Lausanne is attractive and vibrant, set on a succession of south-facing terraces above Lake Geneva, with the Old Town at the top, the train station and commercial districts in the middle, and the former fishing village of Ouchy, now prime territory for waterfront café-lounging and strolling, at the bottom. Switzerland’s biggest university makes this a lively, fun city. For chilled-out bars, head for the trendy Flon district.
To reach the central Place St-François from the train station, walk up the steep rue du Petit-Chêne, or take the metro to Flon; from the metro platforms, lifts raise you to the level of the giant Grand Pont, between Place Bel-Air on the left and Place St-François on the right. From here, Rue St-François drops down into a valley and up again to the cobbled Place de la Palud, an ancient, fountained square flanked by the Renaissance town hall.