What to do with a long weekend in Lausanne, SwitzerlandBy Cotswold Life
If you visit the often overlooked city of Lausanne, you may be surprised by how much the French-speaking Olympic capital can offer. We discovered the perfect way to spend a long weekend in the breathtaking city of Lausanne.
Originally built in its hilly location under defensive necessity, modern day Lausanne commands stunning views over Lake Geneva and the Alps beyond. But pretty views and history isn’t all that this charming city has to offer. It’s no wonder Lausanne has been the secret hideaway for celebrities from Coco Chanel to David Bowie.
Midday: Check your luggage into the Royal Savoy Hotel before heading straight back out for lunch at unassuming local bistro Café de Grancy on Avenue du Rond-Point. Order a bottle of J&M Dizerens’ Calamin Grand Cru “La Béguine” and realise that you’ve been missing out on Swiss wine for your whole life.
2pm: Explore the surrounding alleys, popping into boutiques around Ouchy as you go. Visit the chocolatier Durig and indulge in some inventive chocolate truffles including the sumptuous passionfruit caramels.
4pm: Take a dip in the pool back at the hotel and enjoy some luxurious spa facilities.
6pm: Head down to the waterfront via metro or on foot in time for the CGNgourmet sunset river cruise. Expect breathtaking views across the vineyards in one direction and the Alps in the other as you settle down for a three course dinner – with plenty of wine of course!
9pm: After dinner, the short walk back to the hotel is a welcome digestif. Enjoy the luxurious showers at the Savoy and have an early night.
8am: The buffet breakfast at the Royal Savoy is everything you need from a morning meal.
10am: Take a guided tour of the city. See the old city and soak in some history before walking up to Lausanne Cathedral. Upon entering, it won’t take long to notice the gargantuan 7000-pipe organ which is used for concerts throughout the year. From the cathedral, take in the unbelievable views over the city and beyond to the Lake before winding down the pretty side streets to the market below. Explore the fruit stands and local artisanship on display.
1pm: Take the metro out of Lausanne to the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces. A designated World Heritage Site for ten years, this is a picturesque spot to enjoy some wine tasting at Domaine Croix-Duplex, Simon & Maude Vogel winemakers. The grapes that go into the wines have been matured with sunshine bouncing from the lake, from the sky and from across the vineyards which give the wine a unique, delicious taste. Grab a couple of bottles to take back home with you (because Switzerland only exports a tiny percentage of its wine – meaning it’s really difficult to find!).
3pm: More shopping! After heading back into the city (with arms full of wine), make a drop off at the hotel before wandering through some boutiques. With everything from French-style pharmacies and luxury stores to hand-weaved basket shops and delis packed with Swiss cheese, chocolate and wine. There is a groundbreaking art museum showcasing pieces from artists in mental health institutes, or visit the photography museum.
7pm: After freshening up back at the hotel, there’s a charming restaurant called Café du Grutli on Rue Mercerie. Order a dry cured meat platter to start and a bubbling cheese fondue made with Gruyere cheese, cherry Kirsch and white wine. Spend a warm evening watching the twilight dog walkers pass by.
9pm: Night life is varied too with cosy wine bars or roof top venues for young party-goers. Try the unassuming yet sophisticated Vintage Wine Bar for a relaxed evening or Le Comptoir to dance the night away.
8am: Breakfast round two. Fill up on pastries, cheeses and fresh fruit.
10am: Take the lakeside walk to the Musée Olympique, the Olympic Museum on Quai d’Ouchy. Even those who aren’t into sport will find the photographs and historic ephemera fascinating when put into an artistic context. Plaques are written in English so you can take your time exploring the annals of Olympic history at your own pace.
12pm: Right next to the water’s edge is La Jetée de la Compagnie, health food and yoga spot serving healthy brunches that will keep you going until the afternoon flight home.
Visit the Lausanne Tourisme website for more information to help you plan your trip to Lausanne