Lausanne in all Loveliness

With it sensual sights and delightful medieval feel, Lausanne attracts visitors from round the world. Vijaya Pratap recounts her experience in the Olympic Capital

Published: 11th September 2015 03:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th September 2015 03:36 AM   |  A+A-


HYDERABAD: The slim drizzle made pretty tears rolling down the glass windows of the Swiss Rail. Travelling from Zurich, as I gazed at the uninterrupted scenic beauty, I didn’t want the journey to end. But it did, leaving behind a pleasant feeling and making a fine start to my next few days in Switzerland. Warm smiles by the Swiss Tourism staff and a red umbrella (welcome gift!) greeted me on arrival.

Lausanne, called the Olympic Capital is a city on Lake Geneva in the French-speaking region of Vaud, Switzerland. It is home to the International Olympic Committee headquarters, as well as the Olympic Museum and Archives. The city has medieval, shop-lined streets, a 12th-century Gothic cathedral with an ornate facade and the 19th-century Palais de Rumine, housing fine art and science museums.

Vijaya.JPGPerched on “La Cite” hill, the old town has a delightful medieval feel with cobblestoned streets and houses huddled up against each other in the shadow of the majestic cathedral. Seen as one of the most beautiful Gothic art monuments in Europe, it attracts more than 4,00,000 visitors every year. Since 1405, a watchman in the clock tower makes sure there is no fire and shouts out the hours every night from 10 pm to 2 am. The 7,000 pipe organ and the Rose stained glass window, the splendid view from the cathedral esplanade, the wooden Market Stairs, all deserve an admiring gaze.

Flon District is the modern face of Lausanne. In the past the Flon area was a storage site with transshipment facilities and a poor reputation. It has evolved in recent years into a gigantic collection of avant - garde like building that is home to shopping malls, offices, apartments and night clubs.

Set on a hillside facing Lake Geneva and the mountains, Lausanne offers walkers plenty of scenic views.

Lausanne is famous as the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Museum houses permanent and temporary exhibits relating to sport and the Olympic movement. With more than 10,000 artifacts, the museum is the largest archive of Olympic Games in the world and is one of Lausanne’s prime tourist sites attracting more than 250,000 visitors each year.

The Museum contains highly interactive and informative exhibits. The permanent exhibition is organized into three major themes on three separate floors: Olympic World, Olympic Games and Olympic Spirit. A visit begins on the third floor, where Olympic World part of the exhibition informs visitors of the history of the ancient Olympic Games and the rebirth of the modern Games in the 19th century. Highlights include a display of various Olympic torches, as well as a video, documenting major moments in the history of opening ceremonies history.

The second floor focuses on Olympic Games. Sporting equipment for a variety of sports is on display and visitors are introduced to the Youth Olympic Games and the Paralympics Games. More than 1,000 video clips of Olympic Games events and athletes can be searched and viewed at individual viewing stations.

The final part of the permanent exhibit covers the Olympic Spirit, where visitors are made to feel part of an Olympic Village and can test their balance, agility and mental skills with interactive exercises. Olympic medals are also on display. The Olympic Museum is surrounded by a park containing numerous works of art on the theme of sports.

As I walked away from the Olympic Museum along the lake, I spotted a small group of people engrossed in a “reading session”. The lady read out in a soft voice, to the gentle lapping of the waves on the lake. I sauntered to the nearby rose gardens slowly, taking in all the sensual delights that Lausanne offered.

Other attractions

  • Aboard a Belle Epoque ship on Lake Geneva
  • The Panoramic stroll
  • Collection de l’Art Brut, art produced by self-taught social outcasts Fondation de l’Hermitage, fine arts in beautiful park Mudac
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