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Lausanne [28], (pron: low-ZANNE) the capital of the Swiss canton of Vaud, is a medium sized city (around two thirds the size of Geneva) which sits at the northern most point of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). The city is the host to the International Olympic Committee and two major universities. It is also the transportation hub of Vaud, and a gateway to the alpine Canton of the Valais, home to some of the best known ski slopes in the world.

As you might expect the large student population makes for a lively nightlife and arts community, revolving around the Flon district. You'll also find a number of quality restaurants and two dozen museums of note, including the Olympic Museum and the offbeat Collection de l'Art Brut. Architecture buffs should note that at the top of the old town you'll find the best preserved Gothic cathedral in Switzerland.

Lausanne is a French speaking city like Geneva. However, English is not as commonly spoken as in Geneva and less than half the population can speak English at a competent level. You will probably have trouble communicating with a commoner on the street but most service-sector employees speak a little English.

Lausanne's Cathedral as seen from the Grand Pont


There has been a settlement on the hill of Lausanne since at least the stone age, but most histories of the city trace its origin to the roman camp Lausanna which occupied a position just down the hill toward the lake in what is now the village of Vidy.

Relocated to more defensible hilltop in the dark ages, Lausanne's increasing wealth and importance were largely derived from its placement on the primary north-south routes between Italy and the north sea. It was the first major town north of the St. Bernard pass, at least until the establishment of the bishopric of Valais.

In 1538 the Bernese took the city from the Dukes of Savoy as part of their drive to secure their southwestern frontier. The Bernese held the territory until Lausanne gained its independence from Berne after the invasion of a French army under Napoléon Bonaparte in 1798. The city was later, in 1803, admitted to Switzerland as the capital of Vaud.

Lavaux, the mini region of the northwestern shore of Lake Geneva from Lausanne to Montreux (sometimes called the Swiss Riviera) has been a second home to writers, artists and musicians for about 150 years starting with the Shelleys and Lord Byron, who partied and wrote in Lausanne (Frankenstein is rumoured to have been composed here). Other famous residents include Ernest Hemingway, who wintered here with his young family around the time related in A Movable Feast and Charlie Chaplin who lived in Vevey from the mid 1930s on.

  • The Lausanne Tourism Office, at the main station, and in Ouchy at Place de la Navigation 9 just across from the M2 station. + 41 21 613 73 73. [29]. 9AM-7PM every day. The staff at the tourism board offices or over the phone can almost always place you in a hotel in your price range even at the very last minute. In addition they have a fantastic free map of the city and huge assortment of useful printed materials in English as well as French, German, and Italian.

Get in

Map of Lausanne

By train

Lausanne is served by one of the most efficient passenger rail services in the world, the Swiss Federal Rail [30] system. Trains run roughly each half-hour between 4:45AM and 1:30AM every day to and from Geneva, Zurich, Berne, Neuchatel, St. Gallen, Brig and points in between. There are four trains daily from Paris Gare de Lyon via the SNCF's [31] TGV "High Speed Train"", and 8 per day from Milan on the Swiss-Italian Cisalpino [32] (CHEEZ-al-PEEN-o). The Italian rail service also provides twice-per-day trains to and from Milan and night trains to and from Rome and Venice.

By plane

The closest airport, Geneva airport is served by almost all European carriers, and by four daily trans-Atlantic flights, one from Washington-Dulles on United, one from New York, JFK on Swiss, one from Newark on Continental and one from Montreal, on Air Canada; otherwise when flying from the U.S. you will have to change planes at your airline's hub airport. Trains between Geneva Airport and the Lausanne CFF station take about 45 minutes and run at least twice each hour, except for the wee hours of the morning. A full fare from Geneva-Airport to Lausanne is currently 25 CHF. Zurich airport provides an alternative, with more frequent trans-Atlantic service mainly via Swiss [33].

By bus

International buses arrive daily from Spain, France, as well as major cities in Central Europe. Many buses pass through Geneva or Basel before stopping in Lausanne.

By boat

Boats ply both the Swiss and French shores of Lake Geneva with several daily ferries to Evian (passport required to enter France), Montreux, Geneva and many smaller lakeshore towns. See the boat company website [34] for timetables and prices. Lunch and dinner cruises are also popular with tourists. Most of the ferries are meant as scenic trips and not the fastest way to get around. If travelling from Geneva to Lausanne, a boat trip is worth the time on a clear day.

Private boat tours and transfers from Lausanne to any port on the lake by Léman Transfers [35]. Groups of up to 6 passengers can be privately chauffeured around the lake.

Get around


The neighborhoods of Lausanne which are of primary concern to a visitor are the Cité, the Ville Marché, and the port of Ouchy. In between you'll find the Flon which is mainly a nightclub district these days, and the otherwise sleepy Sous Gare neighborhood just under the train station which boasts one of the best cafés in town. If you feel up for a hike it's also probably worth while to spend a few hours climbing around in the woods of Sauvebelin which is above and north of the Hermitage.

