Two-headed and powerful, Lausanne sails along the lake towards a new future. This pretty Lake Geneva destination, once a welcoming land for crowned heads who came to seek luxury and discretion, has partly reinvented itself. In part only, because in Swiss time, metamorphosis is slow ... And there is no question for the city of the shores of Lake Geneva to give up its business: luxury. There are therefore two cities of Lausanne. That punctuated by novelty and crossed by an energy that electrifies a whole section, rather young and student, of the population. As evidenced by the Flon district, a bit trendy, whose location well seen in the heart of the city, is the buzz. We discover a hectic life, bars, galleries, trendy boutiques and tables,boosted by the presence of major institutions such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the fifty or so world sports federations (which have their head office in Lausanne), but also universities, including a famous hotel school and a research center with a worldwide reputation. The other face of Lausanne, in addition to an exceptionally beautiful old town, are the large hotels, luxury boutiques, renowned restaurants, Mercedes XXL and dream villas by the lake. A link unites the two: a very dense cultural offer. The Maurice Béjart company, the Hermitage art foundation and more recently Plateforme 10, the new fine arts district, testify to Lausanne's enthusiasm for culture. An explosive set, ideal for a city break. But beware,Lausanne is built on hills and the reliefs are quickly felt in the calves. So don't hesitate to use the bus-metro network, which works admirably well. To encourage us, each hotel, whatever its category, gives its customers a free transport card, valid for the duration of their stay.
The permanent collection of the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts at Plateforme 10 with here a work by Giacometti.
Philippe Viguié Desplaces / Le Figaro
At the exit of the station, along the tracks, stands the futuristic building of
the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts
inaugurated in 2019. The huge rectangle signed by the Barcelona architectural firm Barozzi Veiga, whose facade pierced with slats inevitably resembles a radiator, hosts the canton's rich art collection. We are received in the atrium of the museum by a work by Giuseppe Penone, a huge tree reworked like a jewel. In large rooms served on two floors by a vertiginous staircase, we discover some beautiful pieces of modern and contemporary art. Giacometti next door with Karel Appel, Cy Twombly with Christian Boltanski and Anish Kapoor… The museum also presents a collection of classical paintings, which cover the major trends in the history of art. We see, among others, two superb works by Nicolas de Largillière, but also a very beautiful portrait of Marie d'Orléans, Duchess of Nemours,painted by Hyacinthe Rigaud. Finally, we discover renowned Vaudois artists such as Eugène Burnand, who was Gérôme's pupil and whose monumental Taureau dans les Alpes, was presented at the Paris Salon in 1885. Plateforme 10, the name of the district, will be completed in 2022 d 'a design museum and a photography museum.
Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts Platform 10, 3, bis chemin de Mornex, 1003 Lausanne.
: +41 21 316 25 55.
The Flon district
The Flon district, poorly frequented for a very long time, is today one of the spots for nightlife in Lausanne.
Covering an area of 55,000 m2, it is the new fashionable arty district of Lausanne.
In recent years, we find this kind of place outside a city center, here it is quite the opposite;
the Flon radiates its energy and good humor in the heart of Lausanne.
Located below the Grand Pont, it concentrates addresses invigorating nightlife: shops, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, bowling ... Among them, we liked
Le Black Bird
(1, route de Bel Air; downtowndiner.ch), a place of intergenerational meetings with multiple activities, “afterworks” openings, readings and pop-ups. The cuisine and drinks give pride of place to local artisans, such as the Lausanne beer La Nébuleuse. The cuisine is rather international, meat from perfectly identified local producers meeting the requirements of a contemporary clientele. For a dish, it takes around € 14. The same spirit of a plural place, art gallery, bar and restaurant, blows through
(5, rue des Côtes-de-Montbenon; artishow.ch), where you can dine for around € 30. If you want to experience complete immersion in Flon, you have to spend the night at the Moxy hotel (3, rue de la Vigie 3; marriott.fr). This chic establishment of 113 rooms, at the entrance of the district, is classified in three stars. With its lively common areas and a bar and restaurant service 24 hours a day,
the Moxy is
the time for relaxation and youth, like its team of rather friendly animators. Millennials should like it (from € 110 per night, breakfast included).
Another must-see of the Lausanne party, the
(23, rue de Genève; mad.club.ch) was ranked in the top 100 of the best clubs in the world.
It was established in 1985 in a former hangar, which served as an underground concert hall, even before Flon became the trendy district we know today.
After buying land above Lausanne in 1814, the banker Charles-Juste Bugnion had a mansion built there.
In 1976, his descendants bequeathed the house and part of the park to the city of Lausanne, and a private foundation was created.
Perched on the heights of Lausanne and nestled in a superb park with centuries-old trees,
the Fondation de l'Hermitage will
celebrate forty years of existence in 2024. It occupies a 19th century mansion, received as a bequest from a wealthy Lausanne family, the Bugnions, from which a collection of very eclectic paintings of around 400 numbers has gradually been built up. Since its creation, the foundation has endeavored, in often fascinating exhibitions, to make known painters or somewhat secret donations, which generally escape the attention of the general public.
This is the case of the current exhibition dedicated to the painter Hans Emmenegger (1866-1940), of which we discover, from room to room, the original painting. The artist is part of the great pictorial currents of his time, but with subtlety and a predilection for the play of shadows, blurs and representations of nature of an incredible modernity (until October 31). The hanging puts more recent works in perspective, placed like intruders throughout the exhibition, which is rather daring. To come, the discovery of the Treasures of the Fondation des Treilles (from January 21 to May 29, 2022). It is about presenting the very private collection of Anne Gruner Schlumberger (Braque, Dubuffet, Klee, Ernst, Picasso, Léger…). Within the foundation,the park is open to the public free of charge and offers beautiful walks and a superb view of the cathedral and the lake. We go to the foundation of the city center by bus n ° 16. We can walk there by multiple stairs but it is quite long and it goes up a lot…
Fondation de l'Hermitage, 2, route du Signal, 1018 Lausanne.
