All I have ever heard about Lausanne since I’ve moved to Switzerland, is that this lovely Swiss city has:
- the steepest metro in the world,
- the most beautiful Saturday Morning Market in Switzerland,
- “You really need to see Cully, Vevey – this is unbelievable” .
I have decided to spend a few days in Lausanne and find out on how it is to live on the other side of Switzerland. The wonderful thing about Switzerland is that any distance within this country last maximal 3-4 hours by train, so I took my suitcase, my lovely shih tzu dog and made myself on the way from Schaffhausen Canton. In the past I have always had an invisible “language barrier” in my head, which warned me not to cross the German – French border within Switzerland, as (according to some German-speaking Swiss friends) I would go there, fail and die because of my poor French language skills 🙂 Today, I know that the only invisible barrier is just in peoples head. I have met as many nice and friendly residents and tourists in Lausanne as in any other Swiss city.
During my visit I stayed at the wonderful Hotel Royal Savoy***** with an incredible view on the Lake Geneva (see my separate blog for this). The food here at La Brasserie du Royal was one of the best in my life (–> check my blog La Brasserie du Royal Lausanne).
copyright @Hotel Royal Savoy Lausanne
There is plenty of activities to do in this city but haven’t managed to do all of them. Reason enough to come back here next year. Below you will find what I have seen:
I have started the first sunny morning with walking my dog Freddy to the Lake Geneva, which is located only 10 minutes walking from my hotel (or 2 min. by the metro from Delices station to Ouchy station). It is easy to find Ouchy – the former fishing village located at the lake shore can be find by simply walking down the steep city from more than 500 m.a.s.l. to 300 m.a.s.l. The city is steep and that’s one of the reasons I find it so beautiful – you can see glimpses of the sparking lake from many points in the city. Have a good morning coffee at one of the many hotel cafes located here in Place du Port and simply watch the people refueling sun energy, jogging or taking pedalos to discover the panoramic views of Lausanne.
2. Drifting at Ouchy
There are several ways of taking a tour of Lake Geneva if you like to discover the picturesque landscapes in this area. You can choose between the luxurious Compagnie Générale de Navigation CGN boat, the solar-powered Les Aquarels du Léman boats or do it like I did and rent a pedalo, as on the picture above. It is propelled by the driver power for your information, so make sure your leg muscles are prepared 😊.
3. Parc Olympique
Not far away from Place du Porte you will find the lovely street Quai de Belgique, which you should take if you would like to spend some time in the Parc Olympique. Here, surrounded by pretty terraced gardens, you will find The Olympic Museum famous for the ultra modern audiovisual, IT and robotics technology.
4. Saturday morning market
The next Saturday morning I have had a wonderful breakfast at La Brasserie du Royal with the best omlette in my life. Leaving for a shopping tour in Switzerland’s biggest cities without having a nice cup of coffee latte and fresh, crispy croissants would be a mistake, or even a fau paix .
I took some comfortable summer clothes and my favorite ballerinas as the Iphone weather app has promised 16 degrees today! Summer time in Switzerland 🙂 ! In order to get to the Saturday Morning Market in the city you can take the metro to station Lausanne Flon and it will take only few minutes (pink line on the picture below). Afterwards you need to go to Place de la Palud. The covered flight of steps leading from the Place de la Palud to the Cathedral is certainly one of the most picturesque spots in the town centre.
Finally I am inside the steepest metro in the world on my way to the city centre. On my way I am passing by the typical Gothic architecture of Lausanne, which often leaves me speechless. The buildings and constructions in the French part of Switzerland are much taller than in most of the typical German speaking towns of Switzerland.
I am probably the biggest fan of Saturday Morning Markets in the world and it does always teletransport me back in time, when people in the middle ages were buying fresh fruits and vegitables in the beating heart of the city. I’m just so happy I can wear more comfortable clothes and my favorite Dior perfume, which was probably not typically for an middle aged woman on the market. It is quite crowed here – a mother with her child is buying red apples while talking with her husband on the phone, two friends are walking by, talking about too high prices of the potted spring plants at the flower stand, an older lady is carring her overloaded trolley with fresh fruits and vegitables for the whole week, whilst a young musician is playing Mozart’s violin concerts, hoping to save enough money today to invite his pretty girlfriend for a dinner. ( this video is available on my instagram account http://www.instagram.com/the.brunette.abroad).
So if you have the chance to visit a Saturday Morning Market, here’s the list of things you should try:
- seasonal fruits – always seasonal local fruits and direct from nearby farmers. Most of the time you will find a huge variants of apples, pears but also plums, strawberries, raspberries, cherries etc. Try the typical swiss “Apfelschorle” which is a semi-sweet, homemade refreshing apple juice.
- seasonal vegetables – everything fresh and colorful. Swiss love their local products and therefore you will find here a big salad-, carrot- and mushroom variants (depending on the season), as well as almost all other vegetables that are cultivated in Switzerland.
- freshly baked bread – you will not miss it, I promise .. once you smell the salty, baked fragrance in the air, you can be sure that there’s a bread stand somewhere in front of you. Switzerland has more than 200 various bread to offer and in each city, you will hear that their local piece of bread one is the best in the country.
- home-made products – jams, honey, plum butter with all different colors and flavors.
- cheese – being in Lausanne without trying some local cheese is comparable to visiting Paris without being on the Eiffel tower. It’s almost obligatory to try the tasty local cheese, especially that the French region of Switzerland has much more cheese varianty to offer – (refer to my blog “Say Cheese”)
- flowers – I always buy my flowers on a Swiss Saturday market if possible. They are simply beautiful, colorful and wild summarized in bouquets. But you can also buy your potted plants for every season.
While the prices on the morning markets are in general a little bit higher than in retail stores, I think that you are buying also a piece of adventure, a nice smile of the farmer and a beautiful history behind their products.
5. Gothic monuments
If you are interested in Lausanne’s architecture, than you should definitely walk a little bit to the North from Place de la Palud to a wonderful district, where you will find some of the cities most impressive achievements:
- Cathédrale de Lausanne – this amazing Gothic structure dominates the city centre from the top of a hill. This is the biggest cathedral in Switzerland and was build in the 13th century.
- Museé historique – is situated next to the Cathedral and build between the 11th and 15th century.
- Château Saint – Maire – this place was originally the Bishop’s Palace and build in the beginning of the 15th century. Today here is the headquarter of the State Council, which governs the Canton of Vaud. I like the upper part of the castle which is made of red brick in style reminiscent of northern Italy.
- Ancienne Académie – was build in the 16th century and is Europe’s first college of Protestant and French theology. Today in this building you can join educational courses before joining the university level. The building is very vast as you can see on the picture, so you need to take a walk to get an idea of it’s size.
6. Parc Mon-Repos
Wonderful sunny weather and a cute dog along is all you need to have a pleasant walk in the Parc Mon-Repos, not far away from the other attractions described above. As a big flower lover, I love to walk the dog in a beautiful, peaceful area of greenery at the heart of Lausanne. The lower section of the parc contains the Mon-Repos Villa, which is the former residence of the founder of the Olympic Movement – Baron Pierre de Coubertin.