Swinging it, Les Roches-style

In the 1960s, Les Roches was still a few years’ away from becoming a Swiss hospitality management school.

This decade saw a steady growth in the number of enrolled junior and senior students. By the mid-60s, the number of students had risen to 220, from 60 different countries in five different continents, with a large student body from the USA and Iran, among other nations.

To manage the continued expansion, two other Clivaz brothers, Francis and Roger, joined the family team.

The brothers started to recruit in earnest abroad, going on trips to the Middle East, America and Eastern Europe to meet prospective parents and their children.

Social life in the 1960s

So, what was the school like in the 60s? A social revolution was happening all over the world, but for life in the Alpine village of Bluche, things were pretty calm, which is perhaps why the school was a popular choice for parents.

There were no wild parties in Bluche (well, one or two) and the political unrest from the Cold War was a million miles away.

That’s not to say students weren’t engaged with the world outside Bluche. Looking at the School Year Book of 1968, it is clear the students had a lot of fun, as well embracing a particularly ‘Les Roches’ approach to world peace.

Historical Timeline


Francis Clivaz founds College du Leman, an international boarding school near Geneva, catering for the large numbers of expat children who parents work for NGOs, governments and multinational corporations in Geneva


Francis Clivaz and Roger Clivaz join the family team at Les Roches

Hotels, tourism, and the seeds of change

The 1960s was a remarkable decade for hospitality.

The development of highways and commercial flights made it easier to travel than ever before, while geopolitical changes revealed the economic potential of the hospitality industry, generating a massive expansion of hotel chains and tourism.

In the 1960s:

  • Club Med was founded
  • Four Seasons built its first hotel
  • The Holiday Inn chain opened its 800th hotel
  • Siegas introduced minibar in hotel rooms
  • InterContinental installed retractable drying lines in guest showers, launched business lounges, ice and vending machines in guest corridors, and street entrances for hotel restaurants

The industry was expanding but it would be another few years before the Clivaz brothers would start to nurture the idea of developing the boarding school into a hotel management school that would offer diplomas in hospitality management for people who wanted to work in the hotel industry.

Next decade : The 1970s

The early 1970s was a period of consolidation for the Ecole des Roches; the late 1970s, a period of dramatic change.