  • Cité This hill is the part of Lausanne's old town which goes back the furthest, and holds a lot of interest for travelers, being the site of the Cathedral, the Castle, MUDAC, several other museums, a children's theatre and a really good toy store.
  • Ville Marché The medieval city of Lausanne grew up with outdoor markets arranged around several of the entrances to the old city, together with the old city these markets make up the balance of the Old Town, including Place de la Palud, Place St. François, and Place Riponne.
  • Flon The original rail line into Lausanne once came up the Flon river into this valley, but there was no way to go through town, so it was supplanted in the 19th century with a line one ridge further south which could serve destinations in the Valais and Italy. Today the former warehouses of the Flon Valley are mostly occupied with trendy restaurants and discos.
  • Ouchy Once a fishing Village, Ouchy was incorporated into the City of Lausanne in the mid-19th century to serve as a port on Lac Léman. The incredible views of the lake and the Alps, and the cooler air in summer have make Ouchy a popular place especially in the summer months. There's a major cluster of hotels and restaurants around the port.
  • Sous Gare In the 19th century Lausanne expanded to fill all of the land between the current location of the train station (or Gare CFF) and the port of Ouchy. This is mostly a district of apartment buildings and houses, but it's worth a walk through, if only for the Café de Grancy and the park on the Crêt de Montriond.


Map of central Lausanne

Walking is a great way to get around Lausanne. There are a number of sites within a short walk of the main railway station with the largely carfree streets beginning right across the street with rue du Petit-Chêne, which leads up to Place St. François in the old town. Like many streets in Lausanne it is a bit steep though, so if that's a problem consider taking the Metro M2.


There are normally two Metro lines provided by Transports publics de la région lausannoise [36] which have their hub at the Flon Metro station. The new M2 [37] is a fully automated subway system connecting Ouchy to the northern suburb of Epalinges via the central station, Flon, and multiple stops in the old town. The M1 serves points west, including the University of Lausanne [38] (UNIL) and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne [39] (EPFL).

There is also a local railway operated by the private LEB [40] company, with trains connecting with the other two metro lines at Flon which run out to the far northern suburbs of Echallens and Bercher.

Beginning in 2008 a free metro and bus pass valid for two weeks will be provided to all Lausanne hotel guests.

Map of Lausanne/Ouchy

Metro (and bus) tickets are sold from vending machines at all stops, and at the main train station and the Flon. Normal tickets are sold by distance, as determined by a zone system. You can determine the number of zones your ticket needs to cover by inspecting the diagram on the ticket machines, or on the free map available at all ticket-sales points. Tickets are available for single rides, return, and in day and week passes. Most ticket machines at Metro and bus stops do not issue change. The CFF [41] Abonnement General rail passes are good for unlimited travel throughout the TL and LEB system.

If you have a CFF pass for non-swiss travelers you should ask at the main station if your pass covers the local transit system, since some passes do and others don't.

By bus

Clean and fast buses, also provided by TL [42], are very frequent and form a dense enough network that you will rarely find yourself more than a few hundred feet from one bus stop or the other.

By bike

Bicycles can be borrowed for 6 CHF/day with a 90 CHF deposit at Lausanne Roule, who has one location in the city center (just outside the Lausanne Flon Metro station -- the address on their web site is wrong) and one in the west-side suburbs in Renens. They are adding additional locations, including one in Ouchy. It is possible to take a bike in one location and give it back at the other one. A third location also exists in Vevey, but one-way rentals cost CHF 10.--. The bike ride from Lausanne to Vevey is beautiful. On your left are endless vineyards and to your right is Lake Geneva and the Alps. Get a booklet on this ride from Lausanne Roule for free.

Beware that the city is pretty steep, but the lakefront is very nice. There is a handy 1:10,000 'Carte Velo' printed in 2006 but still downloadable from the city website [43]. This map helps those new to the city find the preferred bicycling routes in the area. Throughout the city is an excellent network of paths, marked bicycle lanes, and bypass tunnels that will help get you through the most busy intersections. The routes by the lake are simply beautiful but can get quite busy with strollers, roller bladers, and cyclists at peak times during the summer.


