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March 13, 2014

Spring Highlights for Lake Geneva Region

By Chris Boyle

Lake GenevaTravel in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn, ride the cheese train into the mountains, dine in the dark in Lausanne and attend a jazz festival in the wine village of Cully. These are among the highlights this spring in the Lake Geneva Region of Switzerland.

A Fair Lady

Homage to Audrey Hepburn at Fondation Bolle in Morges

Hollywood film star Audrey Hepburn left her mark on the cinematic world in films such as Charade, Roman Holiday and My Fair Lady. She also left many memories in Tolochenaz, near Morges, where she spent the last 30 years of her life. The exhibition “Audrey Hepburn à la une et sur un plateau de tournage” will be held from March
22 to June 1, 2014 at Fondation Bolle in Morges. To mark the occasion, Morges Region Tourism is relaunching its On the Trail of Audrey Hepburn Package.

It includes one night in a three- or four-star hotel, a special “In the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn” town map, admission to the new “Homage to Audrey Hepburn” exhibition at Fondation Bolle, coffee at the Maier Confectionary, a tea room frequented by Audrey Hepburn, and a box of “Audrey Hepburn” chocolates in a commemorative tin.

The offer is good from April 1 to December 31, 2014. Rates start at $98 per night, based on double occupancy. For information on participating hotels and to book, contact Morges Tourism, or visit for a list of participating hotels.

Food & Wine

GoldenPass launches the “Cheese Train”

The “Cheese Train” takes passengers on a day trip into the mountains. Using vintage Belle Epoque carriages, the train offers local cheese samples en route to Château-d’Oex and the traditional Le Chalet restaurant for a demonstration of wood-fired fromage-making by a cheese-maker in traditional Vaud costume, followed by a fondue lunch.

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Then it’s on to the Museum of Vieux Pays-d’Enhaut, which exhibits popular mountain art and recreations of old interiors, traditional objects and an exhibition of some famous pieces of decoupage art before returning to Montreux at day’s end. The Cheese Train will run until April 27th 2014, from Friday to Sunday. Prices from $44. After that, there are still plenty of other scenic rail journeys in the region, including excursions to Rocher-de-Naye.

Eyes Closed, Mouths Open – Lausanne’s New Dine-in-the-Dark restaurant

The Noir d’Ivoire restaurant in Lausanne’s trendy Flon area, a reclaimed warehouse district downtown, serves guests gourmet meals in complete and utter darkness. The restaurant opened in November 2013 by Chef Jérémie Baudeau and serves a prix fixe menu that gives guests a heightened sensual experience, using all their senses except sight. From $89 per person, reservations required.

Corks Popping – Wine Cellar Tastings and the Vinorama

On the weekend of June 7th and 8th, local vintners, as well as restaurant and hotel owners, welcome guests with wine tastings and local food at the annual Caves Ouvertes Vaudoise.

A “wine passport” is $17 for the tastings and reduced train packages and local free transportation makes it easy for guests to attend. Year round, visitors can taste and purchase hundreds of Vaud wines at the Lavaux Vinorama, the regional wine center built into terraced vineyards of Lavaux (themselves a UNESCO World Heritage Site) which is entirely dedicated to vines and wine.

Star Power: Michelin and GaultMillau

The 2014 edition of the Michelin Guide has awarded stars to 14 restaurants in the Lake Geneva Region, for a total of 19 stars. GaultMillau gave 103 restaurants in the region a total of 1,434 points and singled out Christophe Pacheco of the restaurant Le Berceau des Sens in Lausanne, was awarded “Sommelier of the Year”.

Million Dollar Locations for Two Budget-Friendly Hotels

You don’t need to be a millionaire to enjoy Swiss hospitality at these three-star hotels, one reborn and one brand new. In the heart of Swiss wine country, the Hôtel du Nord in
Aigle is a three-star property that’s close to Aigle Castle and a quick train ride to the alpine resort of Leysin. There are 24 redecorated guest rooms and a new bar/lounge where guest can sample local Chablais wines.

From $172 per night, including breakfast, based on double occupancy. The new Discovery Hotel is located in Crissier, just minutes from Lake Geneva and Lausanne. When it opens in April 2014, this three-star superior hotel will have 98 rooms, a fitness center, a restaurant with terrace and a roof terrace with panoramic views of the Lausanne area. All of this from $143 per night, including breakfast, based on double occupancy.

The Ultimate Swiss Watch (Man)

Lausanne’s Night Watchman Video

The Lake Geneva Region has launched a new video project, focusing on the people who embody the region and its traditions. The first video is about Renato Häusler, the “guet” (night watchman) of the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne. Since 2002, Renato has carried out a Lausanne tradition that dates back over 600 years to 1405.

From the walkway atop the 246 foot cathedral tower, Häusler calls out the hour between 10 pm to 2am. “C’est le guet, il a sonné dix…” (“It’s the watcher, it has rung ten…”). Click here to view the video.

The Hills are Alive – with Jazz and Dance

The Cully Jazz Festival

The legendary 48th annual Montreux Jazz Festival takes place July 4 to 19, 2014. Three months prior, another popular jazz fest takes place down the shoreline from Montreux in the lakeside wine village of Cully, at the foot of the Lavaux vineyards.

From April 4 to 12, 2014, the sounds of jazz, blues and rock fill the streets during the 32nd Cully Jazz Festival. There will be some 70 performances, including concerts by drummer Julian Sartorius and the Zurich trio Rusconi, accompanied by experimental guitar master Fred Frith and the bass player Avishai Cohen. The music continues in local wine cellars and cafes in the village.

Béjart Ballet Lausanne

The Béjart Ballet has its season at the Beaulieu Lausanne in May and in December each year, presenting by the late master Maurice Béjart and new ballets created by Gil Roman, the current Artistic Director. This year’s performances, from May
21 to 25, will include 7 Danses Grecques by Maurice Béjart and Kyôdai by Gil Roman.

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