Recently I read that Lausanne was the place where the Genevan philosopher, writer and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau, but also other intellectuals, had their base for several years. So there must be something inspiring both when it comes to reading and writing.
When the weather is nice, reading a book outside around Lausanne is one of my absolute favorites. I have compiled a list of some reading-book-friendly spots around the city:
The Cathedral’s courtyard (Esplanade de la Cathédrale)
There are several benches here with a great view of the city, the lake and the surroundings. If you don’t get too distracted from the occasional tourists who snap photos or the loud youngsters, that is a lovely place to dive into your book’s pages. Just remember to get your head up and enjoy the spectacular sunset –weather permitting.
The hidden Cathedral’s courtyard
On the backside of the dominant building of the cathedral, there is a hidden courtyard ideal for those moments of solitude you might be seeking. The sign reads “Promenade Saint Maur” and its natural shade is perfect for the warm summer days when you can snuggle on one of the benches and read like there is no tomorrow. Tip: this is an excellent spot for a quick summer pic nic in the city as well.
Park Mon Repos
Just minutes from the city centre, in this marvellous green oasis, you will find benches interspersed among some wonderful flower arrangements, small fountains and a section with exotic birds. There is also a small bistro, “La Folie Voltaire” with outdoor seating where you can enjoy your book while snacking. Tip: I have heard they serve a decadent hot chocolate, will report back once I confirm that. Their ice cream is also pretty tasty.
The former industrial area has today been transformed into a lively neighborhood with entertainment venues, cinemas, art schools, fitness studios and a few remaining artisans. There is a strong culture of outdoor public spaces and you will find that you can read your book just about everywhere. On the side stairs of the buildings, sitting on the white, puff-like chairs, on the restaurants’ terraces, on the benches just outside the metro. Find your own place. If it’s rainy or cold to sit outside then Culture Café inside FNAC, Leonard café, Bad Hunter restaurant and Blackbird’s Downtown Dinner are all great places for indoor reading in this area.
Esplanade de Montbenon
It is ample, it is green, it has got unhindered views and begs you to open that book and read. Just in front of the old premises of the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, which currently hosts the local court, the park can be very busy during summertime with all sorts of festivals taking place. With festivities on or not, you can come here anytime and relax in the company of a writer. I like to lie down on the grass, sit comfortably on a bench or read enjoying a drink at the wonderful terrace of the Brasserie de Montbenon with the theatrical interior.
Botanical gardens & Park Milan
Very close to the lake, nestled in a quiet, residential area below the train station, Park Milan is a favorite destination for parents with kids. So you could also bring your little ones and let them play while you find a nice, cozy spot to read your book. If you follow the uphill path that leads to the top, you will find many benches and an open space to lie down and read. Added bonus: the view over the lake and a uniquely different view of the city centre.
Et voilà. This is my top list for reading a book in Lausanne so far. Do you have any other ones to add? Do you also enjoy reading outside around a city or simply among natural surroundings?