  • Collection de l'Art Brut, Avenue des Bergières 11, Bus 2 (Toward Désert, stop at Jomini), Bus 3 (toward Bellevaux, stop Beaulieu), [44]. Tu-Su 11AM-6PM. This must-see collection of works by untrained artists will at turns delight, amaze, baffle, and irritate. Many of the artists whose works are shown here found life difficult or impossible outside (or inside) of institutions, finding solace and purpose in sometimes compulsive acts of creation.
The Palais de Rumine, home to a number of worthy museums
  • Palais de Rumine, Place de la Riponne 6. Tu Wed 11AM-6PM, Thu 11AM-8PM, Fri-Sun 11AM-5PM. Based on an Italian renaissance design, this lovely building is not as old as it looks. There are five different museums inside with exhibitions covering subjects ranging from fine arts to natural history.
  • Musée cantonal d'archéologie et d'histoire, +41 21 316 34 30, [45].
  • Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, +41 21 316 34 45, [46].
  • Olympic Museum, Quai d'Ouchy 1, +41 21 621 65 11, Fax: +41 21 621 65 12, [47]. From 1 May to 30 Sep: Every day 9AM-6PM, 1 October to 30 April: Tu-Su 9AM-6PM. The museum advertises itself as presenting "wealth of memories which will keep your passion for Olympism burning". The sculpture garden, overlooking Lac Léman, is open to the public. Closed on Mondays from 1 Nov-31 Mar. 14 Chf for the whole museum, 7 Chf for just the temporary exhibitions. Children get in half price. Children under 10 admitted free. Items on display include Jean-Claude Killy's ski boots and Carl Lewis' golden track shoes.
  • Musée Historique de Lausanne, Place de la Cathedral 4, +41 21 315 41 01. Tu-Th 11AM-6PM, F-Su 11AM-5PM. A collection of maps, images and documents about the history of Lausanne, and the Lake Geneva Region from the earliest times through the long Bernese occupation to liberation and the present day. A beautifully hand-crafted diorama of 16th-century Lausanne is worth a visit all by itself. 4 Chf, students 2.50.
  • Mudac, place de la Cathédral 6, +41 21 315 25 30, [48]. The museum of design and contemporary applied arts.
  • Musée de l'Elysée, ave de l'Elysée 18, +41 21 316 99 11, [49]. A world-class photography museum, located in a splendid park. Very close from the Olympic museum.
  • Musée Romain lausanne-Vidy, chemin du Bois-de-Vaux 24, +41 21 315 41 85, [50]. This Roman settlement site at Vidy has the remains of walls and a forum from the time of Caesar.
  • Espace Arlaud, place de la Riponne 2bis, +41 21 316 38 50, [51].
  • la Tour d'Ale, one of the few surviving parts of the medieval ramparts.
  • Fondation de l'Hermitage, Rte du Signal 2, +41 21 312 50 13, [52]. Tu-Su 10AM-6PM, Th 10AM-9PM, Bank holidays 10AM-6PM. Built in 1841 as a residence for the banker Charles-Juste Bugnion, the Hermatage occupies its own wooded space on the hill above old-town, with marvelous views of the Cathedral and the Alps. The family donated the house and land to the City of Lausanne in 1976, which now uses the building to host first class traveling international art exhibitions. Adults 15 Chf, Seniors 12 Chf, Students and unemployed 7 Chf, Under 18 Free.


  • Explore The Old Town, Take Metro 2 to the Flon, and either take the elevator up, or just cross the street. Alternatively, if you don't mind climbing, the car-free section of old town really starts right across from the train station, with a steep walk up the hill. Shops keep strict hours of 10AM-7PM Monday to Friday, and 10AM-5PM on Saturdays. On Saturdays year-round almost all of the huge car-free area becomes a vast farmers market. Thanks to the hills making it hard to pave over, Lausanne's old town is larger than most found in Swiss cities, with the notable exception of Zurich. You can spend days wandering the old cobbled streets and still not know all of its nooks and crannies. After the shops close there are dozens of quaint, cozy, hip, or just warm restaurants, cafes and nightclubs, especially considering that at Place Central the old town joins with the Flon nightclub/gallery district. Wander as long as you like, there's no charge of course.
  • Explore the Sauvabelin Forrest, north of the center (see map). Don't miss the freely accessible Sauvabelin tower [53], from which you have a 360° view on the lake, the Alps and the Jura. Then go down to the city center through the park of the Fondation de l'Hermitage (see above).CLOSED until March 2010
  • Enjoy the lakefront of Ouchy, Take Metro 2 to Ouchy, et voila, as you leave the metro station you'll find the lake (and on a clear day the alps) stretched out in front of you. The lakefront also offers restaurants, bars, and the Chateau d'Ouchy castle/hotel.
  • Climb up the Cathedral Tower. The view from the top of the Cathedral tower [54] is well worth the climb. Ask the nun at the souvenir shop in the Cathedral. From 10PM until 2 in the morning, a watch man shouts the hours, perpetuating a tradition that dates back to 1405.

Concerts and theater

  • Métropole, rue des Terreaux 9, [55]. A major concert hall for western Switzerland, the Métropole books dance, world music, pop, jazz, etc. If you are passing through town at the right time you might catch anything from the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra to the Cure here.
  • Espace de Terreaux, rue des Terreaux 14, +41 21 21 320 00 46, [56]. The local council of protestant churches has de-consecrated the chapel located across the street from the Metropole 2000 shopping center and now uses it to present weekly concerts with a mix of sacred and profane acts ranging from American gospel singers through Eastern European Klezmer bands to puppet theatre for children.
  • Arsenic, rue de Genève 57, +41 21 625 11 36, [email protected], [57]. Specializing in more offbeat acts the Arsenic books a full schedule of avant-guarde theatre, jazz and pop music, and installation/performance art throughout the fall, winter and spring.
  • Theatre de Vidy, av. E.-Jaques Dalcroze 5, [58].
  • Theatre Boulimie,Pl. Arlaud 1, +41 312 97 00, [59], the sanctuary of Swiss humor.
  • Theatre 2.21, rue de l'Industrie 10, +41 21 311 65 14, [60].
  • Les Docks, Av. Sévelin 34, +41 21 623 44 44, [61], live music and bar.
  • Le Romandie, Pl. de la Riponne 10, +41 21 311 17 19, [62], rock club and live music. See their web site for the programm.


Lausanne's Cathedral as seen from place de l'Ours

The usual Swiss trinkets are available in a couple of places around town, although they are not nearly as ubiquitous as in Geneva or Berne. The real draw here is a colorful farmers market on Saturdays and Wednesdays in the steep, winding streets of Old Town. There are plenty of boutiques and department stores as well. Note that pretty much everything is closed on Sunday, except in Ouchy, part of which is on Federal land.

