I caught the train back to Lausanne from Cully – feeling somewhat lightheaded – and headed for a wake-up coffee at the Ouchy lakeside MGM Café. The upstairs terrace has wonderful views of the port, Lake Geneva and the Alps beyond.
Dinner that evening was at the stylish Brasserie de Montbenon (brasseriedemontbenon.ch) situated on the ground floor of the former Montbenon Casino – now a cultural centre and just a 10-minute walk from Place St François or alternatively take the metro to Flon.
This grand 1908 Florentine-style building has an impressive 8-metre ceiling and stunning views of Lake Geneva surrounded by beautiful gardens. The brasserie menu will delight carnivores with plenty of succulent local steak, veal and chicken, plus a nod to vegetarians (check out the mushroom vol au vent and fish risotto). The apple tart was divine. If weather permits, reserve a table on the outside terrace and enjoy the friendly and efficient service.
The Olympic Museum
My flight wasn’t until late afternoon on the Sunday, giving me time for a leisurely breakfast at the Royal Savoy, followed by a walk along the beautiful waterfront to the lakeside Olympic Museum (www.olympic.org/museum).
Situated in a beautiful sculpture park, the museum – as befits the hometown of the IOC – is an homage to all things Olympian over three themed floors. You can see clips from Olympic opening ceremonies on a massive screen, sporting equipment from previous competitors, enjoy interactive games, and see a medal and Olympic torch display. And much much more. This is one of the most spectacular and brilliantly interactive museums I have ever visited.
The museum’s superb Tom Café on Level 2 is a must. Book in advance and enjoy brunch – weekends only – on the terrace with breath-taking views of the lake and the Alps over dishes by Chef Pascal Beaud’huin. From pastries and pancakes to scrambled eggs, bacon and potato gratin – and everything in between – the €39 cover charge is well worth a reservation.Before catching the train to Geneva Airport, I walked back to the Royal Savoy via the Musée de l’Elysée – an
Before catching the train to Geneva Airport, I walked back to the Royal Savoy via the Musée de l’Elysée – an 18th-century mansion that houses a superb photography museum. Among its one million images are collections by Ella Maillart and Charlie Chaplin.
So much to see in this beautiful city and so little time – I needed a week at least. Only a short flight from London, Lausanne is the ideal city break. Its compact size makes it easy to find your way around on foot, it has plenty of great shops, bars and restaurants with a relaxed yet sophisticated ambience that feels safe and welcoming.
Both Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel lived in Lausanne and I’d love to live there too.
Lausanne – Where and How?
Lausanne is located on Lake Geneva in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
By plane: A short 1.5-hour flight from London: British Airways, easyJet and SwissAir all have daily non-stop flights.
By train: Trains from Geneva airport to Lausanne are very regular and take from 45 minutes. Book tickets online at www.swisstravelsystem.com or with SBB www.sbb.ch/en/
Lake Geneva Ferries: www.cgn.ch
Free Public Transport in Lausanne All hotels in the city give out free Lausanne Transport Cards to guests, giving free public transport on trams, buses and the metro (Lines M1 and M2). You can also use the card for discounts on the boat crossing between Lausanne-Ouchy and Evian. The card is valid for the duration of your stay (up to a maximum two weeks), including arrival and departure days.
Lausanne Tourism (+41 21 613 7373); www.lausanne-tourisme.ch
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