Albert Camus once said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” and we find those words carry much more beauty and hope this year, as we think we can all agree that fresh and new beginnings are welcomed after what we’ve collectively experienced and continue to experience this year. Though we know the pandemic isn’t anywhere close to being over, and things will most likely never be what they were, we like to take moments during this beautiful season in Lausanne and simply walk. We find the fresh air, the vibrant colors, the acknowledgment that like seasons, moments are fleeting (yes, even a pandemic won’t last forever), brings us a clarity and peace that is welcomed. Plus, walking is healthy and free! We’ve rounded up our favorite autumn walks in and around Lausanne and we hope these will give you some head space and bring a bit of joy to your heart as well.
Just on the peripheral of the city, but still very much a part of Lausanne, lies Sauvabelin. A perfect place for nature lovers, families, or people who just want to escape the noise of the city and take some time to be in the forest. There’s the famous Tour de Sauvabelin which boasts panoramic views of Lausanne and the lake below, as well as a small lake surrounded by animals of the region, a newly renovated park, and a small restaurant.
Photo from MySwitzerland
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site for a reason, and we believe that autumn is one of the best times to take a stroll amongst the golden vines with views of Lac Leman below. It’s also the harvesting season, which means a celebration for all things wine. We recommend taking a picnic and finding a bench or picnic table, or visiting one of the many wine caves in the region for a tasting. Please be reminded that you aren’t allowed to walk within the vines, nor pick grapes. This is the livelihood of winegrowers in the region and should be respected.
One of our favorite villages to start our walk is Chexbres.
Expansive forests, streams, running and mountain bike trails, wide-open fields, horse riding paths, parcours vita courses, and plenty of opportunities to get lost. Chalet-à-Gobet (which we now affectionately call “CHAG”) has been our go-to spot just about any time we feel like we need a dose of nature nearby. There are even little places scattered throughout the forests to build fires and roast sausages, have picnics, and just explore. In the wintertime, if there’s enough snow, there’s a small magic carpet installed with a perfect hill for beginner skiers to give it a go.
We know there aren’t a lot of trees in La Cité, but you need to come here for the autumn sunsets from the lookout point right at the base of the cathedral (or from the top!). The colors, the scattered rooftops, the lake, and mountains across provide such a dramatic setting that is sure to make you gush. We live here. Can you believe it?
Photo by Remi Moebs
Walk along the shores of Lac Leman and appreciate the contrast of the bright leaves with the blue-greys of the lake. We found the real treat is watching the sun dip below the horizon, almost matching the brilliant orange and red hues found in the foliage alongside the walking path.
For the best autumn colors, start in Vidy and walk direction St. Sulpice. Stop by the infamous driveway of plane trees right in front of UNIL or the “banane” where you may need to navigate around Instagrammers trying to get their perfect autumn shot.
Parc de Valency
It’s a small park, but with huge autumn feels. At the peak of the season, the pathway is littered with yellows and oranges and bright leaves contrast so beautifully with the dark bark of the tree trunks. This is a perfect park for leafy fights or if you’re pressed for time but want an autumnal moment all the same.
Photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo
Mercy Ships Loop
Just between above Chailly, a small neighborhood in Lausanne, there’s a working farm and locally loved running/walking loop that’s open to the public. It’s technically the land that hosts the Mercy Ships HQ, but the trails are all open and accessible. In the autumn, walk the undulating hills that switch between canopied forests and open fields–witnessing the change of the land, and of the crop nearby as farmhands tend to the soil nearby.
Location is across from the Rovéréaz Farm, access from Route d’Oron.
Lausanne Botanical Gardens
Open all year round, and every day (except for a few days around the holidays) the Lausanne Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to witness how the changing of the seasons affect the flora around us. Centrally located next to the Parc de Milan, it’s a peaceful activity with frequent exhibitions. One of the best perks? Entry is free.
More info here.
Ok, we know Lutry isn’t Lausanne. But we have nothing but love for our neighboring village. Though it’s small and not necessarily filled with foliage, there are so many little nooks and crannies to explore and appreciate that lend beauty to this season. Meander through town admiring the colorful vines that grow along the facades, grab a crepe next to the nautical club or a coffee from one of our local faves, Rush Coffee and take your time enjoying the crisp breeze and cobblestoned streets.
Neighboring Cully is also a favorite.
Are there any other autumn walks you’d add to the list? We’d love to hear them in the comments!