Mixed in with the expected and the posh are a couple of things which might surprise you:

  • Maniak, Rue J.-J. Mercier 6, +41 21 312 58 40.
  • Pompes Funèbres, place de l'Europe 8, +41 21 312 58 42 [63]. The name of this shoe-store, a spin-off from Maniak above, means "Funeral Services", of course pompe can mean either a ceremony or a sort of shoe, so there you go. They carry all of the trendy lines; Dr. Martens, Camper, and others.
  • Coup de chapeau, Place Benjamin-Constant 1, +41 21 311 54 05, [1]. Mon: 13h30 - 18h30 Tue-Fri: 09h30 - 12h00 et 13h30 - 18h30 Sat: 09h30 - 12h30 et 13h30- 17h00. A hat store is pretty much guaranteed to be a bit of an anachronism in the 21st century, and so that's probably why there aren't very many of that. That's probably the reason that this little shop in Lausanne has clients from all over the world.
  • Boutique Séduction Lingerie, Rue Marterey 19, +41 21 312 39 10, [2]. The ultimate address in the French-speaking Switzerland. International brands: Chantal Thomass, Lejaby, Banana Moon and others. Special openings on request. Tue-Fri 10h30 - 19h00, Sat: 10h30 - 17h00


  • Kai Zen Restaurant, rue Pépinet 3 (near the Place Saint-François), +41 21 310 84 84, [3]. The restaurant, orchestrated by the Chef Stéphane Goubin, proposes a gastronomical voyage « Around the world » between Rome, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Bangkok. It is a non-smoking place, ideally located right in the center of Lausanne. 60 Chf + per person.
  • Ristorante St-Paul, Avenue d'Echallens 72, +41 21 544 73 91. Evenings except Sunday and Monday. Mathilde and Nazzareno Raffa, veterans of the pan-Italian kitchen at the Hotel Angleterre in Ouchy have made a big impression in Lausanne culinary circles with this perfectly authentic southern Italian bistro. Naturally the focus is, as in Puglia is on seafood, but there's plenty to keep vegetarians happy as well. Mathilde's English is perfect and her knowledge of Italian wines is nearly encyclopediac, so when presented with the wine card just ask her what she thinks.


The usual tricks for budget travel dining work in Lausanne as well. There's a grocery store ("Aperto") inside the train station which is open every day until midnight (a bit expensive),COOP PRONTO is in the station below the railways, near the lane 9, and it represents a good alternative. There are plenty of great places to take your picnic, for instance you might try the Crêt de Montriond. To get there go below the railways, take the stairs and go to the main avenue, then turn to the left. After the turn you should see a green hill around the size of a five story building directly in front of you. If you are closer to the port of Ouchy, there are two groceries open every day, "Migros" which is near the Mövenpick Hotel and "Coop Pronto", which is just uphill from the Chateâu d'Ouchy.

If you have a valid student ID, many budget and even some mid-range restaurants offer a student menu for a reduced price.

  • Manora, 17 Place St-François. A buffet style cornucopia just at the top of the steep walk up rue du Petit-Chène from the main station. There is also a branch on the top floor of the Manor department store with a nice view from the terrace in summer. The variety is good, and the prices don't get any lower. 10-25Chf.
  • P'tit Bar rue Louis-Curtat 6. Open every day until 7PM. Tiny, as the name would indicate this place can accommodate around 12 people at a time, and that's with strangers seated together at the tiny table, (it works out to be a good place to meet people.) They only serve lunch: salads in the Summer and excellent soup in the Winter.
  • Dhanyaa, 13, rue du Simplon (Near the southern entrance of the train station), +41 21 617 24 60, [64]. M-F 10AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Strictly vegetarian, and strictly take-away Indian foods. Very vegan-friendly. 12 Chf.
  • Crêperie d'Ouchy, 7 place du port +41 21 616 26 07 (near the Olympic Museum, next to the hotel d'Angleterre) homepage: [65] youtube: [66]. The oldest Crêperie in town with more than a 30 year old tradition. It is situated in a picturesque location on the lakeside with a beautiful view on the French Alps across the lake. It offers a vast variety of salty and sweet crepes which can satisfy demanding tastes of a wide range of clients. It is popular with locals, tourists and families and the terrace is always full. It is one of the rare restaurants in town to offer warm food all day long and also an ideal budget place to have a bite on the lakeside surrounded by expensive 5 star hotels. 12 - 25 Chf
  • Crêperie de la Chandeleur, 9 rue Mercerie (In the carfree section of the old town, between the Place de la Palud and the cathedral), +41 21 312 84 19, Tu-Sa 10AM-11PM. This cute little crêperie offers the crêpes in a homesy Breton atmosphere. If you are traveling with children this is a great place for lunch or dinner as you will be in good company with the owners and locals, and the kids can amuse themselves with the large collection of toys. 25-30Chf
  • L'Art des Saveurs - Chez Anna, Ruelle du Lapin Vert 1, +41 21 311 13 00, [4]. Anna Sivo-Librandi runs this little Italian Deli in the very center of the old city offering daily pasta specials, and espcially yummy (and not expensive) panninis and flatbread sandwiches.
  • Holy Cow!, Rue Marterey 3, Mo-We 11AM-10PM, Tu-Sa 11AM-11PM. Possibly the best burgers in Lausanne. Their "Elvis Blue Cheese" burger is rated the best burger in Switzerland by gourmet blog The restaurant sits about 30 but it gets rather crowded in the evening. But it's definitely a must try. 20CHF


