11 spots to discover Lausanne, between cafés and culture

By My-Lausanne

9 cinemas, 18 theatres, 24 museums, 30 independent galleries. Undeniably, Lausanne is a city of art.

However, between two exhibitions, films or performances, it is important to draw fresh strength. In a nearby café, for instance? Or directly on site? MyLausanne has uncovered 11 gems throughout the town to cultivate your taste buds.


Café Elise

The Musée de l’Elysée doesn’t only offer photo exhibitions. A retro design area houses the museum’s library, where you will also find drinks and snacks to fill you up, after feasting your eyes during the visit.

Elise, Musée de l'Elysée ©retoDuriet.com
Musée de l'Elysée ©LT/www.diapo.ch

Until January 7, 2018, at the Musée de l’Elysée: “Gus Van Sant


Tom Café

Located on the roof of the Olympic Museum, the Tom Café is especially well-known for its weekend brunches: a huge eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet. Lausanne gastronomes say that the quality is there. During the week, daily specials are served at lunchtime, as well as a few classics (burgers, ice creams, paninis and salads) throughout the day.

Le Tom Café ©CIO/Lydie Nesvadba
Le Tom Café ©CIO/Lydie Nesvadba

P.S. The terrace is the ideal place to beat the record of the most beautiful view on the lake.


Starting on December 7, 2017, at the Olympic Museum: “Do you speak PyeongChang? Korea comes to the museum.”



A true architectural gem, ArtLab is a 250-m long wood pavilion. Divided into three spaces, it houses a long-term exhibition on the theme of Big Data (through two EPFL projects), an area for temporary and experimental exhibitions, as well as the Montreux Jazz Café. Salads, snacks, wraps, burgers or Asian bowls, you’re sure to find something to your liking. The most exciting aspect of this area is that you can watch and listen to over 5,000 concerts digitalised by EPFL labs. A unique building in Lausanne therefore, between art, culture, gastronomy, music and technology.

ArtLab ©MyLausanne

ArtLab, Montreux Jazz Café ©MyLausanne
ArtLab, Montreux Jazz Café ©MyLausanne

Until February 11, 2018, at the ArtLab, “Mental Work: The Cognitive Revolution Starts Here



You will be rewarded three times over for having braved the climb to the Fondation de l’Hermitage. First, by the quality of its painting exhibitions. Next, by the magnificent view it affords you over Lausanne, its Cathedral and the lake. Finally, by the excellent menu of L’Esquisse, the adjacent restaurant. The Art & Gastronomy evenings and Sundays’ Art & Brunch will let you round off a visit with a gourmet experience.

L'esquisse, l'Hermitage ©LT/ mano
©LT/ mano

From February 2 to May 21, 2018, at the Hermitage: “Pastels from the 16th to the 21st century, Liotard, Degas, Klee, Scully…


L’Espace des inventions

Children are also entitled to their museum. After a visit of the Espace des inventions that will let your children learn while moving, testing and discovering interactive exhibitions, you will all need to muster new energy. For that, the museum offers a few tables and a small bar with drinks and snacks.

Espace des Inventions ©MyLausanne

Until July 15, 2018, at the Espace des inventions : “T’es sûr-e ?



Is it a bar or is it a gallery? L’Atelier is a bit of both. You can go in the morning for a coffee, at lunchtime for bread with toppings, or in the evening for a craft-brewed beer. Very trendy, the place invites many photographers, illustrators or painters to exhibit their work. During the summer, enjoy the small garden hidden behind the building or the two tables on the small terrace, street side.


As from March 24, 2017, in the bar: Photo exhibition by Arnaud Ele



It’s one of the last independent cinemas in Lausanne. Hidden in a small alley, with two projection rooms and a hall that doubles as a bar, the Zinema could seem tiny compared to the town’s multiplexes. You could nevertheless attend eight screenings a day, from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, four screenings are programmed, between two services of delicious themed brunches. As they’re successful, you’ll need to book.

Zinema @MyLausanne

Now showing at the Zinema: Calabria, 1917: la vérité sur octobre, Pour le réconfort, Ouvrir la voix, Napalm, Les grandes traverses, Mise à mort du cerf sacré, Haarig (pile poil), Du côté sauvage, Romans d’adultes 1 & 2, La ferme des animaux


Bref Café

The concept is very simple: a tapas menu to be combined as you like, together with fresh daily specials. For the cultural aspect, there is a small exhibition next to the café, and a few themed evenings. Open in August 2016, the Bref Café may well become one of Lausanne’s trendy spots.

Bref Café ©MyLausanne


New rooms of the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts

What if an exhibition room could become a café? And what if that café was a work of art? Few had thought of it before, the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts (mcb-a) and artist Claudia Comte made it happen. Around this space and its furniture in a zigzag pattern, two rooms: the first is designed for children, with games and activities in designer cabins. The second is a kind of model room of the future Museum of Fine Arts, which will be located next to Lausanne’s train station. To be tasted: the chocolate-vanilla syrup, delish!

MCBA ©MyLausanne

MCBA ©MyLausanne


Until January 28, 2018: “Ai Weiwei. D’ailleurs c’est toujours les autres.”

Entrance to the museum is free until January 2018, before the mcb-a moves to its new premises.


Café du Port Franc

The Flon is the town centre’s modern district, with its new shops and clubs. But the district also showcases art and retro with its art galleries and second-hand boutiques. One of these, the Galerie du Port Franc, lets you drink an espresso brewed in one of the oldest coffee machines in Lausanne, dating back to 1961. At the Flon for 32 years, the shop offers you time travel to be experienced as soon as you can!

Café Port Franc ©MyLausanne

Café Port Franc ©MyLausanne

Café Port Franc ©MyLausanne


La Kantina

Most of Lausanne’s theatres have an area where the audience can have a snack before the play, and chat with actors after it. The Théâtre de Vidy is no exception, with its large foyer “la Kantina”. This place has several functions, depending on the time of the day. At lunchtime, it’s a restaurant offering a daily special and salads. Later, for some, it becomes a quiet café with a terrace and lounge area. For others, it turns into a co-working space with free wi-fi to come and read or work. In the evenings, you’ll meet artists between two performances. Finally, one sometimes stays there until the early hours, during special evenings, dotted throughout the season.

La Kantina ©MyLausanne

Now on at the Théâtre de Vidy: L’Avare de Molière, La Dernière bande, L’Âge des ronces, Guerrilla or Last Work.


Check the programme on http://www.vidy.ch/en