Here we are, 3 days ago we definitely left Vienna to return to Switzerland. It was in Lausanne that we decided to put down our bag to prepare our big departure for the round the world trip. We will not hide from you that the departure from Vienna was not easy, especially since this implied saying goodbye to all these incredible people we met during these two years spent there…
So it was with a heavy heart that we got back on the train with all our stuff and took the road to Lausanne. I must admit, the prospect of finding “my beloved little town” has really made my heart feel better.
And there was no shortage of that: when we passed through the Glion Tunnel and the panorama of Lake Geneva and the Alps opened up to us, I was immediately overwhelmed by a feeling of total happiness. So here is a little article to introduce you to this small town nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva and which enjoys a breathtaking view of the Alps and neighbouring France.
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Lausanne in a few words
- Léman : Nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva, Lausanne is the 4th largest city in Switzerland and has 126,000 inhabitants.
- Welcoming : The people of Lausanne have a reputation for being very open and friendly people. The Swiss Germans tend to say that the Swiss French are lazy, but this is far from being the case I reassure you!
- Academic : Many prestigious universities are located in Lausanne such as EPFL, the École hôtelière, or HEC among others. In all, Lausanne has nearly 20,000 students.
- Athletic : Lausanne is also the Olympic capital with the IOC headquarters in Ouchy. In addition, many international sports federations also have their headquarters here.
- Artistic : Between the Mudac (museum of contemporary art), the foundation of the Hermitage. Or the Bejart ballet, lovers of cultural escapades should not be left out.
- Nature : In addition to the lake that rocks Lausanne, you will find many parks. My slight preference goes to Mont-Repos Park. Otherwise, a stroll in the Sauvablin woods to enjoy the plunging view of the lake and mountains.
- Nightlife :Lausanne, the French-speaking capital of the nightlife, is full of bars and nightclubs! Satisfaction guaranteed for night owls!
- Escape : Lausanne is also the ideal starting point for short excursions in the region. La Gruyère, Le Lavaux, Le Valais, Geneva, and much more!
My perfect day in Lausanne; the best things to see
In the morning
Personally, a good day for me starts with a good coffee but also a good breakfast. In Lausanne there are many possibilities to have brunch, but my little preference goes to café Java in the Carolina district. This small café with antique furniture has Serge Gainsbourg as its main theme and most of the dishes are named after the artist’s greatest hits…
After a brunch, there’s nothing like a little digestive walk in the old city of Lausanne! But be careful, the city is quite hilly. In all, there is a difference in altitude of nearly 500m between the top of Lausanne and the lake shore! But that’s probably the reason why we say that Lausanne women are the girls with the prettiest calves!
After a visit to the cathedral and the library of the Riponne, a small café aux Arches to rest a little bit from all these stairs is essential! For shopping enthusiasts, it is in the central street and in Le Flon that you will find your happiness, but we will come back to it later. At nightfall, this district becomes the place to be for night owls.
Alternative: If you have more time, we really recommend that you go and explore the Lavaux region, which is just outside Lausanne. We have also dedicated an article to this region with ideas for hiking routes.
In the Afternoon
If the weather is nice, then a walk on the quays of Ouchy is a must! The Olympic Museum is located there. A great visit to a very well-made museum!
If your calves have not suffered too much from the slopes of Lausanne, then renting a pedal boat can be an excellent way to relax on the waters of Lake Geneva and go for a dip! For the less sporty, you can also consider a boat trip on Lake Geneva. The itinerary? Going to Montreux or neighbouring France, for example, are good options.
From Ouchy you can then follow the lake to Vidy. There is the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in particular. In Vidy you can cross the Bourget park, which with its location on the lake makes it the favourite place for Lausanne residents for beautiful summer evenings: grills, music by the fire and a good atmosphere guaranteed!
The university campus
If you continue along the lake in the direction of Geneva, you will then reach the University of Lausanne and EPFL. The campus of the Technical University of Lausanne is at the forefront of technology! If you are an amateur of architecture then a small tour within its walls is essential.
For example, a short walk through the library is really worth a visit. The latter is called the Rolex Learning Center and was opened to the public in 2010. With its wave-shaped architecture, it is definitely not to be missed if you pass by.
