Food glorious food
Being on the French side of Switzerland, the food in Lausanne is impeccable - demonstrated by the record number of restaurants awarded various marks of quality including the Restaurant de L’Hotel de Ville de Crissier - the 3 Michelin-starred wonder that is on about every ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ list. If the ‘best in the world’ isn’t quite on the agenda for the evening, then the gastronomy from Anne-Sophie Pic will surely not disappoint. Reputed as the first woman to be voted ‘Chef of the Year’ by the Michelin guide, ‘madam Pic’ supervises proceedings at the gourmet restaurant of the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel. Equally as enjoyable, the charismatic, Edgard Bovier, serves his food in the sumptuous setting of the Lausanne Palace & Spa, one of Coco Chanel’s old haunts.
For those who love to mix food and festivals the Lausanne à Table is a foodie’s fine feast. Running from April to December, Lausanne turns itself into a gastronomic enclave where local produce, history and food inventions come together for the epitome of ‘joie de vivre’. From ‘culinary cook-offs’, ‘mealtime meditation’ and ‘vegetable desserts’ - including chickpea meringue – this festival is definitely one not to be missed.
There is no questioning the pleasure which evokes from the pursuit of lakeside leisure. Whether choosing to stroll along crystal waters, or taking part in various water-sports activities - the gaiety an engorged body of water delivers is always guaranteed. In Lausanne, choose to relax on board one of the Belle Époque paddle steamers; an elegant fleet of side-wheel paddleboats built in the earlier part of the 19th century. Surrounded by polished wood, brass and by-gone glamour, this is slow travel at its finest.
The prettiest part of the lake is the trip from Lausanne to Montreux, where the lakeshore is designated to a UNESCO World Heritage site for one special reason, its vineyards.
Known as Lavaux, and dating back to the 11th century, every possible square inch supports cascading terraces of vines, 10,000 to be exact. It’s the perfect backdrop to sail out to Chateau de Chillon, Switzerland’s grandest of castles.
Chaplin and the Chocolate Factory
Also a little further down the lake from Lausanne is the town of Vevey – a place where chocolate and Charlie Chaplin have interestingly made their mark - albeit separately and at very different moments along history’s timeline.
On the former country estate of the Chaplin family a whole new world around the man with the bowler hat can be discovered. A fascinating museum, Chaplin’s World, is where visitors can discover Chaplin’s private life as well as his inspirations behind many of his artistic works.
Vevey is also famed for being the birthplace of milk chocolate. Not surprisingly, it’s a chocolate lover’s paradise offering chocolate workshops, tastings and all things associated with that delicious russet hued powder. For those needing that extra bit of choco-lovin hit, visitors can spend the day onboard The Chocolate Train which brings visitors to the legendary Maison Cailler Nestlé in Broc, where the secrets of chocolate making are revealed.
A ‘Bolt’ of winning spirit
Home to the International Olympic Committee, Lausanne proclaims itself as the ‘Olympic capital’, and for good reason. Musée Olympique is Lausanne’s most lavish museum and an essential stop for sports fans and athletes alike. State-of-the-art installations recount the Olympic story from its inception to the present day through video, interactive displays, memorabilia and temporary themed exhibitions. And for those who have ever wondered what it’s like to race alongside the world’s fastest human, The Olympic Museum lets visitors sprint against Usain Bolt… well at least his record. A note of warning... all conquerors have yet to succeed!
Explore Lausanne’s trendiest neighborhood
Years ago, the Flon area was a little precarious. Now it has been completely renovated and gentrified. Old storage warehouses have been transformed into hip offices, fancy restaurants, bars and even cinemas. One of the most popular spots is MAD Nightclub – renowned as Switzerland’s biggest and boldest clubs. A former warehouse that has been converted into four levels of dance floors and a restaurant, this is the place clubbers go to be seen.
A journey from lake to mountains
They say women who live in Lausanne have the best legs in Switzerland, mostly due to the city’s abundance of hills – which, mind you, are wonderful for walking! Built on three hills it is not for no reason Lausanne is called the San Fran of Switzerland. For those, however, who aren’t quite up for the climb, opt for an impeccable journey from lake to mountains onboard one of the classic carriages of the GoldenPass trains. Offering a magical journey of old-world glamour, its hard to know which is more exciting – views of the impeccable nature outside, or the splendor and romance of the bygone era inside.
Grand Tour road trip
There is something wildly riveting about stepping into a Bond-worthy car - wind in the hair, sun on the back - whilst navigating the twists and turns of a gloriously landscaped road. Lausanne’s vistas of terraced vineyards, Alps and ancient castles all flanked by scenes of a ‘never-ending’ lake, are nothing short of mesmerising to say the least.
Grand hotels with fairytale pasts
Home to grand hotels with fairytale pasts, Lausanne’s selection of five-star luxury properties all enjoy magnificent views of the lake and Alps.
After a $100 million renovation, the grande dame, Hotel Royal Savoy, is now even grander, thanks to Katara Hospitality. Built in 1906 and originally serving as a haven for the Spanish royal family and King Bhumibol of Thailand and later for rock royalties like Joe Cocker and Phil Collins headlining at the Montreux Jazz Festival in the 1990’s, its massive reconstruction, paved the way for dramatic modern interiors by Maria Vafiadis of MKV Design, London.
Nestled along the lake, the belle époque marvel, The Beau Rivage is renowned for its finely appointed suites. A haven for beauty queens alike, the bathroom walls are clad in marble and mirrors with shimmery chrome detailing. A mirrored wall next to the bath opens up to the room so that guests can bathe in a thousand bubbles whilst overlooking the serene views of the lake and alps beyond the perfect recipe for offering that Lake Geneva high.