Lausanne, Switzerland's fourth largest city: the Olympic Capital
Situated in the heart of the Lake Geneva region, facing the Alps, on the shores of Europe's biggest lake, Lausanne is also the largest city in the canton of Vaud (700,000 inhabitants).
Set in natural beauty, Lausanne overlooks Lake Geneva and is surrounded by countryside and vineyards, including the famous Lavaux vineyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It comes as no surprise that it is one of Europe's greenest cities! It was built in a hilly area, from Ouchy, its “bathing resort” (372 m high), to Chalet-à-Gobet, its “winter resort” (876 m high). The global policy pursued by the municipality of Lausanne leans heavily on sustainable development, seen as a process which evolves over a long period of time and must be incorporated into all aspects of city management.
A paradise of gastronomy and wine, the canton of Vaud never fails to impress its visitors with the diversity and quality of its cuisine, as well as the professionalism of its hotels and tourism. The canton of Vaud is a region which also boasts an extraordinary number of "toques" (restaurant awards) and renowned chefs. Needless to say, the list is headed up by Frédy Girardet, crowned "Chef of the Century", the inventor of "nouvelle cuisine" and acclaimed by his contemporaries as the top chef in Europe year after year.
The French-speaking region of Switzerland (La Suisse Romande) offers a diverse range of white and red wines, with defined identities and an expertise passed down through the centuries by winemaking families and regional cooperatives. One of the master grape varieties of the Lausanne region is Chasselas, a subtle white variety with a discreet aroma whose taste and flavour, like the Burgundy Chardonnay, are influenced by the region's many natural environments and climates. This grape also has the capacity to reveal itself over the course of time, whilst the best specimens taste more sublime with age by offering a level of complexity only found in the world's greatest white wines.
Although wines may exist in varied colors (white, red, rosé and clairet) and types (still and sparkling, dry and sweet, powerfully tannic and elegantly smooth), all wines produced in the Bordeaux region share a common style. More than a particular taste, there is a certain character that is expressed through a balance of concentration and strength with finesse and elegance.
The style is the result of natural factors such as terroir and climate, as well as human intervention through assemblage and the pairing of grapes varieties to terroir.
It was Cistercian monks who created the vineyards of Lausanne: they cleared the forests in the 12th century and sculpted these steep slopes to plant vines. Spread out between Lavaux and La Côte, suspended between heaven and earth or rooted in their soil, the Lausanne vineyards offer spectacular panoramic views over Lake Geneva and the Alps. These historical roots in the viticultural landscape of Vaud are underpinned by a profound respect for traditions. Some of the wines produced by the estates in Lausanne, the classic series, have thus been enjoyed by generation after generation of the city's residents since 1803. Therefore, on the second Saturday of December for more than 210 years, the City of Lausanne has given its citizens the first opportunity to purchase wine from the recent harvest. Everyone can take part in this extraordinary sale and bid for any of the lots at auction. This exceptional occasion embodies the inestimable winemaking heritage, built up over the centuries, which it promotes and reveals; the sale by auction of wines produced in Lausanne is the oldest in Europe and has been classed as part of the intangible cultural heritage of Vaud.
Lausanne is keen to develop its offering in terms of wine tourism and has been working hard to do so for years, with major projects supported by the Swiss Confederation and attractive facilities in the neighbouring vineyards of La Côte, Lavaux, Chablais, Côtes de l’Orbe, Bonvillars and Vully. Lausanne Wines is pleased and proud to open its doors to travellers from the local area and further afield to help them find out about winemaking practices, expertise and secrets. It offers a wide range of accommodation at the heart of its wine-growing estate, two of them with the Vaud Oenotourisme label. Discovering them is an exciting part of visitors' stays. Table d'hôtes menus, bed & breakfast accommodation and reception and tasting/sales rooms have been adapted to welcome visitors. In the spirit of green tourism and with a low environmental impact, these estates are situated a few kilometres from Lausanne and are easily accessible by public transport. The products served at receptions are mainly supplied by local producers.
A central location at the heart of Europe, a competitive tax system, a highly qualified workforce, the quality of transport services and a pragmatic public administration are just some of the assets that make Lausanne an attractive business location. A cosmopolitan city open to the world, Lausanne lures the most selective enterprises and multinational companies. Finally, the beauty of the living environment constitutes a further economic advantage for the city.
Innovation, technology and education
Innovation and a mastery of technology have enabled this country of 7.5 million inhabitants to produce world leaders in high-tech sectors, including Novartis (pharmaceutical products), Nestlé (food products), Merck-Serono (biotech) and Logitech (IT). According to a report by the OECD (Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2005), Switzerland comes out top in terms of developing knowledge-based industries in the 21st century and is among the leading group for acquiring the new skills and technologies needed by the industries of the future. The University of Lausanne and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, a centre for high-tech research of international importance, combine to form one of the biggest university campuses in Switzerland. Lausanne is also home to the internationally renowned IMD Business School for leadership and management courses, the Lausanne Hotel School (EHL), public administration institutions, vocational colleges and numerous private educational establishments and art schools.
IMD, a business school on a par with Harvard and INSEAD (Paris), whose MBA programmes are classed as some of the best in the world by Businessweek and the Financial Times year after year.
EPFL, whose excellence in the fields of science and engineering enabled it to gain second place in Europe in the Shanghai university rankings (2013) and to bring victory to the navigators of Team Alinghi at the America's Cup 2003 and 2007.
ECAL, recently named by the American magazine Businessweek as one of the best universities of applied art and design on the planet.
Lausanne Hotel School (EHL), the most prestigious educational establishment in the hotel and catering industry.
CHANGINS, the university of applied sciences, is the only educational establishment of its kind in Switzerland. It is the national centre of excellence for training in viticulture, oenology and arboriculture, thus reinforcing the standing of the canton of Vaud in the wine sector. It offers three courses of study covering both the theoretical and practical aspects of viticulture and oenology, as well as economics and management.
"Faster, higher, stronger": the motto associated with Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games, lives on in Lausanne. The Vaudois capital has also been the world Olympic capital since 1915, the year in which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was created on its shores. Since then, Lausanne has become the international capital of sport: it is home to 57 international sports federations and organisations, the majority of which have been housed in a new specialist centre - the Maison du sport international (MSI) - since 2006. Various international competitions and sporting events are held in the cantonal towns every year, such as Athletissima, the Lausanne marathon and Montreux Volley Masters.