: +41 21 320 50 01.
The Olympic Museum
Located on the heights of the Quai d'Ouchy on the shores of Lake Geneva, the Olympic Museum houses permanent and temporary exhibitions around sport and the Olympic movement.
Bumble Dee / stock.adobe.com
As the historic seat of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Lausanne had to have a museum dedicated to Olympism. Built in 1994, in Ouchy, by the lake, in an ultra-contemporary glass and concrete architecture, the museum houses the IOC collection, made up of historical pieces from Antiquity to Pierre de Coubertin, but also outfits for champions and objects linked to the Olympic imagination, like all the torches of the flame. In a riot of technological means, sometimes spectacular, here we relive the history of the Olympics. You can even learn about giant slalom, thanks to extremely well-made simulators. The visit of the place is made fascinating by the responsiveness of the museography which makes it a very appropriate family activity. Even those who are bored by sport ... will not be bored.Little by little, we let ourselves be won over by the Olympic spirit, the values of which the museum praises. The trophy room, where the complete medalist in the history of the Olympic Games is displayed, put into perspective with films retracing the victories of champions, is particularly moving. On the roof of the museum, a panoramic restaurant has been set up with a breathtaking view of Lake Geneva.
The Olympic Museum, 1 quai d'Ouchy 1, 1006 Lausanne.
: +41 21 621 65 11. From 9 am to 6 pm all year round (Tuesday to Sunday) closed on Mondays (except bank holidays), December 24, 25, 31 and January 1.
The facade of the Lausanne Palace, icon of the Swiss hotel industry.
Lausanne Palace / Press photo
They are the heritage of the city just as much as one of its reasons for being. They owe their constructions to the need to welcome in the 19th century the first English tourists to go to the Swiss Riviera, which Lord Byron had introduced them to. Rare destinations have as many palaces as Lausanne. Three historic hotels, which you do not visit, in which you can go for a drink, lunch or dinner, which allows you to admire the architecture and decorations of the Belle Epoque. Their style is often different but the monumentality of the building gives a certain unity to these three establishments. The most beautiful remains the
at the port of Ouchy and as close as possible to the lake, from which the establishment is separated by a lush garden.
Going up towards the city center, halfway up, stands the elegant facade of the
surmounted by an enormous bell tower, a small masterpiece of Art Deco.
Finally, in the heart of Lausanne, near the Flon and the train station, we find the
, an institution whose lobby bar, very popular with locals, is the liveliest of the three palaces.
Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel, 21 chemin de Beau-Rivage, 1006 Lausanne.
: +41 21 613 33 33.
Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne, 40 av.
d'Ouchy, 1006 Lausanne.
: +41 21 614 88 88.
Lausanne Palace, 7-9 rue du Grand-Chêne, 1002 Lausanne.
: +41 21 331 31 31.
Read alsoHotel Le Château d'Ouchy in Lausanne, the expert opinion of
A steamboat ride
The Compagnie Générale de Navigation operates the most prestigious Belle Époque fleet in the world.
CGN / Press photo
In a cloud of steam, from the port of Ouchy, a long steam-powered wheeled boat soars out several times a day, one of the pride of Lausanne, as well as a historical monument.
It connects Lausanne to Vevey, the tip of the lake, and sometimes makes circles in the water for lunch or dinner.
The approximately two-hour “Lavaux Tour” walk is of rare beauty as it runs along the coast to the Château de Chillon, discovering a coastline rich in luxury villas.
On board the boat "La Suisse", completely renovated in 2009 with two decks, first and second class, a bar and a few curiosities such as an engine room from which one dominates the impressive set of pistons, identical to what it was in the XIXth century.
Compagnie Générale de Navigation.
The Lavaux vineyard
The Lavaux vineyard, directly above Lake Geneva, about ten minutes from Lausanne, offers superb walks. Lydie Nesvadba
Eight hundred and ninety-eight hectares of vines make up this vineyard dominated by Chasselas, a grape variety that produces, associated with Gamay, in particular, a rather famous red and white wine. The vines, about ten minutes from Lausanne, line the steep hills directly above the lake. Discovering this vineyard, which UNESCO has classified as a World Heritage Site, ensures beautiful walks on roads which we sometimes wonder how they can exist, so much their paths seem acrobatic. The Lavaux wine is characterized by having escaped investors and belonging to families of winegrowers, with roots so deeply rooted in the history of the terroir. One of them, at the origin of the Gaillard et Fils house, fourth generation, welcomes on a terrace, in the middle of the vines,visitors for tastings extended by walks in Lavaux. Accompanied by mainly local products, bought from neighboring farmers, we taste this top wine in front of an extravagant panorama! Puidoux station, ten minutes from Lausanne, takes you 700 meters from the farm, which can be reached by a pretty walk.
Vin Gaillard, 11, chemin du Mont, 1098 La Cornallaz-Epesses.
: +41 21 946 19 65.
Read alsoWalking in Switzerland, on the Vaud Riviera from Montreux to Lausanne
By TGV-Lyria direct to Lausanne, from Paris (4 hours), Dijon, Dôle and Frasnes, tgv-lyria.com.
By plane to Geneva from Paris and the provinces (airfance.fr, swiss.com, easyjet.com ...), then by regional train cff.ch (40 minutes, station under the airport).
Lausanne Tourisme, tel .: +41 21 613 73 73, lausanne-tourisme.ch and myswitzerland.com