Vaudois roots

Carla, the alternative view
Carla, the alternative view
June 7, 2021

Lausanne is renowned in the area for its clubs, universities, historical town centre, status as Olympic Capital in the most international sense, etc. Who, however, are the people of Lausanne?

Vaudois specialities

Our French and Italian neighbours have earned the greatest respect worldwide for their cuisine. Around here, it’s a bit more rustic. But that doesn’t mean lacking in charm and taste! Here are some suggestions of our essential dishes and the Lausanne addresses where you’ll find them:

  • Pâté Vaudois: a meat-based snack encased in crispy pastry and a little jelly, perfect with mustard or just to eat on the go. On June 13, 2020, the first edition of the Pâté Vaudois World Championships was held. Yes, that’s right, world championships! It is after all a highlight of Vaudois gastronomy that requires quality and TLC for its preparation!
    Where to taste a good one in Lausanne? For me, it’s at the Confiserie Christian Boillat (Rue Enning 5) that you’ll find one to delight your taste buds. 
  • Tomme fleurette: a full fat soft cheese, I guarantee it’s a hit on an aperitif snack board!
    Where to taste a good one in Lausanne? Head to the Paradis du Fromage (Rue du Simplon 25), of course! 
  • Carac: A small patisserie shaped like a tartlet with a chocolate filling and decorated with a thin layer of green icing (the colour of the canton’s flag) and a dollop of chocolate in the centre. A playful shape and a treat!
    Where to taste a good one in Lausanne? I would suggest the Maison Buet (Rue Grand-Saint-Jean 6).
  • Papet Vaudois: Cabbage sausage garnished with mashed potatoes and leeks mixed with white wine and cream. Its appearance might not be in its favour, but I assure you it’s a delight. A green and white dish in the image of the canton, to be eaten preferably in autumn and winter. And we wouldn’t miss the Journée du Papet (Papet Day) in 10 Vaud towns!
    Where to taste a good one in Lausanne? I would lean towards the Pinte Besson (a good setting for a good papet – Rue de l’Ale 4) or the Le Café Romand (Place Saint-François 2)
LT/www.diapo.ch LT/www.diapo.ch

Some other culinary delicacies from the region that are worth the detour: the gâteau de Goumoëns (an indulgent dessert made with sugar, milk, flour, butter and eggs), the gâteau de Vully (a tart that can be sweet with sugar and cream, or savoury with bacon and cumin), white wine from the Chasselas grape variety, the Malakoff de Vinzel (a cheese fritter), the taillé aux greubons (a salted bakery speciality made with crackling), the salée au sucre (a sweet tart with sugar and cream), Maréchal cheese (a semi-hard cheese made of unpasteurised milk), etc. There’s plenty to fill your stomach!

Vaudois expressions

Let’s take a look on the influence of patois on the Vaudois vocabulary! I invite you to discover the book “Langage des Vaudois: mots et expressions” (“Vaudois Language: Words and Expressions”, in French) by Bernard Gloor, published by Cabédita, to find out more.

  • Il n’y a pas le feu au lac (literally: “the lake isn’t on fire”): there’s no rush
  • Roiller: “Ouh ça roille!” means it’s raining very heavily. Not to be confused with the expression “Il est roillé” which means “He’s stupid/mad”.
  • Y en a point comme nous (literally: “There are none like us”): self-depreciation, irony towards oneself.
  • Être sur Soleure (literally: “To be on Soleure”): to be drunk
  • Être déçu en bien (literally: “To be positively disappointed”): it means the opposite of being disappointed, we could say, “positively surprised”.
  • Redzipéter: to repeat, denounce.
  • Ruper: to eat
  • La cramine: “il fait une cramine aujourd’hui” means “it’s freezing cold today”

Heritage

Walks

 The city also offers nature outings for groups and there are footpaths adapted for people with reduced mobility.

  • The Sentier du renard (the Fox’s Path): one of the nice things about Lausanne is that you easily get to the lakeside and the forest. A walk that I really enjoy is the Fox’s Path that follows the Vuachère river. It’s an eight-kilometre trail that begins above the town (at Praz-Séchaud) and finishes by the lake in Ouchy.
  • The ports of Pully and Lutry: the lakeside walk from Pully port to the Lutry snack bar offers a stunning panorama and is very popular with the locals, while tourists tend to gather in Ouchy.
Le Rivage Le Rivage

Museums

  • Lausanne History Museum: located opposite the famous cathedral, the Lausanne History Museum was renovated in 2018 and offers the opportunity to (re)discover the history of the city. I particularly appreciate it for its temporary exhibitions (very often dedicated to photography) and the round tables that are frequently organised there. I do recommend “Les Jardins du Vieux-Lausanne et Bar Giraf” close to the museum after the visit to enjoy a drink in this beautiful setting.
LT/ Laurent Kaczor LT/ Laurent Kaczor
  • The Roman Museum in Lausanne-Vidy: another museum that is sometimes forgotten because it’s further from the centre, yet of high interest, is the Roman Museum in Lausanne-Vidy. Its permanent exhibition presents the archaeological findings unearthed on the site of the Roman city of Lousonna. In 2016, the museum devoted one of its exhibitions to the spirit of the Vaud people. Its temporary exhibitions are fun, humorous, intelligent and suitable for all ages. In short: hurry there!
  • The Collection de l’Art Brut: the Collection de l’Art Brut is a must; I would even say it’s an essential pillar of Lausanne’ cultural landscape and identity. Few places in the world are dedicated to this “spontaneous and highly inventive” art created by “obscure people, who are foreign to professional artistic circles”, as described by French painter Jean Dubuffet, to whom we owe the creation of this unique space that opened to the public in 1976. Workshops for children, guided tours for adults, a documentation centre accessible to researchers… there is plenty to do. Rendezvous in November 2021 for the fifth Art Brut Biennial.
LT/Maxime Genoud LT/Maxime Genoud

Here we are at the “end of our journey”; if you wish to find out more, I invite you to stop every hour on the hour at the Place de la Palud, next to the fountain adorned with a statue representing justice. Here, the voice of the Lausanne Cathedral watchman resounds to narrate to you the history of the canton of Vaud. A treasure of the 1964 Swiss National Exhibition that continues to stir the imagination of tourists and locals of all ages…

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