Is there another city of 130,000 people in the world with nearly 30 different metro stations? Is there a smaller city on the planet that is so important to the international athletics community? Lausanne, Switzerland has always seemed like an historic and big city, which is why it’s a surprise to many to learn that its population is not enormous. I had also heard many times that Lausanne was a beautiful place, sitting on the shore of Lake Geneva and with clear views of the Jura Mountains. However, I had never been to Lausanne, even though I always wanted to go. I was in Europe for business recently, though, and due to several random circumstances, I found myself with an opportunity to spend 24 hours there exploring. All I needed to do – and this seemed like no small task – was find a Lausanne hotel room in minutes. I was certainly willing to give it a try.
I activated my phone and searched for an app that could help me find a last-minute hotel room. I found one called HotelTonight, which I hadn’t used before but that I remembered hearing about from someone. I opened it and searched for Lausanne hotels. I found several different choices that all looked to be very nice hotels. I also liked the very reasonable rates, which was not something I expected considering the last-minute nature of this search. I chose a hotel that looked like a good fit for me and started the booking process. To my amazement, my room was booked and confirmed within seconds. I could not believe it – I was going to Lausanne with 24 hours at my disposal to get to know this famous city firsthand. I got right to work on plotting my course for my one-day adventure.
I started the day in Le Flon, which is near the center of the city. As beautiful and unique as this part of Lausanne looked, there was also a familiar tale behind it. Many years ago, Le Flon was a dilapidated, run-down part of Lausanne that was home to dingy warehouses and not much else. Over the past generation or so, a lot of investment has been focused here, and the area has transformed itself into a vibrant, trendy part of town that is home to a lot of art, culture and general creativity. It was neat to see this playing out right in front of my eyes.
Ouchy is a place where it seems that the people of Lausanne come to relax and spend an afternoon doing as little as possible aside from enjoying the scenery. It is set on the harbor of Lake Geneva, and there are promenades and walking paths that take you right along the water on one side and restaurants, shops and resorts on the other. There are palm trees here, which you don’t expect to see in Switzerland. There are also a few cafes, which was great for me because it was that time of day and I needed a coffee break. Switzerland is a fine place for a coffee break, as the coffee was delicious and the chocolates served with it were divine.
If you chose a word to describe the Sous-Gare area of Lausanne, it would be elegant. This is a part of town that is extremely modern, but it also shows off that European flare that everyone who has traveled here understands. There are a lot of residential areas here as well, but that generally means that there are eating options nearby. Fortunately for me, that is the case with Sous-Gare, as it is the middle of the day and I am beyond hungry. I stopped at a little place near the train station and ordered some French food for lunch. It was a delicious meal in a fabulous setting, and I emerged more than full, happy, satisfied and ready to take on the afternoon.
I decided to end my day in Old Town. The neighborhood itself is a bit hilly, which means that you work up a pretty good appetite when walking through it. There are a ton of Gothic-style buildings here as well, and the more you see them the more you realize how striking they really are in-person. Fortunately, there were quite a few different shops here, as I wanted to be sure to purchase some gifts for the people in my life. I bought some chocolates and some items related to the International Olympic Committee, as its headquarters is in Lausanne. With my bags full, I decided to head back towards my hotel and have some dinner near there.
As I made my way to dinner, I started thinking about all that I had seen during this incredible day. I had gotten to introduce myself to a new city, at least for me, and I had gotten to learn more about a place that I had always heard about. I had also learned about an app I hadn’t used before that made it all possible to find a Lausanne hotel so quickly. When I travel in the future, I would do so with HotelTonight nearby.