Ouchy was once a pretty lakeside fishing village before the city of Lausanne engulfed it in the mid-19th century. It is still a nice area to visit, with a very different feel to the centre of Lausanne - more lakeside resort than historic centre. It is an affluent area, with some expensive restaurants and nice hotels with lovely views of the lake and the distant alps.
By the lake you can't help but notice the impressive Castle of Ouchy. It was built back in 1170, but has had many reincarnations since then. These days it is used as a hotel, though it was being completely renovated during our visit.
Fondest memory: There is a wide promenade along the lake edge which is perfect for a stroll. We did so at sunset on a warm summers evening, taking advantage of the cooler temperature, and the flattering light for some snap shots.
Along the way you will see the tourist office, some fountains, a statue or two, and plenty of those pedalo boats to hire. Some of the pedalos even had slippery slides on the back - haven't seen those before.
Ouchy is also home to the Olympic Museum.
So, one could recognize how long will it take to get there, how far is it from your step, just see the sign board at a street corner
Fondest memory: To go to any direction, what is allowed to do and what is not allowed, just look at a board at one corner of the street
A useful website when you are visiting Lausanne : www.lausanne-tourisme.ch
It's Lausanne's official website, you will find a lot of information on accomodation, restaurants, sports, culture, strolls to do in the area, shopping, etc. The site is translated into many different languages.
And you can also ask me questions, I will be glad to help! : )
Wherever you go, whatever you do, sampling the local beer is definite must.
What do the locals drink, what beer is most popular, which beer is hardest to find, does it come in a half pint glass just like grandma used to drink…or better still, a full pint glass like I drink??? These are all good questions that need to be answered...
There aren’t a lot of beers to choose from in Switzerland, as it seems the country is overrun with more famous brews from its neighbor to the North. However, one local beer that I did find quite refreshing was Cardinal… For some reason this passed year I have found myself leaning toward lighter beers and on a hot day in Luasanne, Cardinal certainly hit the spot…
Ouchy has one of the most impressive sights of Lake Léman, along with several old buildings like the Chateau d'Ouchy, built in the 13th century to protect the port. Over its basin it functions right now a hotel, the eldest in town. You can also take in Ouchy cruise tours around the lake, which can take you to other must-sees like Evian and the Chateau of Chilion.
Ouchy also has its own museums (like the Olympic Museum), places, markets, etc. on its own.
La Cite, the old town of Lausanne, is my favourite part of the city. On the highest hill of Lausanne, it is also the oldest section of Lausanne, where the Cathedral is and the medieval buildings and pedestrians streets are.
Fondest memory: While strolling around this area, I always feel like I have suddenly jumped to the 12th or 13th century....
Visiting this place you will find the huge, majestic Palace of Rumine, housing the Fine Arts gallery and the zoology, history, archaeology and geology museums.
This view enhanced by fountains, and sometimes by markes and crafts exhibitions in the place, depending on the day and month of the year. One of the nicest and vivid spots in the modern area, since around the site you can find restaurants, malls, etc.
Fondest memory: Resting on the stairs of the Palace de la Rumine, admiring the sight.
In the old town or Vieille Ville you will find lots of examples of architecture from centuries XII-XVII, which gives this area a medieval air and makes you forget for a moment that we are currently living in the third millenium!! My personal favorites were the Chateau St. Maire, Hotel de Ville, the Museum of Calvino and the Fountain de la Palud. It's only some walk away!!
Before starting, I would recommend to have a map and a guide of the city, so you can arrange your own schedule of visits according to your own interests.
Fondest memory: The flowers everywhere gives Lausanne a touch of color, freshness and charm, which gives them the romantic spark to this town apparently struck in the past.
With no hesitation what to do, I hastened to the famous Chateau de Chillion ('sheeyoh'), an impressive and well-preserved medieval castle, strategically located by the lake about 4km away from the TIC. I chose to go by foot to savor the lakeside view. It was an hour or more of tiring walk but I made it. I won't dig into history but this 11th century castle, which is a famous historical landmark in Switzerland, is absolutely worth visiting. Its tower, courtyards, dungeons and numerous rooms are numbered to make exploration easy. Just to let you know I didn't walk back to catch the train. My stomach was groaning then so I had to take the bus from outside the castle to the train station.
