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Lausanne, I’m Sorry

Colourful Lausanne

Lausanne, I’m sorry; for I judged you based on my first impression, even though one must never judge a “book” by its cover. I threw in all my chips blind without even taking a sneak peek at the cards. I made my decision based on your looks, forgetting about the heart that beats inside. I… you get the idea right!

In my defence, Lausanne was the first city that I had visited in Switzerland, and it came as somewhat of a surprise.

Let’s start from the beginning;

Lausanne B&W

Lausanne Boats

Lausanne Buildings

Lausanne Architecture

The first few days, after arriving in Switzerland, were spent the lap of the beautiful Terraced Vineyards that border Lac Léman.  The freshness in the air that the lake brought along with the dramatic Swiss Alps in the distance was the perfect calm every vacation should begin with. Corseaux, Corsier, Vevey, all welcomed us in a delightfully natural way, and it didn’t take long to settle in.

Over the next few days, we took the Chocolate Train and visited the villages of Gruyere and Broc and then enjoyed the beautiful scenery in Gstaad, up in the mountains, where tranquillity ruled partly because it was off-season and the even those charming cobbled streets remained deserted.

Imagine then, suddenly visiting Lausanne; a busy “moving” city, with traffic, and people walking with determination, life in fast motion no matter where we looked. The stark change in the landscape, modern buildings, graffiti on the walls, the hustle and bustle of everyday living, made me treat Lausanne in an unfriendly manner. I was quick to disregard it, label it as unimpressive.

But, as the day went on, and the more I began to discover the city, its corners, treasures that hid among its urban look, and the Swiss charm still oozing in the architecture, the more I regretted my first impression.

Lausanne has all the Swiss qualities that one would expect from any place in the country. It might lack the traffic-free serenity of the mountain villages, but it presents a more vibrant and energetic lifestyle experience that spotlights a different side of the country.

Now, my initial judgment of the city could also be because we couldn’t get into the Michelin starred restaurant – that I had chalked out – at the spur of the moment. That left me disheartened, but besides the numerous food options of the highest quality, Lausanne has a lot more variety to offer.

Cycling - Olympic Museum

Take the Olympic Museum where you can easily spend half a day walking among memorabilia from the most significant gaming competition that takes place in this world. It’s a beautifully presented and managed museum to be explored leisurely and with a mixture of presentations, educational displays, infotainment, and activities, there’s enough for all ages to stay occupied – and in the process learn the significance of the Olympics.

As a tourist, if you have the Museum Pass (free with your Swiss Rail Pass), admission to the Museum is free. Walking through the Olympic Museum is a lesson in the spirit of humanity, determination, aspiration, and every other emotion that comes packed with competitive sports. It is as inspirational as it is a sight to admire and appreciate.

Lausanne City Views

There are a number of other museums in the city. But while you are at the Olympic Museum, why not take a walk along Lac Léman – wave at the passing ferries – and have a bit to eat or an ice-cream as the kids – if you have any – play in the many small playgrounds that are found all over Switzerland, or just sit, relax, and while away some time.

On another day, you may even come back and take the Ferry across the lake to Evian for a beautiful crepe-filled day in this French town famous for its mineral water.

Want some more fun locally?

Ouchy Metro StationThen take the Metro train from Ouchy up. Yes! It’s one of the steepest train stations you’ll ever find and leave you with a childish giddiness as you wait for the train to arrive or giggle as you hold on tight during the climb up, trying not to fall back.

Architecturally, Lausanne has a lot to offer. Like most cities in Switzerland, the old part of the town is filled with houses that tell stories, and small lanes where generations have lived and prospered. My favourite part though was the Lausanne Cathedral, a beautiful building in Gothic architecture where you can climb up to the top and get fantastic views of the city and an up-close-and-personal look at the structural design. The building is as spectacular from the outside as it is from the inside with its sky-high arches and stained glass windows.

Lausanne is quite a rich city, and a view from the top of the Cathedral gives a glimpse into how colourful the houses are, but it is while walking the streets that the real treasures present themselves in the form of fountains, street art, beautiful window shutters and the likes.

Cathedral Bell

Gothic Lausanne Cathedral

Place de la Palud

The love for art that Lausanne holds close to its heart is evident from the “art street” which makes it even more dynamic and exciting. However, we visited this area, not for the art but to witness one of the few – worldwide – glassed public bathrooms. It’s quirky, and the windows/walls do frost up at the click on a button, but if you ever want to pee (or poop) and feel frivolous – and live your paranoia of being watched – at the same time, then this is the place to be.

Lausanne isn’t without the customary Swiss “attractions”; a striking fountain here, a restaurant selling fondue there, but the Place de la Palud gets a little more traffic than usual as it consists of a fountain, and a clock that comes alive every hour. Nothing spectacular, but it is free to watch, and a lovely little place to relax in-between you shopping – in case you were wondering, this is where you get the cobbled traffic-free street as well.

Just like most villages and towns in Switzerland – or Europe for that matter – a weekly local market takes place twice a week and is always a brilliant way to not only support the locals but also experience everything that is available and unique about the region.

Street Art in Lausanne

It’s actually a different bookshop from the one I mention below

Last, but certainly not the least, Lausanne also happens to have one of few All English bookshops in the country and while it is adorable – think of it as a big room filled with wall-to-wall books – finding it and discovering some wall art en-route was indeed the cherry on top of my city walk.

