Majestic and perched on the beautiful hills of Lake Geneva’s northern shore, Lausanne is the capital of the Canton of Vaud and the 4th largest city in Switzerland after Zurich, Geneva, and Basel. But more than anything, Lausanne represents the sweetness of life in French-speaking Switzerland.
No one can ever forget Lausanne, thanks to its incredible, defining features: a city built on a slope (500 m altitude, approx. 1,640 feet) of hills and valleys that have urbanized over time. From then on, very few large avenues have been built. Moreover, there are absolutely no boulevards, only charming, winding streets that give the city a mysterious touch.
17 neighborhoods in total. The "Cité" is the oldest neighborhood - we’re talking Middle Ages old - and located on the hilltops, boasting narrow cobbled streets and old buildings. The magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral dominates the higher parts of the city - la ville haute in French, the high city in English - with its Gothic art. There you’ll find typical markets, restaurants, and even small booths.
The city center extends to the neighboring hills of Le Bourg and Saint-Laurent neighborhood. On your journey to the lower part of the city (la ville basse or the low city), you’ll have to cross steep streets and descend stairs made of wood and stone, adding to Lausanne’s charm. You’ll find shops and homes settled there, and a lively and exciting ambiance. With great luck (or rather thanks to the ingenuity of the builders of the time), the buildings are, for the most part, oriented South and benefit from beautiful natural light and a sensational view of the lake.
Flon is a trendy neighborhood where you’ll find yourself spending time in bistros and bars. This former warehouse district welcomes natives of Lausanne and an international crowd, both the young and not so young.
Whether walking on the bank of the lake or sailing on its waves, admiring sunsets from the Ouchy Port is a breathtaking experience. Did you know that Lausanne is one of the greenest cities in the world? The city is scattered with more than 350 hectares of parks and gardens. Just a few minutes walk from the city, there’s Parc de Mon Repos (Park of My Rest), a haven of peace with a wonderfully prophetic name. A real treat for both residents and visitors.
In Lausanne, you can benefit from several types of living environments: the old city, or that of modern and contemporary architecture. You can live in town or in the countryside, or even at water's edge. For a lot of space and large family houses, look outside the center to move into the very chic residential neighborhoods around the city.
You will love living in Lausanne if …
- High city or low city, in any case, you have good calves
- The city to work and the countryside to live, that's your final word
- There's a lake, then it’s a yes to everything
Life in Lausanne
On the other hand, Lausanne is a dynamic and lively city. You’ll meet people who are passionate, intelligent, cosmopolitan and open to the world outside of their own. Since 1994, it has been the Olympic Capital where the IOC (International Olympic Committee) is stationed. Like many Swiss cities, it attracts big names in the world of finance and business. Corporate headquarters such as Philip Morris, Nespresso and PubliGroupe have established themselves in the city.
It’s also an international center of culture. There are no less than 25 museums, including the famous Art Museum founded by Jean Dubuffet, and the Hermitage Foundation with more than 650 works along with temporary exhibitions on tour from the biggest international museums. Maurice Béjart chose Lausanne out of hundreds of cities to open his school, the very famous Béjart Ballet Lausanne. As for Coco Chanel, she fell in love with its elegance and made it her final home.
Lausanne is very attractive for its big schools: the world’s 1st École Hôtelière (Hospitality School), the very famous Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the University of Lausanne captivate students from all over the world.
And still, the other side is attributed to the beautiful nature of Lausanne. Discover the terraces of Lavaux and its vineyards that are classified UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or visit Gruyère to taste its cheese. For walks or hikes, a trip to Morges and into its surrounding woods. And if the sun is out, sail on Europe's largest freshwater lake. For skiing, you’ll be spoiled with choices of beautiful resorts. The nearest ones are on the Leysins ski areas just 20 minutes away, but Villars (60 km) and Gstaad (94 km) are not that far either. We told you, life is sweet in Lausanne.
Your choice is 100% Lausanne if …
- Your little ones are already prepped and ready for the best schools
- You like to be busy during the week and very busy on weekends
- On Saturdays, everyone wears a suit (ski or Neoprene)
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