Famed for its sumptuous cheeses, wine and chocolate, the Swiss Riviera offers the ultimate in girly getaways…
Wednesday , 25 February 2009
© Lausanne
© Lausanne

Lausanne – set against the Savoy Alps and the blue waters of Lake Geneva – is emerging as Switzerland’s sexiest city, thanks to its breathtaking scenery, glam nightlife, delicious cheese and wine, and rich and fabulous visitors.

Dubbed the ‘San Francisco of Switzerland’, Lausanne is tiered over three hills, while the countryside is dotted with wine-producing villages, where you can sample the local Chasselas white grape – washed down with local fromage.

With Swiss chocolate at every turn, gorge yourself on sweet treats at downtown Durig Chocolatier, then work off the calories with a scenic bike ride from Lausanne to Vevey, taking in the local vineyards, Lake Geneva and the Alps.

Be aware that the city is steep, so if you’re feeling lazy, you’ll find just as much action on the flats – alive with roller-bladers, cyclists and packed with bustling outdoor cafes, you can take it easy on the lush tree-lined, lake-front promenades.

Along the city’s quaint cobbled streets, you’ll find designer boutiques jostling with department stores, selling everything from Swiss trinkets to designer wear. Head to Boutique Seduction Lingerie for luxe undies, and milliner to the elite, Coup de Chapeau.

For a more credit crunch-friendly spree, barter at the local markets, before a cruise on a paddle streamer.

As the shops close, the city buzzes with hip clubs, bars and restaurants. The beautiful peeps head to the gallery district, where the clubs continue ‘til the wee small hours.

Get your culture fix exploring the secret passageways of the 13th Century Chillon Castle, then bed down at Beau-Rivage Palace, on Lake Geneva. The hotel houses the Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant, Rotonde – with past guests including Coco Chanel, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill, you’ll be in excellent company!

While You We're There...

Say Cheese!
Cheese-lovers should head to Gruyeres in the alpine foothills, to sample authentic cheese fondue and raclette at the popular Le Chalet, where cheese is still made in a cauldron over a fire.

Hit the slopes
Lausanne is a gateway to Canton of Valais – home to some of the best ski slopes in the world. It’s an A-list stomping ground, so look out for regulars Diana Ross, James Blunt and Sarah Fergusonon the piste.

Visit a chocolate factory
A short day-trip away lies Broc, where you’ll discover the oldest Swiss Chocolate Factory, dating back to 1819. Revert back to your childhood and gorge on all the whimsical choccie goodies you can handle.

Pick up some art
Located on the North-west side of Lausanne, the Chateau de Beaulieu displays a curious collection of works called ‘art brut.’ Painted by prisoners and the mentally ill, a work on your wall will become a major talking point!