  • Brasserie Les Trois Rois, Rue du Simplon 7, +41 21 616 38 22. Mostly steaks with pommes frites - but extremely good steaks. Vegetarians will find little to eat. The high end is mostly horse meat. It's packed with locals, few of whom were students. The restaurant is non-smoking after 7PM, and the kitchen closes at 10PM. CHF 30-40.
  • Café de Grancy, avenue du Rond-Point 1 (one block south of the main train station), +41 21 616 86 66, [67]. The Grancy offers a full dinner menu of substantial quality, which always includes a few good vegetarian options. The reason many travelers will want to visit however is to linger - outside of dinner hours - over a coffee and a book or newspaper, or to really catch the spirit of the place your still-unfinished master's thesis. It's as though the front door is some kind of science-fiction transporter which links it directly to Berkeley. 3.00 Chf for coffee, 3.50-4.20 Chf for a glass of wine or a beer. 16 Chf for the (amazing) risotto of the day.
  • Le Saint Géry, galeries Benjamin Constant 1, (021 323 36 36, New Belgian restaurant in Lausanne. Interesting menu, with a very decent selection of fish and seafood, most of it "Belgianized" and very very tasty. Sexy decor and friendly staff make it a good choice for a romantic dinner. Look at 40-60 Sfr for a good night out.
  • Poco Loco, Place Chauderon 5, also accessible from the Flon district off of rue de Genève. +41 22 329 11 11, [68]. So you probably aren't going to travel to Switzerland for the Mexican food, but if you get a hankering while you're there you could hardly do better than this noisy, popular, and fairly authentic joint which is attached to a Spanish-language cinema and a hip bar. The dessert menu offers a selection of Mexican cigars, tequilas, and of course sweets. Moderately vegi-friendly, they do have vegetarian fajitas and a "spinach wrap". 30 - 40 Chf.
  • Java, rue Marterey 36 (between rue Enning and Place de l'Ours), +41 21 321 38 37, [69]. There's something very welcoming about this little bar/restaurant that makes it a fantastic place to linger for a few hours before staying on for a dinner of one of Java's many gorgeously presented Mediterranean inspired dishes, or optionally one of the large selection of savory crêpes. Vegetarians will feel right at home. ~ 20 Chf for dinner.
  • Mövenpick,
  • Pinte-Besson, Rue de l'Ale 4, 1003 Lausanne, +41 21 312 59 69 (), [5]. M-F 8h00-24h00. Utterly classic French cooking of very high quality. Also serves as the neighborhood bar. 15-25 Chf (lunch); 30-40 Chf (dinner).
  • Le Raccard, Rue du Simplon 14, located in the Hotel a la Gare just below the train station, across the street from Brasserie Les Trois Rois listed above. They offer typical Swiss entrees, not fancy but made with care, at a very reasonable price. The owners are great, but when I was there a few years ago, their English was lacking. Make sure you sit outside, unless you are getting fondue, where the quiet Rue de Simplon has been commandeered into a sidewalk cafe. I lived next door and ate here 4 or 5 times a week. Try the Ostrich and the carrot salad!


  • Pur, Flon Valley (take Metro M2 to Flon, and walk through the flon valley past Café Louis). The upscale Italian cuisine in this large trendy all glass restaurant simply glows. For a real treat try the truffle ravioli. After dinner hours the bar crowd here leans very slightly gay, but there are usually lots of young hetero couples (and singles too) mixed in. In the summer the terrace, nicely insulated from motor traffic is a big draw for singles of all persuasions. Expect to pay around 50 CHF per person for dinner. The Pur also has free wireless internet.
  • MYO, 1 allée Ernest-Ansermet (in the park of Montbennon), +41 21 323 22 88. A high-quality sushi/fusion restaurant with a superb view of the lake and the alps. Vegetarians fear not! The creativity of the chef extends to non-seafood items as well. ~60 Chf per person
  • l'Accademia, 11 Place du Port (in the hotel Angleterre), +41 21 613 34 34. Very high-end Italian cooking in a warmly decorated room. The service is impressive, as is the wine list. Of course you pay for what you get. 60 Chf + per person.
  • la Table d'Edgard, rue du Grand-Chêne 7-9 (in the Lausanne Palais Hotel), +41 21 331 32 15. Known for inventive and subtle cooking and super attentive service, the Table has won a Michelin star, one of two in central Lausanne. 100 Chf + per person
  • la Grappe d'Or, rue Cheneau-de-Bourg 3 (under the Pont Bessière), +41 21 323 07 60. Angelika and Peter Baermann are the royal family of within the city of Lausanne, having received numerous awards over the years including a star from Michelin. The food is as creative as the restaurant is formal, with meat and seafood menus. Don't be surprised if you wind up dropping 200 Chf per person with wine.
  • Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville de Crissier, rue d'Yverdon 1, 1023 Crissier (Bus 18 Crissier-centre gets you fairly close, or take a cab), +41 21 634 05 05, [70]. The top of the top in Suisse Romande or possibly in Switzerland. Reviewers use words like "incomparable", "stellar", and "spectacular" when writing about the culinary stylings of chef Philippe Rochat. They have 3 (three) Michelin stars which is as high as the scale goes (and quite rare), and 19 (out of 20) points in the Gault et Millau (also quite rare). Consider reserving several months in advance. The Menu will run you 295-360 Chf, without wine.


