Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Where to hang out in Lausanne: La Grenette

Settled in a couch reminiscent of one that resides in my grandmother's house, surrounded by multicolored sun umbrellas and flower gardens that welcome a friendly picker (at just 50 centimes per stem), it's kind of hard to believe we are still in Lausanne. I mean, when did it get this trendy?
From those who brought us Zooburger, La Grenette is a small oasis in the midst of Riponne's concrete plaza, which opened it's proverbial doors earlier this summer. The furniture is thrifted, the idea fresh; mismatched tables and chairs add to the informally cute charm. The menu consists of simple crêpes, in-house Soulberry sirops, and various beer, wine, and cocktail choices.
One of the best parts? La Grenette is literally a place for everyone. Looking around there are students with headphones studying their textbooks, friends chatting over apero, couples splitting a crepe, and families with young children taking advantage of the provided slide, tricycles (and bike track!), as well as an children's outdoor library. Parents should also take advantage of La Halte Jeux de la Grenette, an outdoor venue for families that hosts arts and craft activities and who also offer up to a half-day of free childcare (sponsored by the city of Lausanne)...seriously? Hellooooo child-free shopping!

You can read more about La Grenette and its history, or find out about events they host on their website: http://lagrenettedelausanne.ch

Or follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lagrenette/info

One thing to note: La Grenette is an outdoor seasonal terrace which is open from June until October.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Photo of the Week: Giacomini Refuge in Anzeindaz

What a weekend! We are back from two beautiful days of hiking and an overnight stay at Refuge Giacomini, the most idyllic little mountain hotel in Anzeindaz, Vaud. More details to come, but for now we wanted to share a glimpse - mountain pastures and soaring peaks...

Refuge Giacomini
024 498 22 95

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Where to eat in Paris: Our favorites

If you follow this blog closely, you might have noticed that this has been something of a special year for the Lausanne Guide. Half of our duo (Sarah) spent the spring in Paris working on a master’s degree, which left the other half (Tanya) to manage the site all on her lonesome. Needless to say, both of us are pretty exhausted…

But with that being said, we are so glad to be together again and brainstorming about fun projects to bring you this fall. But first things first – you can’t spend 5 months in Paris without having a few favorite spots to recommend to your friends, can you?!? Here are our top picks:

Pomze – if you only have one night out in Paris, this is your place. We’ve been coming here through the years and as much as we love testing new restaurants, nothing has yet de-throned Pomze as our favorite dinner in the city of lights. Why? Because every dish is a conversation. Never have we seen such unusual ingredient pairings – the surprise and delight of each combination means that basically we spend our entire dinner talking about our dinner, sharing bites and marveling over the creativity of it all. This is foodie paradise! The restaurant gets its name from the French word for “apples,” props to all you geniuses who already figured that one out. ;)

The chef incorporates apples into each dish in some subtle and innovative way; non-apple lovers fear not! While the flavor may serve as a red tread, giving the cuisine its creative structure, the tastes are never overwhelming. This gorgeous dining experience is also the most affordable we’ve had: three courses for 35 euros. We’ve practically eaten our way through Paris this spring, and we can attest that this is the best value we have found anywhere.

Things to note: 1) Pomze features live piano music most weekend nights. 2) Be sure to request a table by the window. 3) The restaurant’s apple theme is tied to the Normandy region of France, and so Pomze features accordingly a large list of ciders. For 14 euros, you can add a cider pairing to your dinner, which includes a glass perfectly selected to accompany the dishes that you pick. How fun is that? 4) While there is no dress code, Pomze feels classy, so we like to take it up a notch… 5) One negative observation: sometimes the dining room is not fully set, meaning half of the tables are left without plates, silver and glasses. Sadly, it gives the impression that Pomze's true glory days are behind it. But, we can assure you that what comes out of the kitchen sends a completely different message!

109 Boulevard Haussmann
75008 Paris
+33 1 42 65 65 83

Bistroy les Papilles – This is a great traditional Parisian bistro serving hearty and satisfying French cooking. The space is snug and the ambiance convivial and warm. We love this spot for their delightful service and vast wine selection. Wine lovers will enjoy the process of picking their bottle from off the wall; less confident diners can always rely on the knowledgeable wait staff for a recommendation. The menu changes each night and there is only one option available – four courses of whatever the chef has imagined for 35 euros. But don’t worry – it’s all delicious!

Things to note: 1) The food is RICH. Show up hungry. Eat slow. 2) The location is near the Pantheon – romantic after dinner stroll, check! 3) Dining at Bistroy Papilles is a laid back affair, so come dressed casually (perhaps with a belt to let out about half-way through dinner)

Bistroy les Papilles
30 Rue Gay-Lussac
75005 Paris
+33 1 43 25 20 79

A few others that are worth mentioning:
Want to eat well and not spend a fortune? Le Potager de Père Thierry (This is essentially a Parisian, French-food dive - we recommend the oeuf à la coque with foie gras...)

