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Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

Brisbane
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Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

We are planning a one week stay just after Christmas in the French part of Switzerland. We are a family of three with a son who will be 22 months old then. We would like to take some interesting day trips and experience scenery, culture and some fun in the snow if there is any at that time of year.

Would Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey have the most atmosphere at this time of year? and what activities are available (or unavailable) at this time of year? eg are some of the train rides/shuttles closed?

Accommodation wise we would like something not too pokey as there are the 3 of us but not too pricey either as we do not have a huge budget. If meals are available or included in the tariff that would be great. Your suggestions on where to stay would be welcome! We are open to suggestions of all accomm options including B&B.

Thanks for your help

London
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1. Re: Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

This can be a very nice area after Christmas. All public transport will be running, and you can easily get up into the local mountains to explore in the snow. Although you cannot guarantee that local ski lifts will be open, there is almost always some snow in the mountains at this time of year so you get to have the winter wonderland experience.

Going round Chateau de Chillon at the Montreux end of the lake is excellent at this time of year as it is quieter than normal.

Brisbane
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2. Re: Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

Thanks NorthwestLondoner,

We decided to stay at Vevey and will do day trips to other places. Have read your reviews of Vevey and we are looking forward to the trip!

London
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3. Re: Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

You mentioned having some fun in the snow, so here are some specifics for you. To get up to the local mountains from Vevey for some fun in the snow, here's what to do:

On the main road in front of Vevey station, there are bus stops. Catch the bus to Chatel St. Denis from the bus stop on the station side of the road. This is a nice journey up to an attractive small town (Chatel St. Denis) that takes about 20 minutes on the old road up through the vineyards and fields. The bus terminates at Chatel St. Denis station. From the station wait on the outside bench at the ticket office end of the station (wait usually about 15 minutes), you can catch the bus up to Les Paccots village (10 minutes journey).

To check bus times, go to www.sbb.ch/en and type in Vevey, gare as your "from" point and Les Paccots, Ermitage as your "to" point. The Ermitage is a hotel one stop on from the centre of the village. It is the closest stop to the skating rink (which has really teeny skates, so might be possible for your baby) and there is now a large elaborate playground (which is so new I don't know whether children will still be able to play on it in the winter). There is also a nice rustic restaurant called Le Tsale, where you could enjoy some hot chocolate and relax.

The main ski resort is up a bit higher and you would need a car to get up to it, but you would be able to have fun in the snow at village level. If either of you wanted to ski (assuming the resort is fully open), it's possible to hire skis in the village and there is a drag lift up from the village to the main ski area. Bear in mind that just after Christmas, you cannot guarantee that the ski lifts will be open, but there is almost always some snow, a nice chill in the air and the skating rink is usually open. If you are there on the 26th, Father Christmas comes to the skating rink.

Also, if you have one of those baby rucksack things for carrying your baby and you fancy a winter hike, I can recommend a good one: Take the bus from Chatel St. Denis to Les Paccots, but instead of getting off just after the centre of the village, get off at the terminating point Les Rosalys, Place. Walk up the steep road to Les Rosalys Hotel (which also is a nice place to eat in the winter) and follow the yellow pedestrian signs from in front of the hotel across and up through the woods. Even in the snow, this route is usually fairly easy as the trees protect the path from having deep snow. The path leads up through the woods and pops out into the main ski resort area. The walk takes about 30 minutes. If this appeals, let me know, and I will tell you where to eat up there and the best places for playing with your baby.

If you want to read about all the things I like to do, you can read more about it here and see photos (both winter and summer).

tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g644345-Les_Paccots_…

Hope that whets your appetite for a nice day of winter fun.

Brisbane
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4. Re: Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

Hi NorthWestLondoner

Thanks for your post. You obviously spend some time there!

Yep, we are after fun in the snow, not serious skiiers and more than anything just want to spend quality time together with our son. He'll be 22 mths old then, running around but not ready for serious skiing. We may get on skiis for a day or so over our 2 week stay.

The skating rink could be lots of fun. Unfortunately we won't be there till the 28th so will miss Santa on the skating rink.

The winter hike appeals.

Have had a look at your pics and "things to do" in les Paccots, thanks for that.

Also, just HOW cold is it there at Christmas time? We are from Brisbane Australia where we wear Tshirts in winter (though we do pull on a jumper in the winter evenings!) and really have NO REALCONCEPT of how cold it is going to be. What sort of clothing do we need to wear outdoors for a normal day?

