Switzerland on the move - Trends-Tendances sur PC

Switzerland on the move – Trends-Tendances sur PC

Lausanne, Lucerne, Locarno: urban detours in the three linguistic regions, to discover a Switzerland that moves, far from clichés. Anyway, the mountain is never far, even by train.

In the race to the Swiss resorts, the winter sports enthusiast often forgets the cities, real jewels of history, art, idleness, gastronomy, trendy shops… A short detour to three cities which have common to each represent a linguistic region of the Confederation… and to start with the letter L. All in three days, favoring the train and without blowing the wallet at a time when the Swiss franc is reaching peaks.

In the race to the Swiss resorts, the winter sports enthusiast often forgets the cities, real jewels of history, art, idleness, gastronomy, trendy shops… A short detour to three cities which have common to each represent a linguistic region of the Confederation… and to start with the letter L. All in three days, favoring the train and without blowing the wallet at a time when the Swiss franc is reaching peaks. For too long compared to “chic” Geneva, Lausanne is today much more than this languid provincial bourgeois on the shores of Lake Geneva. The pandemic has allowed it to get a nice facelift: pedestrian and cycle zones, colorful terraces everywhere, new districts like that of Flon… A metro line (the only one in Switzerland) connects the top and bottom of the town. Because Lausanne has some solid slopes, like this rue du Petit Chêne which you can ski down in winter. Next to the station, Platform 10, the brand new arts district, has settled on a former locomotive repair area. Its brand new buildings house three museums whose temporary common thread is, precisely, the railway. Thus, the exhibition Voyages imaginaires shows how artists have taken up the motif, from Paul Delvaux to Chirico via Hitchcock, awakening the dark fantasies and erotic potential associated with the train, with the shrillness of steam in the background. escaping and the frantic cavalcade of the approaching convoy. Like its panorama walk, Lausanne offers urban routes where you never get bored. They pass by its lakeside, its lovely parks, its cathedral (with its reversible benches to listen to the organ), its splendid Olympic Museum and another devoted to immigration, reminding us of how cosmopolitan the city has become. A little thirsty? A network of 44 historic cafes really makes you want to enter. In the meantime, there is no shortage of cool water fountains. Lausanne is also the only Swiss city to own vineyards and produce its own wines. Going to meet a winemaker? An RER takes you to Bossière in six minutes. After a quarter of an hour’s walk in the middle of the vineyards, we arrive at the estate of Jean-Christophe Piccard, devoted to biodynamic wines: “This production has opened up markets for me even though my surface area does not exceed 2.5 hectares”, he laughs. On his shady terrace overlooking the lake, he is inexhaustible in evoking yeasts, bacteria, minerality… He invites you to taste his wines: “Another experience, a hundred leagues from classic oenology!” In two hours by train from Lausanne, you reach this pearl of Lake Lucerne: Lucerne, originally a fishing village which, with the opening of the Gotthard pass, will become a major axis between north and south. from Europe. It experienced its golden age in the 18th century, before ceding the title of capital of the country to Bern and that of economic capital to Zurich. All that remained was tourism… but which would attract all the big names in Europe, including Queen Victoria. Prestigious palaces have sprung up on the shores of the lake, which are still crisscrossed today by Art Nouveau style paddle steamers. We have barely left the station designed in 1991 by Calatrava when we discover the emblem of the city: the Kapellbrücke, a magnificent all-wooden covered bridge which crosses the Reuss, punctuated by triangular frescoes on the ceiling. It was originally a walkway dominated by a tower which served as a prison, dungeon, warehouse… In this postcard city, Asian tourists represent a third of travellers. The shooting of Indian films has boosted the destination. More, no doubt, than the consecration of the baroque Jesuit church to Saint Francis Xavier, who was nicknamed the apostle of the Indies in the 17th century. A side chapel is dedicated to Nicolas de Flüe, the mystic who became the patron saint of Switzerland and who preached meditation. The illustrated facades are a marker of the city, as on the remarkable Hôtel des Balances (nothing to do with denunciation but with the justice that once went there) or on another residence brightened up by carnival figures, celebrated for a week during. In Lucerne, they also throw oranges… but the guide has never heard of Binche. In the evening by the lake, a well-dressed crowd rushes to the 1,800-seat concert hall of the KKL Culture and Congress Center with its vast roof, designed by Jean Nouvel. Its acoustics are among the best in the world. Precisely, the prestigious Lucerne Festival, until September 11 (and from November 18 to 20 for contemporary music), gives the opportunity to capture all the nuances. That night, it was Gustav Mahler on the program. The audience gave a standing ovation for several minutes. The most visited museum in Switzerland? The Verkehrshaus, devoted to transport. You can access its 20,000 square meters by a beautiful walk along the lake. Beyond the nostalgia of old trains and retired planes – nothing is spared from the bankruptcy of Swissair, but no mention of Sabena – it is about the future that it is a question, betting on the playful and interactive side. This is why so many families with children flock there, fascinated by the Swiss talent for taming the mountains thanks to the latest generation tunnels and funiculars, such as the one that leads to Pilatus (2,128 m). Heading for Locarno. Before changing to Bellinzona, capital of the Ticino canton (canton of Ticino), we pass through the heart of another human feat: the Gotthard railway tunnel, the longest in the world, 57 km traveled at a speed of 230 km /h. Amazing! On arrival, the palm trees appear. In the city, we even discover leopards: it is the emblem of the film festival at the beginning of August, of which only a giant screen still remains on the Piazza Grande with its beautiful Lombard arcades. The elders seated on a bench, the “ciao!” here and there, the cult of espresso or even this amazing risotto festival: it’s hard to believe you’re in Switzerland. “The Alps offer a natural barrier, explains Laura, a young local guide. Here, it’s the beginning of southern Europe. Everything is more relaxed.” During the pandemic, many German-speaking tourists found refuge there. In front of the station, you can board an old funicular piloted by a taciturn attendant. It climbs through the greenery to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso, which overlooks Lake Maggiore. This remarkable building is also the zero point of the Camino de Santiago from Switzerland. The pilgrim can meditate on a Last Supper composed of life-size sculpted figures. Or soar even higher into the skies, thanks to a gondola that leads to panoramic swings! The descent by the staircase brings us back to the city center. Behind a small park emerges an enormous red cube: it is the Ghisla Art Collection, founded in 2014 by Martine and Pierrino Ghisla who have been bringing together for 30 years works of pop art, conceptual art, abstractionism, to which s add those of emerging artists. “I lived 47 years in Belgium where I worked as an importer of fruit and vegetables”, says Pierrino between two passionate comments on works by Basquiat, Haring, Warhol, Magritte… We are seized to find ourselves, alone , in the face of these big names. In the evening, you can dine at the ValleMaggia, with a limited menu but with succulent dishes. His particuliarity? The team includes employees with mental disabilities, who perform their tasks in the best way. Their presence softens the atmosphere, as if an angel of peace floats among the guests. Could this be an illustration of the “spirit of Locarno”? In 1925, the city hosted a peace conference between Germany, France, Belgium, England, Italy, Poland and Czechoslovakia. “It was a time of hope and cooperation in Europe,” says a sign on the road to peace, which adds that, throughout the conference, the facade of the sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso was illuminated with a garland of lamps forming the word PAX. If Locarno could once again light up the world…


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