The sheer number of nightlife spots makes it hard to choose which ones to list. As a general rule they tend to be clustered into nightlife districts, like the Flon, Place du Tunnel, Place de la Gare, rue Marterey, etc. This list tries to present one or two individual establisments from each of those clusters, plus a few which are a bit more off the beaten path.

The city's own official website has surprisingly good music listings, so if you would like to see what's going on during your visit give it a try.

  • Kai Zen Bar Lounge, rue Pépinet 3 (near the Place Saint-François), +41 21 310 84 84, [6]. Kai Zen Bar Lounge offers a vast selection of alcohol and is especially famous for its house cocktails. Every weekend - lounge, nu-jazz, funk & house music. Every third Wednesday of the month - After-Work Expat Drinks.


  • Le Bourg, Rue de Bourg 51, +41 21 625 07 07, [7]. 6PM - 2AM. A great place to see up-and-coming jazz and performance oriented acts from all over the continent. The place is a real theater with a tiny bar in front, and the booking is simply amazing for a room which can hold maybe 30 people tops, with acts ranging from French accordeon jazz or gypsy jazz to Coco-Rosie-like "new folk" to famed Chicago and NYC djs. You would not be alone in asking how they could possibly pull that off (a little bird mentions that they are underwritten by the city) 4 Chf.
  • La Bossette, pl. du Nord 4, +41 21 320 15 85, [8]. restaurant and bar, relaxed atmosphere, reasonable prices and good beer.
  • Café Luna, Place de l'Europe 7 (just at the top of the M2 Metro line), [9]. Open Tuesday through Saturday nights until 2AM. A jet-set place, Luna specializes in atmosphere. The place is at its best during the week when DJs spin the best in period and contemporary Easy-Listening hip. Weekend evenings tend toward standing-room-only, but what do you expect? There is a limited food menu, which includes a dozen or so Bruschetta possibilities. 3.50-7.00Chf for a beer or a glass of wine..
  • Bar Tabac, rue Beau-Séjour 7, +41 21 312 33 16. This friendly café has a huge selection of Belgian beers and French wines. The decor is understated hip, the climate is calm, and the clientele is a very pleasant mix. It also has non-smoking days.
  • Café Couronne d'Or, Rue des Deux-Marches 13, +41 21 311 38 17, [10]. Another fine place for a drink over your master's thesis, or a conversation with friends, the Couronne packs them in on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday evening. Cosy old bar in a small alley between Riponne and Tunnel. Sunday & Tuesday 4PM - 12PM, Wednesday 8AM - 12PM, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8AM - 1AM. Non smoking till 6PM.
  • Café du Château (Brasserie Artisanale), Place du Tunnel 1, +41 21 312 60 11, [11]. Open from 5PM every day. The Brasserie offers a number of beers made on the spot including a speciality, 100% natural ginger beer. They also have a kitchen offering a range of tasty pizzas at reasonable prices. Note the signs that say "service au bar", which means you have to order at the bar or you'll wait some time to be noticed and served. A pint of ginger (or other) beer will set you back 5 Chf, a pizza 15 Chf. Pizza and homemade beer until 4AM on weekends.
  • Bleu Lézard, rue Enning 10, [12]. The Bleu Lézard is a popular student hangout with a restaurant-café-bar upstairs and a dancefloor in the basement. There's usually live music on Wednesdays and DJs on the weekends. Perfect place for a late Sunday brunch. 4 Chf for a beer..
  • Le Lounge (Chateau d'Ouchy), Place du Port 2 (Near the end of Metro M. The Lounge is on the east side of the Chateau, facing the Vaudois Alps''2). Closed for remodeling. Will re-open in 2008.. ). The Lounge of the Chateau d'Ouchy hotel has comfy red sofas, and a few tables inside but the real draw is the terrace which in facing east has a magnificent view of the Vaudois Alps. On a clear day try to pick out the Rocher de Naye above Montreux and the twin towers, the Tour d'Ai and the Tour de Mayen above Leysin. The blinking light you see at night in the same direction is the restaurant on La Berneuse.
  • WhiteHorse Pub, av. d'Ouchy 66 (Just up the road from the Chateau). So many English pubs try to actually be English. This one is very Swiss-Romande and is possibly better for it, at least as a pub experience for the traveller who presumably would have gone to England to visit an English pub.
  • MGM, Rue du Lac 14 (50 meters east of Métro Ouchy), +41 21 616 38 81. A red storefront facing the lake and the alps, the MGM has two terraces: the usual sort on the sidewalk, and better yet a deck on the second floor which makes for a great place to relax and enjoy a drink while taking in the view of the Massif du Chablais in the lingering sunlight of a summer evening.
  • XIIIème Siècle, rue Cité-Devant (In the old city, behind the Cathedral). 10PM - 5AM. Claiming to be a bar for students this "13th Century" basement bar really gets going after midnight, when the other bars start to close. The dancing (and massive pulling) goes on until 5AM. A big plus: the very clean bathrooms are 21st Century, having been remodeled just a few years ago. Drinks are a bit pricier here than elsewhere though. 5Chf beer.
  • Le Lapin Vert, Ruelle du Lapin Vert (In the old city, behind the Cathedral), +41 21 312 13 17, [13]. Rock Bar. Beer, Sweat and Loud Music. Closes at 3AM on Friday and Saturday.
  • The Great Escape, Rue de la Madeleine 18, +41 21 312 31 94, [14]. Relaxed atmosphere, the place with the highest percentage of english speaking customers, big tasty hamburgers and fries, giant screen for soccer and rugby games, blind test on Monday.
  • Taco's Bar, Rue de Genève 17 (In a basement in the Flon. For the balance of 2007 it's a little tough to get there through all of the construction, but Taco's is open), +41 21 320 15 25, [15]. Pool and Live music, of reasonably large size.

