Lausanne, one of the cultural centers of the country, stands on the northern shore of Lake Geneva. The city is famous for the majestic Gothic Cathedral of St. Francis (1145-1275), towering over the old part of the city with its original houses and old bridges over the rivers Flon and Louve. Check loverists for more cities and countries in Europe.
A special subscription Lausanne Transport Card simultaneously allows you to visit two dozen museums and use public transport.
How to get there
Flight to Geneva, then transfer by car: 80 km in about 1.5 hours. Three to four trains per hour run to Lausanne from Geneva (from 22 CHF, 40 minutes on the road) and to the airport 26 CHF, an hour or a little less). One or two trains per hour go to Bern (from 22 CHF, 1 hour). More than 4 trains per hour – to Yverdon-les-Bains (13-24 CHF, half an hour). There is a left-luggage office at the station (CHF 6 per day for a small box, CHF 9 for a large one; open from 7:00 to 20:30, on Sundays from 9:00 to 12:30 and from 13:30 to 19:30).
Motorways connect Lausanne with Geneva and Yverdon-les-Bains (A1), Martigny (A9) and Bern (A9 then A12). Car rental companies Avis (tel. 021-340-72-00; Ave de la Gare 50), Hertz (021-312-53-11; Pl du Tunnel 17), Europcar (021-319-90-40; Ave Louis Ruchonnet 2) and Enzo Location (021-647-47-47; Ave de Beaulieu 8) offer car rentals from CHF 20 per day plus CHF 0.20-0.50 per kilometer, or from CHF 80 with unlimited mileage.
Buses and trolleybuses serve most destinations. Fare CHF 1.90 above three stops, CHF 8.80 for a 24-hour pass in central Lausanne. The metro connects the port of Ouchy with Gare (railway station) and Flon. The fare is the same as for buses. Not so long ago, a second metro line began to be built from Ouchy to Épalinges (the northern outskirts of Lausanne).
Parking in the center of Lausanne is a headache. In the Blue Zones you can park for free (for one hour) with a “time disk” available from the information office. Most white zones cost CHF 3 per hour with a 2 hour limit. The lower part of the Ave des Bains is one of the few places where there are free parking spaces.
To order a taxi, call 080 080 58 05 or 084 481 08 10. A short trip from the station to the hotel in the center will cost 15-25 CHF.
Bicycles can be borrowed free of charge from Lausanne Roule (tel. 021-312-31-09; Cotes de Montbenon 16) on the Voie du Chariot in the Flon district. Bicycles are available from 7:30 to 21:30 from April to October. As a deposit, you must leave 20 CHF and ID details. If you return the bike later, the cost will be 10 CHF and 20 CHF for each following day.
CGN (tel. 084-881-18-48; Ave de Rhodanie 17) operates ships from the Lausanne port of Ouchy in the vicinity of Lake Geneva. From late May to the end of September, it delivers to hotels on the coast, including on the French side. There are no regular ferry flights here.
More than 14 boats per day run to Even-les-Bains (France) in July and August (travel time 40 minutes). You can take a boat to Montreux (CHF 26, 1.5 hours) and Geneva (CHF 43, about 3.5 hours). The lake pass costs 60 CHF per day.
Entertainment and attractions in Lausanne
Lausanne, comfortably located on the shores of Lake Geneva, is the second largest economic and cultural center of Switzerland. The city is admired not only by the magnificent Alpine landscapes, but also by many interesting sights that are definitely worth a visit.
The main attraction of the city is the largest Gothic church in Switzerland – Notre Dame Cathedral. The construction, which began in the 12th century, lasted more than a hundred years. Beautiful paintings and statues, wooden choir stalls and impressive round stained-glass windows with images of saints have been preserved here. If you look at Lausanne from the south tower of the cathedral, you will have an unforgettable view of the city, lakes and mountains. The cathedral has preserved a unique organ with 7,000 pipes, which is considered to be the largest in Switzerland.
A short walk from the cathedral is another noteworthy attraction of Lausanne – the Gothic church of St. Francis. Built in the 13th century as a monastery church, the church was repeatedly burned and rebuilt, however, the building retained the main structure, the main feature of which was the columns that divide the nave of the church into five sectors, so parishioners and priests could be in different parts of the temple.
On Ripon Square there is a neo-Renaissance palace built in the 19th century. Originally owned by a family of Russian nobles, the Ryumin Palace resembles an architectural work of Italian art, decorated with lions and angels. Now there are collections of such museums as the Museum of Art, the Museum of Archeology and History, the Museum of Geology, and the Museum of Zoology. Perhaps the most interesting thing to look into is the Museum of Art, which displays expositions of Western European and Swiss artists of the 15th-20th centuries.
Lausanne, indeed, will pleasantly surprise lovers of painting and art. There are several museums in the city, where the most interesting collections of paintings are presented. For example, the Art Gallery in the Hermitage Park cannot fail to captivate with the masterpieces of Degas, Sisley, Magritte and other Swiss artists.
Take a short look at the museum – the Art Brut collection. This unusual museum contains a collection of paintings and sculptures collected by Jean Dubuffet. The most interesting thing about it is that the authors of the works are psychiatric patients, prison inmates, mediums and people with other mental disorders.
Be sure to visit the Ville Marche quarter – a piece of the Middle Ages in Lausanne with open markets around the entrance to the Old Town. Together with the historical center, they create a unique atmosphere, which you can fully enjoy at Place de la Palud, Place St. Francois and Place Riponne.
Entertainment and nightlife
In addition to historical sights and museums, Lausanne is famous for its upscale recreation and treatment centers, nightclubs. Swiss medicine has always been famous for its efficiency and high level of service – all this, combined with the unique climate of Lausanne, fresh mountain air, has made it a center of beauty and health. Here you can find many of the best spa centers in Europe, as well as cardiological, neurological and other clinics.
The Flon area is a mecca for young people, because there are many clubs and restaurants. Ouchy is a former fishing village annexed to Lausanne in the mid-19th century as a port for Lake Geneva. The amazing views of the lake and the Alps and the cool summer air have made Ouchy a popular summer destination. There are many cafes, restaurants and hotels in the port area. Sous Gare is an area that appeared in the 19th century in Lausanne between the territory of the current railway station (Gare CFF) and the port of Ouchy. It is mostly residential and buildings, but you can walk to the Café de Grancy and the park on Crêt de Montriond.
Activities and festivals
Lausanne has plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Water sports and, of course, mountain climbing are popular in the city. Cycling is also welcome, the picturesque surroundings of the Alps, Lake Geneva – everything pushes you to rent a two-wheeled friend and go on a trip.
There are enough wonderful parks in the city – the Hermitage, Mon Repos, Champs Elysees and Olympiysky – are very beautiful and, along with the embankments near the lake, are a favorite place for walking (the main form of recreation in Lausanne).
In addition, do not forget that Lausanne is practically a world center of sports, because it is here that the Olympic Committee is located. It is easy to verify this, just take a walk to the Museum of the Olympic Games in the Ushi area. Here you can look at photographs and film documents, see the collections of medals and costumes of various sports teams. On the top floor of the museum there is a cozy restaurant with a panoramic view of the city.
Every summer Lausanne hosts many festivals with different themes. So, you can come to a film festival or visit the Bach Festival, catch an enchanting show during the City Festival.