Insider Guide to Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne is the second largest city on Lake Geneva. It is also where you will find the Swiss High Courts of Justice (the highest court of appeal in the country) and the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. The famous Hotel Management School (EHL) is also based in Lausanne. With 36 hectares of vineyards spread across five estates, the city of Lausanne is the largest public vineyard owner in Switzerland. Built on several hills rising in tiers from the lake, Lausanne encompasses the former fishing village of Ouchy, now a lakeside resort. The port of Ouchy is home to many excursion ships.

Lausanne overlooking Lac Leman and the Alps

Lausanne overlooking Lac Leman and the Alps

Lausanne’s steep hills and multiple layers require strenuous walking to get from place to place, but buses are plentiful. And a funicular, which is the only metro in Switzerland, connects the lakeside area of Ouchy with the main railroad station and the old town.

What to See and Do in Lausanne

Notre Dame Cathedral, built in 1175, is one of the most beautiful Gothic structures in all of Europe. The cathedral’s doors and facade bear ornate sculptures and bas-reliefs. The rose window, famed for its beauty, dates from the 13th century.
Place de la Cathédrale
1005 Lausanne
Tel: 0 21 316 71 61

Notre Dame Cathedral Lausanne

Notre Dame Cathedral Lausanne

Ale Tower
Built in 1340 during a major campaign to reinforce the city’s defense system, it controlled access to the district below.

The Olympic Museum provides a comprehensive overview of the history and evolution of the Olympic movement through permanent and temporary exhibitions. It also features the largest collection of commemorative Olympic coins, medals, stamps, and torches.
1, Quai d’Ouchy
CH-1001 Lausanne
Tel: 0 21 621 65 11

The Elysée Museum is completely dedicated to photography, and houses an important collection of photographs by Gabriel Lippman and a representative selection of important works by Francis Frith, Robert Capa, John Phillips and Mario Giacomell, and more. There are themed exhibitions and historical retrospectives, where the work of famous photographers and young talents is displayed side-by-side.
18, av. de l’Elysée
1014 Lausanne
Tél. +41 (0)21 316 99 11

The mu.dac is the only museum for contemporary applied arts in the French part of Switzerland. Its main activity is to organize temporary exhibitions of graphic design, illustration, design, architecture and landscaping, fashion and ceramics, stained glass and textiles. The exhibitions are eclectic and lay emphasis on modern expression in Switzerland and throughout the world.
6, Pl. de la Cathédrale
1005 Lausanne
Tél: 0 21 315 25 30

Fondation de l’Hermitage (Hermitage Foundation)
Located in a magnificent building, the Hermitage Foundation hosts temporary exhibitions of paintings and sculptures from 1850 to 1920, focusing on impressionism and French art.
2, route du Signal
Case postale
1000 Lausanne 8
Tél: 0 21 320 50 01

Fondation Hermitage

Fondation Hermitage

Boat Excursions
Take a boat excursion on Lake Geneva or as the locals call it Lac Leman. There are several tourist boats including some Belle Epoch paddle boats and some modern vessels where you can enjoy a truly unforgettable cruise on this glorious lake.
Compagnie Générale de Navigation
Av. de Rhodanie 17
1007 Lausanne
An interesting half-day or day excursion from Lausanne is to visit the Watch Valley with its various Watch Museums and thus to explore the region of Swiss Watch making.

Boat excursion on Lac Leman In Switzerland

Boat excursion on Lac Leman In Switzerland

Restaurant Recommendations in Lausanne

Restaurant de Hotel de Ville Crissier $$$$
This excellent restaurant located in the little town of Crissier on the outskirts of Lausanne is known for its healthy cuisine, using the highest quality ingredients, careful preparation and the blending of flavours. You will find no artificial ingredients in the preparation of your meal.
Rue d’Yverdon 1
CH-1023 Crissier
Tel: 0 21 634 05 05

le-cerf.jpgLe Cerf $$$$
Chef Carlo Crisci lovingly prepares dishes which are true works of art, creations constantly updated to the seasons often based on wild herbs and roots.
Rue du Temple 10
CH-1304 Cossonay-Ville (Vaud)
Tel: 0 21 861 26 08

Auberge du RaisinAuberge du Raisin $$$
This gourmet restaurant offers seasonal compositions prepared by Chef Blokbergen and his team to bring out the best flavor of each ingredient awakening all your senses.
1, place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville
CH-1096 Cully
Tel: 0 21 799 21 31

Hostellerie les ChevreuilsHostellerie les Chevreuils $$
Fresh and authentic regional ingredients prepared with flair and creativity sets thisrestaurant apart. A wine cellar with more than 200 choices is a plus.
1000 Lausanne 26
Tel: 0 21 784 20 21

La Creperie d’Ouchy $
Inexpensive and delicious crepes, sweet and savory make for a great lunch or snack.
Avenue d’Ouchy

The Cafe Romand $
An old brasserie located in the center of town serves the cuisine of the region. Inexpensive.  The menu du jour is always great and even less expensive.
Place St-François 2
Tel: 0 21 312 63 75

 Written by Terri Fogarty for

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