Cheers

Mattie's mum

London
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5. Re: Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

I know the area well, as my family have a holiday home in Les Paccots. Hope my tips are helpful to you!

It will be very very cold by your standards, but not particularly cold by, say, North American ski resort standards. You would be looking at a range in the prealps of around minus 5 up to about plus 5. For heading up into the mountains, your baby will need an all in one snow suit with mittens (the padded zip up sort of snow suit seems to be all the rage) a woolly hat, and some grippy boots Baby sun glasses are a good idea too. You could buy these things in Vevey in the St. Antoine shopping centre (diagonally to the right across from Vevey station). There's a large department store and if you head through this, there are other shops such as H&M, quite a few shoe shops and a sports shop. The sales should have started by the time you arrive, so it might be easier for you to get the stuff you need then (assuming you have plenty of layers, a hat and gloves to bundle your baby in when you very first arrive). Obviously, if you have a place near you where you can buy cheap winter/ski clothes, then it would make sense to buy it in advance as it is not cheap in Switzerland, but buying the stuff in a normal department store in Vevey with a sale shouldn't break the bank.

As long as babies are bundled up from the cold, they don't seem the slightest bit bothered.

For skiing ideally you would want to wear ski trousers, vest, t-shirt, jumper, ski socks (long thick socks that come up to just below the knee), ski gloves, woolly hat, scarf and sun glasses or goggles. If you were only going to go skiing for a day and can cope without looking too foxy, you can make the best of things by wearing tracksuit bottoms and another pair of trousers over the top (plus a pair of waterproof hiking trousers if you have them), t-shirt, jumper, your ski jacket or winter coat with a rain coat over the top, a woolly hat, scarf, sun glasses, and a couple of pairs of normal gloves at the same time. You may be absolutely stifling if its a sunny day, but it can be very cold in the shade. If the resort is open, I've seen people having private lessons, dressed in some fairly surprising things, so presumably they'd just come up for the day for a try!

When I go down to Vevey, I usually wear some cordoroy trousers (jeans can be a bit chilly) and layers (t-shirt, jumper and ski jacket) with woolly hat, gloves and scarf. You will probably be feeling the cold more than me, so I would add in a vest (in the British sense, vest meaning undershirt!). There's a nice self service cafe on the top floor of the St. Antoine shopping centre, which seems to be popular with families.

You might like to take a look at the ski school information:

www.lespaccots.ch/

London
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6. Re: Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

PS - let me know nearer the time, and I'll give you very detailed directions for the winter hike so you need not fear getting lost.

Brisbane
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7. Re: Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

Thanks for all the clothing tips! Will make sure we get something in the end of season sales here as we will have 2 weeks in Switzerland (one week before we go to Vevey) and wouldn't really want to take the chance after arriving there just before Christmas. A friend suggested bib and braces + jacket for bub as they were on and off all the time with the jacket.

By the way we decided to stay in Les Trois Couronnes, based on availability and the reviews and candid traveller photos from Trip Advisor which were just outstanding. So much for "not too pricey"!! However, compared to, say, Zurich, it looks like a steal!

I will contact you as suggested closer to the time for further details on the walk... thanks so much for your help!

London
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8. Re: Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

It does look like a very impressive place to stay!

Switzerland
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9. Re: Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

I read your message my accident looking at the forum for the area where I live (Lausanne-Vevey-Montreux). The area is very beautiful in the summer but personnally I would not go there for a holiday at Christmas. This area is a summer destination. First, do not expect to find snow. You will have to take the train to go up in the mountains and that's easily 1.30 hours or more. If you are unlucky you can find fog, which can be there for days. Also, keep in mind that this is a very quiet period of the year, since many people have left on on a holiday and not much is going on. There are public holidays (1 and 2 January), which means that many shops are closed. With regard to your budget, be careful. I would choose another destination.

Switzerland
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10. Re: Christmas in Lausanne, Montreux or Vevey

I looked at this forum because I live in the area. I would not recommend that area for a holiday at Christrmas because it can be humid, foggy, grey and very quiet at this time of the year. The week between Christmas and New Year is very very quiet since many people are on holidays. In short, if you are looking for "atmosphere" this is not the right place to go at that time of the year. On the contrary, if you would have planned to go there in the summer I would have highly recommended the place. From the cultural point of view, many museums maybe closed and there is not much to do. Finding budget accomodation might be not an easy task. I would spend some more money and go the mountains instead and come back another time to the area ... in the summer.