Finishing schools are educational institutions that teach young individuals social courtesy and upper-class cultural traditions to prepare them for the future and adult life. Traditionally, according to the Financial Times, the high-class and rich people used to send their daughters to these schools to prepare them for married life.

Due to its location and scenery, lifestyle, political stability, and multilingualism, Switzerland has been home to some of the best finishing schools in the world. Today, only one remains still.

The History of Finishing Schools

Source: Museums Victoria on Unsplash

While boys were going to boarding school to learn French, Latin, and German, girls were going to finishing school; though these institutions were quite different. Boarding schools intended to shape young boys into gentlemen and prepare them to take over the family business. However, girls were primarily taught etiquette, manners, how to manage the household, and some O-level and A level subjects.

As The Financial Times points out, in the 1960s, the feminist revolution fought against gender equality and education, emphasizing the silliness of these disciplines. With the shift in the perception of women’s role in society, the existence of finishing schools was put in jeopardy.

Finishing schools saw a rebirth in the early 90s as their module was altered entirely. Nowadays, there is a small number of these kinds of establishments, and they have rebranded themselves into diverse and cultural appreciation institutions.

According to Wikipedia, the two finishing schools that contributed to Switzerland’s reputation—both located in Lausanne—were Brilliantmont, founded in 1882, now an international secondary school, and Château Mont-Choisi, which closed around 1995 (the latter being, as cited by, Carla Bruni Sarkozy attended). Another well-known finishing school was Institut Alpin Videmanette in Rougemont, which as stated by Biography, Diana, Princess of Wales, attended.

Finishing schools are almost an estranged concept to people nowadays. Most of them have already vanished, some have changed their activity entirely, and others, have modified and adapted their curriculum. With the updated roles of men and women in society, it’s hard to conserve finishing schools’ traditional mission.



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  1. Dear sir,
    I am interested to study finishing school in Switzerland , so can you guide me about that in details that how to apply, where to apply, etc.
    Hassan shahid

    1. Dear Hassan,

      We advise you to check the website of Institut Villa Pierrefeu:

      As for applying, contact them at:
      T: +41 58 750 0 750
      F: +41 58 750 0 755

      or visit them at:
      Route de Caux 28
      CH-1823 Glion/Montreux

      We sorry we can’t be of more help. Good luck!

  2. Good morning. Please I would like to know how your program is run, and how much it will cost for a 3 months course of study. including the fees, accommodation and feeding if inclusive. I look forward to hearing from you asap!. Moreso, I would like to know when the next program will be commencing.

    Regards .

    1. Dear Esther,

      For more information on the courses that Institut Villa Pierrefeu offers and fees, you can contact them on this number: +41 58 750 0 750, or on their Facebook page: Institut Villa Pierrefeu .

      Best of luck!

  3. Great School. My daughter will be 25 years this year and l will like to sign her on for your six weeks course. Gratefully if you can please let me know the avialbility slots. She goes back to scholl in September.
    Kwasi Atuah

  4. Greetings!
    It is a great pity that this tradition of education and culture has dwindled in such regard. Our daughter considers her experience at IVP to be one of the true highlights of her life. As a parent, there is no greater joy than to see your child development into a happy, healthy and successful woman, and IVP undoubtedly played an important role. I surely could not recommend her lifelong impressions gained enough…
    Kindest regards,

  5. Hola,

    My daughter, Olivia, became very excited when I told her about my summer in Villa Pierrefeu in 1977, when I was 17.
    She is eleven and wants to go to a finishing school when she’s older.
    We then started to google finishing schools and were so surprised that Pierrefeu is the last one in Switzerland. In 1977, there were so many to chose from.
    It was fun to see Madame Neri in the video. I immediately recognized her. Obviously, the years have been kind to her.
    If I read correctly, do you only have students 18 +?

    Stay safe.

    1. Hi Caroline,

      Yes, Institut Villa Pierrefeu offers courses that focus on men and women over 18 years old.

      Best wishes.

  6. Do you have online courses available? How long are the courses and is there an age limit?
    Thank you

  7. Can you please recommend which finishing schools are still available to study and if there are any who offer their courses online. Thank you

  8. Would like to know more about a fininishing school for young men and women . Consider opening one in the USA.

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