Lausanne

Overview

Introduction

Lausanne, Switzerland, and its port city, Ouchy (pronounced ou-SHEE), are on the northern bank of Lake Geneva, 35 mi/60 km northeast of Geneva. They can be seen either as a day trip from Geneva or (better) in a two-night stay. The older part of Lausanne, called the Cite, is fun to stroll; be sure to see the port area, the 13th-century tower, the exquisite 13th-century Gothic cathedral (best of its kind in Switzerland) and the 14th-century Chateau St. Maire.

The Art Brut Museum has interesting and inventive works by unconventional artists (some of whom were eventually institutionalized).

Lausanne is the headquarters for the International Olympic Committee and has a museum tracing the history of the Olympics. http://www.olympic.org/museum.

If you have a few extra days available, you might visit some of the charming towns in the area, including Vevey, which is home to a wonderful Charlie Chaplin Museum (http://www.chaplinsworld.com), and Gruyeres. There are a number of old villages in the surrounding hills that are worth a stop, among them Epesses and Riex. Most of them can be reached by following the well-marked Route de Vignoble (Route of the Vineyard), named after the many private vineyards and wine cellars dotting the hills (these specialty routes are almost always preferable to the major highways). And be sure to stop and taste some of the wines along the way.

You can also go across the lake to France. The spa and resort Royal Club Evian is in Evian, where Evian water is bottled. For a long day trip, head to Chamonix to see Mount Blanc (the tallest mountain in Europe). Cable cars climb to a point near the top called Les Aiguilles du Midi, which offers stunning views on clear days.

For those who don't want to go up quite that high, there's also a cable car that goes to a glacier called La Mer de Glace. There you can walk upon and even go inside a tunneled portion of the glacier. If you go, remember to take your passport, as you will be leaving Switzerland.

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