To perhaps a surprising degree for visitors from outside of Swiss Romande gay nightlife is very well integrated into nightlife at large. Most Lausanne nightspots are definintely gay-friendly, and many have a mixed straight-gay barstaff. There are a couple of places though which either advertise themselves as gay, or just have a majority gay crowd rather than just being gay-friendly. If that's what you are looking for there are a number of such bars along the avenue de Tivoli.


  • Le Romandie - Rock club Lôzane, Place de l'Europe 1b, [16]. As a members-run cooperative the Romandie can offer just about the cheapest drinks imaginable in Switzerland, but the main point is the bands. The calendar leans pretty heavily toward hard rock and heavy metal they also book folk or other acts on a weekly basis as well as hosting friendly, late-night parties with djs. Another draw is the room itself: a former basement movie theater which also happens to be smoke-free in the main room during concerts.
  • Les Docks, Av. Sévelin 34, [17]. Located in an industrial zone, this room offers concerts once or twice a week, from French "chanson à texte" to metal (mostly world music, though).
  • MAD, Rte de Genève 23, [18]. One of the largest swiss dance club with international DJ appearances. Thursday RnB & student nights, Friday trance & techno , Saturday house clubbing, Sunday TRIXX & Jungle gay nights. Difficult to enter after midnight. Check local listings for details.
  • D!, Place Centrale, [19]. Dance club with international DJ appearances, occasionally concerts. Doesn't get started until after midnight. Check local listings for details.
  • Loft Club, Rte de Genève 23, [20]. House music on Wednesday, All Style/Student night on Thurday, RnB/Hip-Hop on Friday. Electronic music and international DJ's, from DnB to House on Saturday.
  • Atelier Volant, 12, Côte de Montbenon, [21]. Wednesday through Sunday until 4AM.. Offering three floors of entertainment including live Brazilian and Cuban bands, and salsa dance parties. The downstairs bar leans a bit more to Punk and Rock music. The new upstairs disco has a candy theme and a 25 and up restriction
  • Amnesia Club, Av.E. -Jacques-Dalcroze 9 (by the lake), [22].
  • Cult Club, Place Chaudron 18, [23]. House, RnB depending on the night. Over 28 y.o. parties on the first Friday of each month.
  • La Ruche Club, Rue de la tour 41, [24]. A very popular place to dance on minimal music, there's sometimes psychedelic trance. A strange place, attended by a lot of very weird kinds of insects. "On s'retrouve à la ruche!" they say.


Most of the hotels in Lausanne are in the mid-price range, though there are also a number of luxury hotels as you would expect in the city which hosts the International Olympic Committee. There are also a few cheapies.


  • ADA-Logements, Av. de Tivoli 60, +41 21 625 71 34, [71] A good value bed and breakfast with 12 rooms, with a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. 50/100 Chf.
  • Raisin, Pl. Palud 19, +41 21 312 27 56. This traditional inn still offers a handful of rooms just as it has for several hundred years. They've kept prices low by avoiding any suggestion of remodeling. 70/130 Chf
  • Jeunotel, Ch. du Bois-de-Vaux, +41 21 626 02 22, [72]. This hotel near the university and sporting complexes offers 55 Casual rooms aimed at younger travelers, with 6 rooms designed for the needs of Chaperons. Starting at 32 Chf. for a bed in a triple, 54/85 Chf Singles without/with shower.
  • Lausanne GuestHouse, Epinettes 4, +41 21 601 80 00, [email protected], [73]. Near the CFF railway station, thus absolutely in the center of Lausanne. It's in a nice 19th century town house. Place in a four-bed room starting at Chf. 36, Chf. 88 for a Single (with shower).


Eglise St-Laurent
  • Hotel Regina, rue Grand St-Jean 18 (In the old town. Metro Flon, Bus to Place Bel Aire), +41 21 320 24 41, Fax: +41 21 320 25 29, [74]. Desk open until 10PM. This cute little hotel is in a great location for exploring the old town and the Flon gallery and nightclub district. The staff is super nice, and they offer free wireless internet service to their guests! 84 Chf - 135 Chf.
  • Hôtel City, rue Caroline 5, +41 21 320 21 41, [75]. A nice well-kept hotel at the other end of pont Bessières from the Cathedral, and thus offering some magnificent views. 125-160/160-195
  • Hôtel des Voyageurs, rue Grand St-Jean 19 (In the old town. Metro Flon, Bus to Place Bel Aire), +41 21 319 91 11, [76]. Just across the street from the Regina, and offering rooms of a similar quality. 149-178/219-260 Chf singles/doubles
  • Mövenpick, av Rhodanie 4 (On the waterfront at Ouchy, just down from the Metro station), +41 21 612 76 12, [77]. The Swiss Ice-Cream and hospitality giant's Lausanne location is a very good value for the price, if you're going to spend that much anyway. There are three very good value (splurge quality, mid-range prices) restaurants downstairs to choose from. The main one offers fusion dishes and — a rarity for Europe — a good choice of California wines. 180-360/194-440 Chf singles/doubles


