Our plan to sample the French side of Switzerland succeeded last weekend, with a nice trip to Lausanne and a side trip to Montreux. As usual, lots of photos.

Lausanne is an amazing city, a three dimensional wonderland of bridges and buildings built up on steep hills with gorges inbetween. You emerge from the Metro from Ouchy and immediately have a choice: elevator or exit. One puts you in the exact same place as the other, only 50 feet above, and city extends from each direction. We went up to the top, to the cathedral. On the way was a fantastic Saturday market with six different charcuterie vendors and five different cheese vendors, full of delicious things. Then we walked down, enjoying the confusion of life at two levels. Really an interesting city, I wish I could have photographed the topography better.

The other nice thing we did was take the boat to Montreux, to visit the Château de Chillon. Lac Leman along the way is beautiful, full of vineyards and châteaux and luxury houses. The château itself is a 12th century fort built on a convenient rock in the lake just off shore, with a command of the main route from the south over the Alps. Nicely restored and lots to see.

We had dinner in the fancy places in Lausanne, at La Rotonde at the Beau-Rivage and the Table d'Edgard at Lausanne Palace. Very good, but the meal I enjoyed the most was the Paradise Chalet, a funky little Swiss place in Montreux next to the train station. We'd been walking for 20 minutes with no clue where to go, town quiet on a Sunday, starting to rain. Then we bumbled into the place with its old wood panelling, cowbells and funny gnome decor, and an amazing terrace view. The menu is good basic Swiss food, I had the Papet Vaudoise: smoked sausage, fatback, potatoes and leeks. Ken had rösti with a Tomme de Vaud. We didn't feel like having the horse steak tartar or fondue. Really yummy hearty stuff, and just the right thing at the right time.

I continue to be amazed that you can go back and forth between French and German cultures so quickly. I wish my brain could; it took me an extra day to switch back to fumbling tourist German instead of fumbling tourist French. Bon jour, wie gehts?

  2005-09-22 06:45 Z