Welcome to Lausanne
Built on three hills, the city of Lausanne twinkles above Lake Geneva’s gentle mists, and the Savoy Alps rise like a theatrical backdrop beyond. Its location is as delicately beautiful as a Chinese painting, and as the setting sun glows cadmium on the water, it would be easy to imagine that Lausanne is a fairytale city, a place of dreamy wanderings and innocent peace. In part, it may be- but it is also a commercial powerhouse, a place where the Olympic Committee, Nestle and Philip Morris have their headquarters, where financial and scientific institutions thrive and invest- which makes this city exceptionally successful, in every sense. Its streets may not be paved with gold but they are lined with wealth, its buildings as elegantly regal as any Viennese Palace, and its medieval old town as neat and clean-swept as an illustration in a children’s history book.
Down by the lake, at Ouchy, swans gather beside super-yachts, and children eat ice creams in the flower gardens, while exquisitely well dressed citizens stroll by on their daily walk, tiny dogs in tow. It is hard to feel unhappy, sitting on a sun-warmed stone by the lake, as passengers board the old-fashioned paddle-steamer and ducks bob in its wake. Back in the town, there are café tables spilling onto the pavements, and in Winter, cosy restaurants serving ten kinds of fondue. In the snow, Lausanne is grand and graceful- in the sun, its lake and mountains shimmer with promise.
Cathedral de Notre Dame
Café De Grancy
Hotel De La Paix
Hotel du Lac- Anita Brookner. Set on the shores of Lake Geneva.
Daisy Miller- Henry James. Set in nearby Vevey
Merci Pour le Chocolat by Claude Chabrol (A thriller partly filmed in Lausanne)
Symphony No. 4 Lausanne (1992) Leonardo Balada
Lausanne is easy to walk round, and the public transport system is excellent, so it isn’t necessary to drive into the centre- much of the old town is pedestrianised.
There are plenty of restaurants and bars in the old town area, which are less expensive that those by the lake. Fondue is a speciality; try the Rue De Bourg for a good selection of eating places.
Service is always included on the bill- only tip if the service was outstanding.
Car: Look for ‘P + R’ signs to find car parks with fixed longer rates – daily or nightly – though prices vary depending on the car park. It is advisable to use Lausanne’s public transport.
Public Transport: A free bus and metro pass – valid for two weeks – is given to every hotel in the city. Otherwise, tickets can be bought from a machine at every stop. There are two main Metro lines that travel throughout the centre and into the suburbs – the M1, due North from Ouchy and the M2, due West -with destinations at every landmark and place of note. Buses are regular and abundant – there’ll be a bus stop a few minutes in any direction. The LEB company also run trains to the outer suburbs. Tickets are priced by distance, though there are daily and weekly tickets available for a fixed rate from station kiosks.
Your Swiss Pass can grant access to free public transport and discounted exhibitions and public attractions in ‘Switzerland’s San Francisco’.
Bikes can be hired from Lausanne Roule, just outside the Lausanne Roule metro station, for very reasonable daily prices – 6 CHF for a day with a 90 CHF daily deposit. Bear in mind that the city itself is quite steep, though cycling is very popular by the lakeside.
Tourist Office Avenue de Rhodanie 2 Lausanne 021 613 73 73
Holidays in Lausanne
French Roads To Florence
From 13 days
Paris, Lyon and Lausanne.
Towns, Cities & Lakes
From 9 days
A SWISS ROAD TRIP
From 13 days