and the Lake Geneva Region of Switzerland
Story & photographs by Greg Aragon
he train ride from Zurich
to the French-speaking city of Lausanne is a never-ending postcard of
the beautiful Swiss countryside. The journey is filled with green meadows
with grazing cows, rolling hills with old farms, ancient cities with
historic structures and castles, and stunning views of the country's
A friend and I recently took this journey and it is
something we will not soon forget. The adventure began when we landed
at Zurich Airport and used our Swiss Travel Passes to board the luxury
train. The passes
are an all-in-one ticket for travel by rail, road and waterway throughout
the country. They also get you into hundreds of museums as well as mountain
railways and more.
Lausanne is a French-speaking town of cobble stone
streets, historic structures and lake front vistas
The train ride to Lausanne is full of beauty and
When the train pulled into Lausanne Station, we met
local guide Christine Seuret, who showed us to our room at the Royal
Dating from 1909, the Royal Savoy is an iconic structure
in Lausanne. Overlooking Lake
Geneva, the elegant, Art Nouveau-styled hotel has been a hideaway
for the rich and famous since its inception. The Spanish royal family
lived here in exile, and Thailands king spent his youth here.
I spent one night here and will never forget it.
Our luxurious room at the five-star hotel featured a
balcony overlooking the lake and the historic city, a spacious living
/ sleeping area with king bed, large TV, and office station, free WiFi,
mini-bar, hardwood parquet floor, a Nespresso machine, in-room iPad,
and a plush bathroom with rain forest shower head.
The Royal Savoy Hotel has been a luxurious, lake-front
retreat since 1909
After unpacking, we joined Christine for a walk around
town. Lausanne is the second-largest city on Lake Geneva and the capital
of the Canton of Vaud. The town is built on three hills, surrounded
by vineyard-covered slopes, with Lake Geneva at its feet. Rising impressively
from the opposing French lakeshore are the Savoy Alps.
Lausanne's old town is largely car-free, with cobblestone
alleyways, sidewalk cafes, and ancient buildings
Lausanne's giant stone Cathedral was built
in 1165 and
is the country's largest
We began with a stroll through medieval old town, which
is largely car-free and is highlighted by small cobblestone alleyways,
sidewalk cafes, centuries-old statues and fountains and structures,
old arched river bridges, mountain and lake vistas, and the Lausanne
Considered one of Switzerlands most impressive
pieces of early Gothic architecture, the giant, stone sanctuary was
constructed from 1165 onwards. It is the country's largest cathedral
and has one of the finest stained-glass windows in Europe, dating from
the 13th century.
The cathedral also boasts a night watchman, who every
night since the 1400s has kept an eye on the city and shouted out the
times between 10pm and 2am. At the top of each hour, he yells Cest
le guet, il a sonné dix, il a sonné dix... (This
is the night watch, the hour has struck
). I got to meet Simon
Bhatt, one of a couple people who serve as "The Watchmen."
He took me on a tour of tower and his perch, some 200 ft above the ground.
"I do this because I am from Lausanne and it gives
me a chance to carry on this tradition in such an amazing place,"
says Simon, a part-time college student. "It feels incredible to
do something in the exact same place that it has been done for over
Before meeting "The Watchman," I met Francois
Michel, who works with tourism for the Canton of Vaud. Francois took
me to a local restaurant called Cafe du Grutli that is located in a
building from the year 1340.
Cafe du Grutli specializes in local favorites such
as fresh venison from the Alps
It is hunting season in the Lake Geneva region and fresh
deer from the local Alps was on the Cafe du Grutli menu. I had a sampling
of a local favorite called Saucisse a rotir de gibier des Grisons selon
arrivage. In English this is handmade deer sausage from Grisons with
Madiera sauce and cranberry jam. It was comforting and delicious.
After an awesome day in Lausanne, we retired to our
room at the Royal Savoy and in the morning enjoyed an incredible buffet
breakfast of fresh local fish, meats and cheeses in the hotel's dining
The lake views from rooms at Royal Savoy are memorable
In the morning we walked a couple blocks to the world-famous
Sitting on the shore of Lake Geneva, this incredible museum welcomes
guests from around the globe who come to see Olympic memorabilia and
hands-on exhibits, and learn the history of the Olympic Games, from
the first ones in the summer of 1896 in Athens to the present day.
The Olympic Museum sits on Lake Geneva and tells
the history of the Olympic Games
For more information visiting Switzerland and the Lake
Geneva region, visit: www.myswitzerland.com/
For information on flying to Switzerland, visit: www.swiss.com.
Things We Didn't Know About the Lake Geneva Region; Flight
of Culinary Fancy;
3 Things We Didn't Know About Switzerland; Switzerland:
A Country of Unsurpassed Beauty