Oh! And Books Books Books (that’s the name of the bookshop) has a wall filled with “second hand” books that they sell for only CHF 5,- each and trust me, that itself is worth a visit to the city.

Lausanne Street Figure

Lausanne - Olympic Museum

So, once again, I would like to say, “Lausanne, I’m Sorry.” For at first sight, you might come across as just another city in any part of the world, but behind this humble facade is something genuinely splendid, a love that breaks boundaries; respect for the arts, for travel, for beauty, and of course for the people that inhabit and visit you.


  • usfman
    Posted 8 April, 17 at 11:50 PM

    My wife and I loved Lausanne. Its steepness reminded us somewhat of San Francisco. It’s nearness to Montreaux also became a major plus when we attended the great jazz festival there.

    • Post Author
      Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 15 April, 17 at 3:58 PM

      I was there on the first day of Montreux Jazz Fest last year. Quite an ambiance. Lausanne really grown on you over time and yeah a lovely city.

  • Sharon
    Posted 15 April, 17 at 1:46 PM

    I love Lausanne becaused I lived there for 6 months as part of an exchange project. It was the best time of my life because I met incredible people and I love the city :). There is so much to do and discover.

    • Post Author
      Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 15 April, 17 at 3:56 PM

      It really grows on you slowly. Must have been amazing living there. Thanks

  • The Untourists
    Posted 15 April, 17 at 5:43 PM

    Quite a beautiful city, on second thoughts, isn’t it?

  • Danik
    Posted 17 April, 17 at 1:35 PM

    I felt the same as you. First time I went to Lausanne I hated it, but I went back and loved it. Love the lake side near Ouchy. So beautiful

  • thesanetravel
    Posted 17 April, 17 at 2:51 PM

    I love Switzerland but haven’t been to Lausanne yet. Your post just makes me want to see it. It has a lot to offer. I must admit your pictures are fantastic and give a very special feel about the place. Thanks for sharing.

  • gokulr27
    Posted 17 April, 17 at 10:41 PM

    When I read the title I thought Lausanne was the name of some woman. 😀 Lovely place by the way….I would love to visit that Olympian museum. This place does have many superb statues.

  • 100cobbledroads
    Posted 21 April, 17 at 4:21 PM

    You’re so right, we tend to judge a place by its first impression or the pictures we see on the internet. As we spend more time and dig below the surface, we actually start to ‘see’ what the city stands for, what its vibe is…and this sometimes is regardless of how much time we spend there. Lovely post.

  • Chiara Cisario
    Posted 21 April, 17 at 4:52 PM

    Love Switzerland, very much like the Italian Alps but I’ve never been to Lausanne, lovely post 🙂

    • Post Author
      Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 21 April, 17 at 6:00 PM

      Thanks and yes I can see similarities. Went to the Italian side for Matterhorn.

  • Bhushavali
    Posted 21 April, 17 at 5:41 PM

    I can’t complain! The only city in Switzerland I’ve been to is Basel and after seeing all the snow capped mountains of Swiz everywhere, heading to the ‘city’ of Basel which was as hot as London then, it was pretty funny!!!
    The Cathedral definitely looks gorgeous! The Museum pass is free with Swiss Rail pass? That’s news to me! Thanks for that info!

    • Post Author
      Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 21 April, 17 at 6:01 PM

      Yes, the Museum Pass is free with most variations of the Swiss Travel Pass. It includes close to 400 Museums across the country and saved us a lot of money.

  • Adrenaline Romance
    Posted 22 April, 17 at 11:53 AM

    Lausanne is actually beautiful. The old buildings with their garish colors is actually a delight to look at. And those sculptures look really cool. We would actually love to spend a few weeks there.

    • Post Author
      Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 22 April, 17 at 2:18 PM

      The region around it is especially pretty awesome and you can also take a ferry across to France easily.

  • Iza (@IzaAbao)
    Posted 22 April, 17 at 3:04 PM

    Lausanne looks picturesque. I am not surprised that the Olympic museum is located here. The cathedral’s architecture is majestic. I love the bookstore. Did you do some shopping here?

    • Post Author
      Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 22 April, 17 at 7:30 PM

      Yes, bought about 5 books and they even gave me a catalogue for a Penguin series I liked for free.

  • Mango Lady Diaries (@mangoladydiarie)
    Posted 23 April, 17 at 12:14 AM

    Lausanne is subtly beautiful. I haven’t visited it yet and I’m glad to get all the information here. Loved the museum and the book store. Thanks.

  • Wanderlust Vegans
    Posted 23 April, 17 at 4:46 AM

    Wow, what a beautiful place. I love the tree on the side of the building. This is the reason I LOVE travelling. Every place is unique in their own way. They may look similar to another place, but once you spend some time there, you learn what is beautiful about it.

  • Nisha
    Posted 14 July, 17 at 10:39 PM

    I love Lausanne. I have been visiting it on and off for 5 years now(And lived one year)! I love that it is a pretty young city due to the 2 big Universities. I love that. It is pretty diverse and very different from other traditional cities in Switzerland.
    I am so glad you found the bookstore. It is one of the very few ones that have english second hand books. So I was there often!
    And the Olympic museum, don’t tell me you don’t get goosebumps during the final video (underground).
    I am glad you have Lausanne a second chance. Because it might not be the typical Swiss city, it does represent the modern Switzerland. In action!

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