Hello, Tigers!

My name is Kimberly Van Ness, Class of 2008. I am a creative director at Publicis Communications in Lausanne, where I dream up ideas for a variety of multinational clients. I’ve been based in the French-speaking region of Switzerland for 12 years and continue to be surprised and inspired by this beautiful country. While it is true that this is the land of chocolate and watches, there are so many other unexpected things to explore in Lausanne and the Swiss Riviera.

Eating Well

A woman wearing a black shirt and an apron works behind a counter of pastries inside a cafe.

For a sit-down meal, stop by Café Romand in the city center for a classic Swiss fondue (cheese only!) and a glass of local chasselas wine in a historic atmosphere. If you prefer to eat on the go, stop by L’Atelier des Gourmands for some delicious artisanal quiches, sandwiches and pastries. Enjoy by the fountain in the Place de la Palud to watch the mechanical clock enliven with the history of the canton every hour.

Top of the City

The skyline of Lausanne, Switzerland, is pictured with mountains in the background.

Lausanne is built on a hill, and it is worth the hike — or a short metro ride — up to the Cathedral, where you can enjoy the architecture and stunning views of the lake and mountains from the top of the city. 

DID YOU KNOW? Lausanne is one of the last remaining European cities to still carry on the tradition of the night watchmen. For 600 years, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, the night watchmen climb to the top of the bell tower, announce the time to the city’s residents and check that all is well.

Olympic Museum

Water from waterfalls flow into a pool.

Lausanne has been home to the International Olympic Committee for a century, and the Olympic Museum on the shores of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) is worth a visit. The museum has been completely renovated and offers a stunning history of the Games, and the grounds overlooking the lake are a must-see on a beautiful day. From the museum, you can easily access the lakefront.

Belle Epoque Steamers

Boats sit in a body of water with mountains in the background.

From spring to fall, take one of the several magnificent belle epoque steamships around the Swiss Riviera. Get off in Lutry and discover the Lavaux, the Swiss winemaking region with stunning walks among the vines and plenty of opportunities to taste the local productions.

Pro Tip: Swiss wine production is so small that it is rarely exported. Take the opportunity to pick up a few bottles to bring home.

Escape to the Mountains

The countryside in Montreux, Switzerland, is pictured with mountains in the background.

Technically, this is based in Montreux, not Lausanne. But it wouldn’t be a Swiss guide without a trip up a mountain. From the Lausanne train station, head along the lake to Montreux. Here, you will catch a cog-rail train up to Rochers-de-Naye, which offers unparalleled panoramic views of Lac Léman and France. There is also a marmot village if the stunning scenery is not enough!

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