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What You Need To Know

Lausanne is a city on Lake Geneva in the French-speaking region of Vaud, Switzerland. It’s home to the International Olympic Committee headquarters, as well as the Olympic Museum and Archives. It is also the transportation hub of Vaud, and a gateway to the alpine Canton of the Valais, home to some of the best known ski slopes in the world. The old 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.

Area: 15.97 mi²
Population: 129,902 (2012)

Currency

Switzerland’s official currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF). Banknotes are issued in the following denominations: 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10 Francs; and smaller monetary denominations are issued as coins. One Swiss Franc is equal to 100 Centimes. Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, prices are often quoted in Euros and payment in Euros is sometimes accepted.

Weather

  • Lausanne has an average of 119.7 days of rain or snow per year and on average receives 1,153 mm (45.4 in) of precipitation.
  • The months June, July and August have a nice average temperature.
  • Most rainfall (rainy season) is seen in June, July, August and September.
  • On average, the warmest month is July.
  • On average, the coolest month is January.
  • August is the wettest month.
  • February is the driest month.

Language

Lausanne is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, with French, German and Italian, respectively, the most widely spoken languages.

Safety

Lausanne, like most of Switzerland, is pretty safe in general. You are only likely to run into problems just outside of the entrances of popular dance clubs near closing time, when imported tensions sometimes show themselves. Name a conflict worldwide, odds are that both sides are represented among young people in Lausanne.

Petty crime does occur occasionally, usually when there are crowds of people loitering around during the various festivals that the city has.   Simply be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on your possessions, and you should be just fine.

There are also numerous African drug dealers working in the center of town especially around the Chauderon area. However they will not particularly bother you if you pass by, except subdued-though-audible catcalling (to young women) or “would you like to buy something” (to young men).

Getting Around

Lausanne is easily navigable by public transport or car. It is also easy to travel by foot or by bicycle, although some roads are rather steep! The public transport office at the main train station provides comprehensive information and advice on suitable ticket options.

Single, multi-journey, day tickets and Mobilis Travel Cards (FR) are available. These provide access to the entire public transport network including the metro, trolleybus and bus services, as well as and extensive regional train networks to surrounding areas. TL is the public transport provider of Lausanne. Vevey/Montreux (FR) and Nyon (FR) have their own regional transport networks. Tickets are available at bus stops and stations.

Traveling tips

Here are a few helpful tips to get you started on Swiss public transport:

  • You must purchase your ticket before boarding (exceptions made for rural routes with no machine at the stop).
  • Children under six years of age travel for free.
  • Travelling with a dog: Dogs over 30 cm tall (about 12 inches) need to pay second-class half fare (there are also day cards and GA passes for dogs). Small dogs can travel for free in a carrier or basket.
  • Travelling with a bicycle: You are required to buy a supplementary bike ticket. You can bring your bicycle or unloaded bike trailers onto most SBB/CFF trains, private railways and PostBuses. Folded bikes can be stored as hand luggage for free. Note: Capacities for bicycle transport may be restricted during peak traffic periods.
  • Utilise the excellent SBB/CFF apps for iPhone and Android.