After the year 2021 without visiting my sister Florence in Zug in Switzerland, I finally returned to the Confoederatio Helvetica in March 2022. I stayed over a week. More than a family visit, I organised an excursion to French-speaking Switzerland, also known as Romandy to visit Maxime and the vineyards of Lavaux in the canton of Vaud, near Lausanne. I also booked a journey on the world-famous Glacier Express from Sankt Moritz to Brig. Furthermore, I looked for a nice way in and out. The ÖBB Nightjet night train from Amsterdam to Zurich and the voyage home via Lyon in France.
A week in Switzerland for my sister offered opportunities for excursions further away. As I hadn’t really explored Romandy yet beyond the GoldenPass Line and my youth skiing in Anzère in the canton of Valais (Wallis). And Maxime works from Lausanne, I decided to go there. Also, it’s near the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lavaux.
Lausanne is the capital and largest city of the Swiss canton of Vaud. It is a hilly city, situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, about halfway between the Jura Mountains and the Alps, and facing the French town of Évian-les-Bains across the lake. Lausanne is located 62 kilometres (38.5 miles) northeast of Geneva, its nearest larger neighbour.
The municipality of Lausanne has a population of about 140,000, making it the fourth largest city in Switzerland after Basel, Geneva, and Zurich, with the entire agglomeration area having about 420,000 inhabitants, as of January 2019.
The metropolitan area of Lausanne-Geneva, including Vevey-Montreux, Yverdon-les-Bains, Valais and foreign parts, commonly designated as Arc lémanique was over 1.3 million inhabitants in 2017 and is the fastest growing in Switzerland.
Initially a Celtic and Roman settlement on the shores of the lake, Lausanne became a town at the foot of Notre Dame, a cathedral built in the 12th century.
In the 20th century, Lausanne became a focus of international sport, hosting the International Olympic Committee, which has recognized the city as the ‘Olympic Capital’ in 1994), the Court of Arbitration for Sport and some 55 international sport associations.
It lies in a noted wine-growing region. The city has a 28-station metro system, making it the smallest city in the world to have a rapid transit system. Lausanne hosted the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.
On day 1, Maxime started by showing me the Métro de Lausanne. From the Croisettes metro station, we walked to the Tour de la Sauvabellin for an overview of the city.
On on our walk down, we encountered
- the Château Saint-Maire;
- the Parc Mon Repos;
- the Casino de Monbenon;
- the cantonal hospital CHUV;
- the Cathédrale Notre-Dame;
- the St. Francis’ Church or Église de Saint-François;
- the Tribunal Adminstratif Fédéral or Federal Administrative Court.
In the evening, we had dinner with his friends and colleagues Arno and Thomas in Ouchy, Lausanne’s waterfront area.
On day 2, Maxime and Sydney took me to the Lavaux vineyards. After that hike, we had cheese fondue – what else? – at Le Chalet Suisse near the Parc de la Sauvabellin. Le Chalet Suisse started life as the official Swiss restaurant at Brussels‘ Expo 58 World Exhibition in 1958.
Thereafter went to the Tour de Gourze in Bourg-en-Lavaux and the beach of Rivaz and. From there, we went back to Ouchy.
In Ouchy we did wat Lausannois do on a sunny Sunday: stroll by the lake, encountering
- the Stade Pierre de Coubertin;
- the Olympic Museum;
- the Esplanade des Cantons with the Pyramides de Vidy;
- the Roman archeological site of Lousanna.
Afterwards Maxime took me back to the hotel, passing Riponne and the Palais de Rumine.
I’d recommend Lausanne for a two or three-day weekend. At Lausanne and its vicinity.