The summit of the 2042m high Rochers de la Naye is accessible from Montreux by the funicular (1hr), or by foot (3hrs). There are couple of wonderful restaurants at the peak but I did not plan to plant a flag up there. I thought I would better satisfy my stomach in no later time before it makes my life miserable.
Not too far away from the TIC is the Christmas market, virtually flooded with people. I decided not to get myself entangled with the crowd since I have to hop on to the very next train which would take me to Zermatt; a 3 hours journey via Sion et Visp.
[Zermatt experience is narrated in a travelogue]
Before getting out of the train station, I was already welcomed with Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' by a violinist who performed by the underground passageway linking the train platforms. Beautifully played as he articulated the joy the title carries, it sounded to me exactly like how I thought a world-class would perform. I wondered how many coins he collects each day but I could tell he loves his music and so do I.
The tourist information center is just about 15m away from the station. I was immediately introduced by the expansive staff the many attractions this vibrant city has to offer. To begin with, Ouchy is the city's port where young and old throng the pavement cafes, stroll around the boat quays or settle for a meal in one of the many restaurants. This is perhaps the town's lowest ground, where you may closely capture the gorgeous view of the Alps which bases were misted, so that the separation between true nature and their reflections was blurred.
Lausanne was named the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1994. The nearby Musee Olympique is devoted to the Olympic Games, to trace its history and to honor many outstanding sportsmen who participated in the games. This impressive complex faces the lake and is creatively designed to retain the natural beauty of its surrounding park.
A funicular links the lakeshore suburb of Ouchy to the uphill Old Town. Alighting at Place de la Gare station, you may trudge up the steeply sloping Rue du Petit-Chene to get to the heart of the Old Town and leisurely take in the charming sights of Lausanne. The partly pedestrainized Old Town is small enough to be explored on foot, but you will need comfortable shoes as the winding shopping streets are cobbled on slopes. This place is packed with tons of people, in and outside of the many designer boutiques, exquisitely decorated souvenir shops or restaurant bars that populate the streets. On a not too busy stretch, I halted to watch a harpist perform a lovely Gospel piece, making transposition intelligently whenever appropriate. Totally unaffected by the bustle, his performance surely worth more than a coin.
Pont Ch.-Bessieres, Pont Chauderon and Rue Du Grand-Pont are three bridges which link various parts of the Old Town. Above and below them are views of houses which cling closely to the hillsides. A good view of the town and its spectacular backdrop can be seen on Pont Ch.-Bessieres. And if you have the stamina to go further, Cathedrale de Notre-Dame which is not too far away uphill from the bridge provides even better scenic view. To descend take the Escaliers du Marche (a wooden-roofed medieval stairway) that links the cathedral square to Place de la Palud, an ancient square surrounded by old houses.
Of all the museums in Lausanne the one not to be missed is Musee de l'Art Brut. Inside is an extraordinary but interesting collection of artworks by 'untrained artists', including the mentally illed and incarcerated criminals who wish to let the world know how artistic they are.
Before leaving for Montreux, I went back to the passageway in hope to again hear the violinist perform. But I had no luck, perhaps half past eight was a little early for him to begin his performance. One thing for sure I will never forget the lovely sights and sounds of lovely Lausanne.
Montreux is known to be the best preserved of all Lake Geneva resorts. Its waterside promenade, decorated with palm trees, magnolias, Pokemon-shaped bushes and cypresses, is 10km long and is marvelous for strolling. Just like Lausanne, the town rises in tiers up the hillside. I did Montreux for only half a day, not because it is somewhere not worth to spend more time in, but I really have to run to catch the next train.
Upon arrival, I headed straight down to the place where almost every backpacker would first visit and that's of cuz the Tourist Information Center. Located by the lakeside, if you arrive by train (I don't know how you can reach this place by other means but I certainly won't suggest you swim from Lausanne to Montreux) you gotta descend quite some flights of stairs to open its door.