Lausanne, queen of entertainment
A place of exchange and meeting since time immemorial, Lausanne has also become a city of leisure that attracts a range of visitors, whether groups of friends, couples, families or business travellers. The city centre is packed with shops of every kind, numerous tea-rooms, cafés and restaurants, as well as entertainment venues for every age group. It’s the ideal scenario for shopping, exploration and relaxation to be combined in a single day.
In Lausanne there is no need to wander for miles to find just what you are looking for! Every kind of shop is present in the city centre, allowing most shopping trips to be done on foot: luxury clocks and watches, stores selling clothes and branded accessories, prestigious perfumers, enticing chocolateries, sports equipment, audiovisual specialists, supermarkets… not to mention shops selling gifts and other souvenirs coveted by lovers of Switzerland, such as Swiss knives, cuckoo clocks and bells. The city has over 1'500 shops and department stores. With old warehouses converted into spaces of art and life by various designers and architects, the Flon quarter has become the avant-garde district of the city and, like a town within a town, has its own selection of shops, cinemas, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and galleries. Not to mention a beach in summer and an ice rink in winter!
The proximity of the countryside, vineyards and the lake has been conducive to the upsurge in open-air markets. Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, their local colour brightens up the city centre and various districts, while a Sunday market has become established in Ouchy. A flea market on Thursdays (Place Chauderon) and a craft market on the first Friday of every month (Place de la Palud) are also marked on Lausanne’s calendar of events. December sees the Christmas market, which features a few dozen stalls and a variety of attractions, including the arrival of Saint Nicolas, Santa’s grotto, pony rides and the biggest real-life Nativity scene in Switzerland.
Lausanne benefits from a variety of recreational areas, each with their own characteristics and individual charm, available for use by the region’s inhabitants and guests. Strenuous sporting activities and more gentle leisure pursuits appear side by side in rural and urban surroundings alike. Apart from these favoured sites, the Lausanne region has around one hundred play areas designed for children. Lausanne Tourisme offers audio-guided or escorted walking tours to discover the city in a different, indeed unusual, way. In keeping with the city’s status of Olympic Capital, the Sports Trail is an educational 4-kilometre walk by the lake punctuated by 22 markers illustrating different sporting disciplines and retracing the history of some great sporting moments, both Swiss and international.
Taking place from June to September, Lausanne Estivale is a free entertainment extravaganza with over 450 events, including dance, music, theatre, cinema, comedy, tours and unusual walks. During the high season, visitors can also enjoy discovering the aviary in Parc Mon-Repos, the ornithological reserve of Parc Bourget, the Botanical Gardens and, for younger children, the miniature trains of Vidy or Pully. The Vallée de la Jeunesse has become a Mecca for sports on wheels with its humps and circuits. It is also home to the Espace des Inventions, which is presented as a place of discovery and experimentation introducing youngsters aged 7 and over to the wonders of science and technology. Situated high above the city in Sauvabelin is an animal park and a manmade lake where rowing boats can be hired. The final attraction on this site is a 35-metre high wooden tower, which provides magnificent 360° panoramic views, once its 302 steps have been climbed.
Film buffs will be able to take in a movie in one of the many classic, alternative or multiplex cinemas. Not to mention the prestigious Swiss Film Archive, which shows long-forgotten masterpieces every day. A programme for younger children is on offer at the Lanterne Magique, a film club catering for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Different documentaries are also shown in the “ciné” at the Zoology Museum. Various museums in the city have launched several initiatives encouraging children to take an interest in history, archaeology, fine arts and contemporary design. Well worth a mention are the workshops for children at the Roman Museum of Vidy, the History Museum, the Zoology Museum, the Collection de l’Art Brut, the Mudac (contemporary design and applied arts), the Claude Verdan Foundation and the Olympic Museum, as well as the adventure trails and discovery tours at the Hermitage Foundation.
Editor: Newcom Partners Lausanne - Aurélie Moeri