Moreover, a few meters away, the university is building a quite impressive conference centre. For those who are interested, here is the video of the project… A 3,000-seat hall that can be transformed into a banquet hall in a few minutes; all the seats are mounted on jacks and can disappear into the ground in a few minutes. (Video at 2:23)
The early evening
After a good day’s walking, nothing beats a typical Swiss meal to get back on your feet. According to me you will find the best fondue in the city at café de l’évêché ! They for example have a beer fondue on the menu! Believe me, this is pretty unique! Otherwise the quariter of Caroline as well as the Flon are full of small very nice restaurants… Here is a non-exhaustive list of those I like well:
Selection of the best restaurants in Lausanne
- The Minuit Soleil for its Mediterranean dishes
- La Suite for its view of Lausanne from the terrace
- The Pizzeria « Chez Mario » for the best pizzas in town
- The Eat me: for their original decoration and the quality of the cuisine
- Au chat noir for its refined cuisine, Rue Beau-Séjour 27, 1003 Lausanne
- Ingelwood for an excellent and local burger
- Le Pointu for their great brunches
Where to go for a drink in Lausanne?
- La jetée de la compagnie (in summer), an ephemeral bar on the shores of Lake Geneva
- La grenette (in summer), place de la Riponne
- Le Great Escape, Rue Madeleine 18
- LCC (Lausanne Cocktail Club), Rue Pépinet 5
- Le Lab du Dr Gab’s for a good local beer
Lausanne by night
Once night falls, Lausanne unveils its festive side, and the trendy bars and nightclubs in the city centre are in full swing. For information, the best student evenings take place on Thursdays, Thursday evenings in Lausanne have always been and will always be special evenings where the majority of students are out…
One of the oldest clubs in the city is the MAD (Moulin A Dance = dance mill), founded in 1985, which is still the favourite place for many clubbers from Europe. With distinguished guests from the electro scene such as Bob Sinclar and David Guetta, the MAD welcomes nearly 300,000 visitors per year!
- Accommodation in Lausanne is unfortunately relatively expensive…. But don’t worry, there are still some good alternatives, especially in terms of youth hostels and small boutique hotels.
- If you are looking for a hotel we recommend the site Hotelscombined. It is a search engine that allows you to compare several major booking sites such as Booking, Agoda, Expedia and many others. In short, the guarantee of the best price!
- Some Hotels we recommend for their location and good value for money:
- Lausanne Youthhotel Jeunotel: the hostel is located near the lake. This is one of the cheapest options with good quality dorms.
- Hotel de l’Ours: a budget friendly option which is very close to the city centre.
- Ibis Style MadHouse: The perfect location for party people who like well designed hotels! You cannot be more in the center!
- Château d’Ouchy: For those who want to spend the night in a castle. 🙂 There are many luxury options in Lausanne, but personnally I would go for this one. Slightly less expensive than the main palaces, this one has a truly unique location and “cachet”
- Rent an apartment: If you are looking for something cheaper or simply the comfort of having a kitchen at your disposal (restaurants are quite expensive in Lausanne), then an apartment can be a very good alternative!
Compare the different accomodation options on the map below:
As you will have understood, Lausanne is a city that has a lot to offer, whether it be on the cultural, historical or festive side, so don’t hesitate to come and visit it soon! Wherever I am in the world, and no matter how long I’m on the road, every time it’s my pleasure to find my little “home”…
So, when are you coming?
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In 1965, I visited Lausanne, with my Syrian family, when I was 16 years old. We spent a month in Lausanne dining everyday in Restaurant Metropolitain where I also used to enjoy its disco on the top floor. CAN YOU KINDLY FIND OUT FOR ME IF THE BUILDING OF THIS RESTAURANT STILL EXISTS? THERE USED TO BE LARGE STEPS BESIDE IT LEADING TO ANOTHER STREET. If the building still exists, I will visit Lausanne with my own family for another month. I am living in Ireland since 1975.
I am sorry but I am not aware of any restaurant with this name. Do you happen to remember the approximate location? Maybe it coule be worth giving it a try using Google Street View if you remember the approx location… Sorry I can’t help more, maybe someone else will know more!