About and around Lausanne

August 17, 2012

Around Lausanne

For those who are curious about where we are living in Switzerland, here’s a quick primer on Lausanne and the surrounding area, along with a few photos.

While we are currently staying in a temporary apartment in the town of Vevey (pop.15,000), we will soon move into a rented home in the community of Jouxtens-Mezery, which lies on the outskirts of the city of Lausanne. Lausanne is located on the north shore of Lake Geneva (known here as “Lac Léman”), roughly 65kms northeast of Geneva, which is at the far western end of the lake. The city is built on a series of steep hillsides along the lake, which makes for challenging walking and cycling at times! The main subway line, which bisects the downtown from north to south, is more like a funicular than a traditional subway line. On the positive side, from almost everywhere in the city there are spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding Alps.

Lausanne is located in the French region of Switzerland known as Romandie, which is at the western end of the country on the border of France. The city has a population of roughly 130,000, approximately a third of which is comprised of expats and immigrants like us. While a relatively small city, Lausanne has become a major hub for international sports organizations, including the International Olympic Committee, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and numerous international sport federations, along with multinational companies such as TetraPak. Lausanne also hosts many major cultural and sporting events, including next week’s Diamond League track and field meet that will feature Olympic champion Usain Bolt (tickets sold out, sadly).

For the moment, however, we are living in a Nestlé apartment in the town of Vevey, which lies 30kms further east along the lake. Vevey is best known as the site of Nestlé’s worldwide headquarters, as well as being the home of comedian Charlie Chaplin, and the birthplace of milk chocolate. Vevey is also part of the “Swiss Riviera,” which is known for its semi-tropical climate, expensive hotels, famous residents (e.g. Freddie Mercury, Vladimir Nabokov, and Shania Twain), and cultural events such as the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Lying between Lausanne and Vevey is the spectacular Lavaux wine region, a 20km stretch of terraced vineyards along the shores of Lake Geneva. The drive from Lausanne to Vevey is stunning, as the roads wind through lush vineyards and quaint  villages. The vineyards of the Lavaux date back to the 11th century and the area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. The whole area is laced with wide, paved paths that are used by farmers to tend to their vineyards, as well as by walkers and cyclists.

Most of the Lavaux wine produced is dry white wine. The most common grape variety that is grown and used for wine-making is Chasselas. It makes for a somewhat austere,  dry white wine with mineral aftertastes that is a good match for fondue and raclette, but somewhat less appealing on its own (IMHO). Chasselas was also featured in the famous Monty Python skit “The Four Yorkshiremen” (hilarious), which you can watch here! There are also good reds here I’m told, as well as in the Valais region to the southeast, which we look forward to “researching” in the months to come.

Well, that’s about it for my brief introduction to the area where we’ll be living for the next few years. Along with my photos, perhaps I’ve whet a few appetites for a visit?

Thanks for reading!



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3 Comments on “About and around Lausanne”

  1. Kristee Caetano Says:

    Hiiiiiii……So so happy to hear from you!!!! I haven’t read much yet, but really wanted to let you all know we are thinking of you tons. Much love to Beckham xxxx


  2. Patricia MacDonell Says:

    What glorious views! How fortunate you are to be able to have this opportunity to live there.


  3. Sal Rocco Says:

    Graham – thanks for sharing! This is great reading and brings back lots of memories of our first few days. I’m looking for flights already! Keep the blogs and pics coming! Best wishes to all of you on this incredible adventure!


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