Naturally Gifted: An Artistic Guide to Lausanne & Montreux Riviera

Naturally Gifted: An Artistic Guide to Lausanne & Montreux Riviera

Both the Montreux Riviera and university town of Lausanne have inspired artistic minds for centuries. Today, music, winemaking and gastronomy merge to make this lakeside idyll a must for pleasure-seekers.

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any music obsessive which gigs they wish they could travel
back in time and attend, and you’ll inevitably hear the word
Montreux“, whispered in hallowed tones. Montreux Jazz
Festival was founded in June 1967 by Claude Nobs, a jazz lover and
Montreux Tourism Office worker. The festival soon became a cultural
phenomenon: Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Soft Machine, Nina Simone
and Ella Fitzgerald delivered legendary performances at the
lakeside casino venue in the early years. By the Seventies, the
festival had expanded into blues, soul and rock, bringing in Led
Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and Deep Purple.

It’s hard to imagine the small, spotless and serene town of
Montreux playing host to some of the most radical and raucous jazz
and rock ‘n’ roll gigs of the 20th century. In 1973, Led Zeppelin
were playing to rapturous crowds of 49,000 in Atlanta and Florida,
more than twice the entire population of Montreux. The fact that
today Montreux Jazz Festival is the second-biggest annual festival
of its kind in the world (after Canada’s Montreal) speaks volumes
about just how persuasive and passionate the Swiss can be when it
comes to pursuing, and manifesting, pleasure.

Street life in Lausanne
A group conversation above the vineyards of Domaine Wannaz

Conversations between the vineyards in the region, left, and
street life in Lausanne. | Photo credit: Kevin Faingnaert

The Montreux Riviera, also known as the Dolce Riviera for its
commitment to la dolce vita, is not short of plucky tales like
this, either, with proud locals determined to preserve what is
special and spotlight what is pleasurable about their region. In
2007, after decades of tireless campaigning by the environmental
activist Franz Weber and his daughter Vera, the vineyards of Lavaux
were granted Unesco status, saving this 830-hectare expanse of
steeply terraced vineyards from redevelopment into holiday homes.
Today, exploring the sun-kissed, south-facing vineyards, cellar
rooms and wine bars of Lavaux is a highlight of any visit to this

Meanwhile, the refined university town of Lausanne
feels liveable – in 2019, Monocle ranked Lausanne the best small
city in the world in its much-vaunted liveability index. The city’s
elegant Belle Époque apartments would be perfect for writing
poetry or painting watercolours – or maybe launching a tech
start-up or fashion label. Here, we find students, writers, artists
and designers chatting over fondue at the Café de Grancy and
natural wines at the Café des Philosophes.

This is a community passionate about the joys of music, nature,
food, wine and art. Striking as this region’s scenery may be, it’s
the spirit of savouring life’s sweetness that makes it so

Lausanne & Montreux Riviera unpacked: the region’s address

Where to stay

The impressive exterior of Chateau D'Ouchy
Photo credit: Kevin Faingnaert


Château D’Ouchy

This is the most modern of a quartet of Lausanne hotels under
the same ownership, including Hotel Angleterre & Résidence,
Beau-Rivage Palace and Lausanne Palace. Château d’Ouchy has a
fabulous lakefront terrace, with craft cocktails to match.


Place du Port, 1006 Lausanne

The front of Trois Couronnnes Hotel


Hôtel des Trois Couronnes

One of two ravishing Belle Époque hotels on the lakefront
promenade in Vevey, this elegant 71-room beauty affords views of
Lake Geneva and the Alps. It has a dreamy, cinematic ambience that
makes you feel as if you’re in an F Scott Fitzgerald novel.


Rue d’Italie 49
CH-1800 Vevey

Hôtel Masson Veytaux in Switzerland


Hôtel Masson Veytaux

A more affordable but no less atmospheric option is this
gorgeous family-run hotel, also a Belle Époque architectural
delight and located only 10 minutes’ walk from medieval must-visit
Château de Chillon.


Simona & Frank Laves, Rue Bonivard 5, CH – 1820 Veytaux

The Lowdown

Seeking more recommendations for hotels in Lausanne and
Montreux Riviera? Head to Or, purchase Volume 37: Craft today and receive A Creative’s Guide
to Switzerland, an 80-page SUITCASE travel companion to Zurich,
Geneva, Basel, and Lausanne and Montreux Riviera.

Main photo credit: Kevin Faingnaert