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French Flavors in Switzerland: Exploring Lake Geneva and Lausanne

We spent a few days in French Switzerland on Lake Geneva (Lac Leman), staying in Lausanne’s convenient Chauderon neighborhood. A nearby Fooby prepared foods market provided tasty and fresh options for lunch and dinner picnics so we could enjoy the lake views from our Airbnb patio. 

One memorable part was the Chocolate Train experience, which took us on a Belle Époque-style train from Montreux to kitschy but informative tours in Gruyères for cheese and Broc for chocolate. (Unfortunately they were doing major construction on part of the train route so we ended up bussing to many of the locations.) Although a well-organized day-trip experience through the Swiss railway system, we didn’t realize how long it was (like a 2.5-hour hour lunch break in Gruyères), which unfortunately resulted in no nap and a predictable but still unpleasant meltdown in the train station at 5pm. For our family well-being when we travel, we try to have separate morning and afternoon experiences to break up the day with the nap – this has been a big lesson learned for us on past trips, particularly in the toddler years. (That is, if you have a kid that no longer naps in a stroller – oh how we miss those days!)

Old town Lausanne has a lot of charm as we wandered the hilly streets and hopped on and off the local buses. Jacob is slowly learning to use his version of a quiet voice inside cathedrals (including Lausanne’s, pictured here). I talk to him about how Papa would be able to identify and explain to us the meaning and significance of the figures and features at sites like this (and probably would have lingered there an hour longer than the rest of us). 

Fortunately we had good weather the first two days and Jacob got to wade in Lake Geneva looking like a true Frenchman after his jeans got soaked. Walks along the Ouchy waterfront area exploring the boats, playground, and Olympic gardens were another lovely feature of this city. And while Jacob and I needed some downtime from sight-seeing on our last day, Dave plowed through yet another castle, Chillón, because, well … @ricksteveseurope says so. 😆