The “Olympic Capital” is a must on your itinerary to Switzerland.
The capital of the Canton Vaud, Lausanne (loh-ZAHN) is the second largest city on Lake Geneva and is also known as the “Olympic Capital” of Switzerland. Home to several universities, museums, fine dining, and lovely lake vistas, this city is worth a visit. As host to the International Olympic Committee and home to the Olympic Museum on the shores of breathtaking Lake Geneva, hundreds of visitors flock to this international archive of the Olympic Games. The town is divided into roughly two main parts. The lakefront Ouchy (oo-she), with the relaxing shoreline and the well-known Olympic Museum. And the old town district, divided into roughly two sections. The true old town or vieille ville, near the Cathedral, and the city center, or centre-vieille, with its many hotels and restaurants.
Being relatively car-free, old town is the place to walk and browse amongst the various shops but be aware, the steep inclines dictate a good pair of walking shoes. For those opting for public transportation, Switzerland’s only metro easily connects the various parts of Lausanne. Another option for exploring the lovely vineyards and sweeping vistas surrounding Lausanne is the quaint train ride on the Lavaux Express. (www.lavauxexpress.ch) For those who prefer a leisurely cruise along the shoreline, a boat ride on picturesque Lake Geneva may be just the thing to do. By foot, boat or train, there are plenty of options for exploring the city.
The Royal Savoy, with its 196 rooms, 37 suites and junior suites and even a private floor provides an excellent place to stay. Its brand new infrastructure, and an investment of more than 100 million Swiss francs, this 5-star hotel has recently reopened its doors with great style and charm. This lovely resort also features ample conference room space, a world class spa, and fine dining. All of these world class features make the Savoy a prime choice for accommodations while staying in Lausanne.
The Savoy is within walking distance of the lovely lakeside promenade, the Olympic Museum and the Museum de l’Elysee (the only Swiss museum entirely devoted to photography). For more information click here:www.royalsavoy.ch
Towering above the masses, the largest Evangelical Reform Church in Switzerland, the Lausanne Cathedral is a notable reminder of the struggle between heaven and earth and is must stop on the tourist agenda. Upon entering, your eyes are drawn to the ornate pipe organ designed to look like large angelic wings. It was installed in 2003, after an American firm, Fisk, won the commission on the 4 million dollar project.
The stunning rose window is the only surviving 13-century glass that once housed the Catholic Church. The Church once dedicated to Mary, was stripped of much of the religious iconography during the Reformation period. Reminiscent of the Middle Ages, the church also hosts the only living night watchman in Switzerland who nightly calls out the hours between 22:00 and 2:00 am. The Cathedral does hold services and special events and is open to the public free of charge. Check schedules and times for public viewing at: http:// www.cathedrale-lausanne.ch.
The Olympic Museum and Park (Le Museeet Park Olympique) is well worth visiting for an afternoon excursion. In 1894 Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee. He believed that learning to respect other nations through athletic competition, as represented in ancient Athens, was a way to promote world peace and good will.
The museum pays tribute to the vision of Coubertin and the men and women who have given their lives in pursuit of Olympic gold. The venue showcases the history of the Olympic Games and all things related to the games. Athletic costumes and equipment, historic photographs and video capture the iconic moments of Olympic history.
For a quick snack or a leisurely lunch or dinner, the TOM café located on the third floor provides healthy dining choices and libations for museum goers. Adjacent to the café is “Destination Rio: The Games”, for everything you need to know about the summer Games in Rio. This exhibition will evolve over time depending on Olympic news. From ancient Greece to the present day, the Olympic museum is a wonderful memoriam to the athletes, trainers and organizers, of the Olympic games. For more information visit : www.olympic.org/museum
Walking around this iconic city can make you hungry and thirsty. To satisfy your cravings pull up a seat at Vinotheque Nomade.( http://www. Restaurantnomade.ch ) This hip new area is located in city center near the Rue du Grand-Pont, a once aging industrial zone that now houses trendy local bars, theaters and casual eateries. With 40 wines available by the glass and an impressive tapas menu, this is a local’s favorite and a likely tourist choice. Boasting an extensive wine list, you can choose your bottle at the bar and move to a table for the remainder of your dining experience. The cuisine is decidedly Mediterranean featuring seasonal local ingredients. The restaurant’s large sun terrace is a popular spot for sipping wine and people watching in this busy and interesting city corridor.
Another regional favorite dining establishment is Café Romand. (http://www.cafe-Romade.ch) Known as a local’s choice for dining, this is a great place to indulge in authentic Swiss cuisine and wines by the glass and carafe. Moderately priced, this in-door venue is a quaint and affordable dining establishment providing a quick bite before you hike up the hill to old town for shopping and sightseeing.
Lausanne is worth a look on a trip to Switzerland. “The Olympic Capital” is indicative of its prestigious name. With the spectacular backdrop of Lake Geneva and the Alps, Lausanne offers a plethora of outdoor activities and festivals along with cultural outlets and noteworthy dining.