  • Chateau d'Ouchy, Place du Port 2 (across the street from the M2 Ouchy station), +41 21 616 74 51, [25]. It's a still a castle, freshly renovated. On the down side the prices have been elevated into the stratosphere making what was formerly a deal into a splurge. Of course it still has the magnificent view of the Vaudois alps. 270-440 CHF.
  • Lausanne Palace, rue du Grand-Chêne 7-9 (''next to park Montbenon''), +41 21 331 31 31, [26]. Reception operates 24 hours per day 365 days per year. This stylish 5 star just off of the old town offers superb views of the lake and mountains, and three different restaurants including the Table d'Edgard which has a Michelin star. Starting at 350/450 CHF. 2600 CHF for the presidential Suite..
  • Beau-Rivage Palace, pl Port 17-19 (''across from the Chateau d'Ouchy''), +41 31 613 33 33, [27]. The absolute pinnacle of Lausanne guest accommodations, the Beau-Rivage practically defines luxury. It's a perfect choice for delegations to the IOC, or for anybody whose boss is footing the tab. 410-680/470-780 CHF singles/doubles..

Stay safe

Lausanne, like most of Switzerland, is pretty safe in general. You are only likely to run into problems just outside of the entrances of popular dance clubs near closing time, when imported tensions sometimes show themselves. Name a conflict worldwide, odds are that both sides are represented among young people in Lausanne.

Stay healthy

  • CHUV [78] rue du Bugnon 46, +41 21 314 11 11 or dial 144 for emergency telephone assistance (in French). 24 hour emergency medical care at this the University Hospital of Canton Vaud.
  • Centre Médical de Vidy [79] (just off Maladière roundabout), Route de Chavannes ll, +41 21 622 88 88. Open for Emergency medical care weekdays: 07h - 23h and sat - sun 09h - 23h. You can just turn up!! Very quick service in this new, modern urgency center.
  • Hôpital de l'Enfance [80] rue Montétan 16, +41 21 213 77 77 or dial 144 for emergency telephone assistance. 24 hour emergency medical care for babies and children.
  • Hôpital Ophtalmique Jules Gonin, ave de France 15. For emergency on problem on the eye.
  • Pharmacie 24 SA +41 21 613 12 24. 8AM and midnight every day. This service provides for pharmacy service at one or more Lausanne pharmacies between. Call for the pharmacy open nearest you. Be ready to state your current address in French, or have someone at reception do it.
  • Pharmacie de la Gare, in the train station. If you are staying in the old town this will almost certainly be the pharmacy you are referred to by 24 SA at least until it closes at 11PM.


The city-owned power company, SIL, has now added high speed internet by cable to its C.V., and along with that has been installing totally free wireless access points around town, notably in Place Palud, Place St. François, the Flon valley, and on the hill of Montbenon near the casino. It's rare now to find a café in Lausanne which doesn't have access to one of these. As an aside SIL also provides a range of wines to those same cafés including a nice little Chardonnay, and a fairly bold Gamay. Neat huh?

  • Metropole 2000, rue des Terreaux 15-19, [81]. A multi-level shopping mall which was built as an add-on to the Metropole theater and tower has wireless access in each of its 3 food courts and 7 restaurants. Free
  • Shiva Cyber-Bar, rue du Grand Pont 10 (Metro M2 to flon), [82]. 6AM-2AM every day. Shiva is a nice enough bar to warrant placement in the Drink section above, and there's a decent internet cafe upstairs. The connectivity is usually quite good and although the machines do not have an ssh client installed there's no limit running programs off of the net. The catch: abnormally high prices on just about everything. 5 Chf coffee 8 Chf beer.
  • Fragbox, rue de la Tour 3 (in the center of Lausanne, one street above rue de l'Ale. Bus: Place Bel-Air). An amazing cybercafé and permanent LAN party. They speak English, Italian, German and Portuguese. 5.-/hour and goes down to 2.-/hour with coupons. It's a highly equipped center, with 35 computers. You can install any software you need.

Get out

One of the nicest ways to spend an afternoon anywhere is to take a boat from the port of Ouchy on the Lakefront of Lausanne to either Vevey or Montreux. The Steamboats of the CGN offer you an amazing view of one of the most gorgeous corners of our planet. On the left side of the boat you can take in the beautiful vineyards of Lavaux, and on the right side the Masif of Chablais, and the franco-swiss alpine giants, the Dents de Midi.

Here's a partial list of selected daytrips, in order of distance:

  • Lavaux - Terraced vineyards and one of the prettiest landscapes anywhere stretching between Lausanne and Vevey.
  • Vevey - A lovely city in a cove, and the corporate home to the Nestlé chocolate and food empire.
  • Montreux - The jewel of the Swiss Riviera
  • Evian - The French bottled water capital. 35 minutes by boat.
  • Geneva - The international capital by default, only 33 minutes by rail
  • Leysin - A laid back ski resort in the Vaud alps above Montreux, about 45 minutes by train.
  • Neuchâtel - The picturesque city on Lake Neuchâtel, about 45 minutes by train.
  • Verbier - A popular ski resort in western Valais, about an hour by train.
  • Berne - The swiss capital. 70 minutes by rail.
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