you’d like to hear me speak (in English) about the book and the journey, then the next events are at the Klubschule Migros on 4 April in Basel or 11 April in Zurich, and at Off the Shelf Bookshop in Geneva on 27 May.


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