Art Deco chic + no-frills, delicious French food? Poulette (Take a look at the site, and you'll see instantly why we love dining here!)

Stylish afternoon coffee and French concept fashion and deco store? Merci (This is near the lovely but understated upper Marais neighborhood)

We’re sure that there are trendier places out there, but our list is primarily curated with the idea of delicious food in mind first and foremost. Restaurants with great ambiance that didn’t blow us away with their cooking didn’t make the cut. All of these spots are places that we returned to multiple times and look forward to visiting again and again in the future. Hope we’ve given you a few useful addresses for your next trip to the French capital!

We’re curious; do you have any Parisian addresses that we should try this fall?!? Please, please let us know via email or in the comments below. Merci mille fois!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Festival de la Cité 2014 - en ville!

Festival de la Cité, which typically takes place in the historic heart of Lausanne (La Cité), has been displaced due to construction and is now bringing installation art, theatrical performances and concerts all over town from July 8-13.

To get an idea of what you might want to see, be sure to check out the program. However, leave some time to just stroll around town and be surprised too. Throughout the week, the streets will be filled with festival goers, enjoying local cuisine from food stands set up by many of our favorite Lausanne restaurants. This is the perfect week to meet up with friends and just soak up summertime in the city - Let's just hope the weather decides to work with us a bit...

For updates - follow along on the #cite2014. We'll be sure to share our photos and experiences - hope you'll join us!

City-wide festival map.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Montreux Jazz 2014

We can hardly contain our excitement – it’s Montreux Jazz time and WE have tickets to hear Van Morrison and legendary Mavis Staples. We’d be ashamed of gloating, but there are still spots available to this concert and several others, so it’s not too late to join us!

We started the festival off last night with some unexpected tickets to see Passenger and Angus and Julia Stone - thanks a mil to Lausanne-based Blogger Nicola from NexttoNicx who set us up with some tickets yesterday afternoon. The concert was great - but best surprise of all was how Passenger stole our hearts! What a performer! Were any of you there?!?!

Our area is known for its fabulous summer festival schedule, but the Montreux Jazz is the crown jewel. If you’re not interested in a paying concert, you can still participate via the free circuit, which every year features up-and-coming artists that before too long will be common names. Trust us, we kick ourselves every year when we realize that we missed an opportunity to see a new hot band for free the year before.

The Montreux Jazz Program lays out the entire event, free and paying concerts alike.

For a list of paying events and online ticket purchasing...Beware, for some reason the ticket purchasing function keeps reverting to German.

And if free concerts are all you are looking for, visit the list of the free offering.

Join the festival conversation online with #MJF14

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Where to Work Out in Lausanne: FitMama

As a mother, trying to find the time to work out is hard enough--but then when you do have the time, maximizing it becomes even more difficult. Enter Michelle. A personal trainer and mother herself, she knows that time is precious. That's why her FitMama class is only 45-minutes long but extremely focused on exercises that benefit a postpartum body. It's also a class where your children are welcome, so no need to figure out childcare etc. Mothers set their children up in the corners of the class with their toys and their games and can focus on the workout without worrying.

Michelle runs the FitMama class like a bootcamp. A 45-minute workout comprised of different exercises that change every two minutes--sounds [and is] a bit daunting, we know. But Michelle is encouraging, and she is extremely knowledgeable and aware as her background is in personal training, fitness, and nutrition.

Because of the intimate nature of the class, Michelle offers personal advice and corrects your technique--which we found extremely helpful. She also offers alternative exercises based on your personal abilities (or in our case, inabilities) and injuries.

Michelle said right away that her goal isn't to make you skinny--she doesn't do skinny. Her goal is to get you fit, toned, and feeling good about your body. Her class was exactly that--though the bootcamp style can be a little harrowing to some,  and if we are being totally honest extremely challenging, it totally kicked our butts in a good way. We left the class full of energy, endorphins, and with a feeling of accomplishment (the fact that we couldn't lift our arms to shampoo our heads for a few days is another story).

***Your first class is free when you mention The Lausanne Guide!***

Fit Mama 
Monday and Friday in Lausanne from 10h-10h45
Monday and Wednesday in Morges (see website for times)
Tuesday and Thursday in Geneva (see website for times)

To book a class online or check out the other classes Michelle offers, visit the Pure Gravity website 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Cocktail Series: Pimm's Cucumber Spritz

Ok lazies, this one is for you! This is literally the easiest cocktail to make in the history of ever.  Pimm's is a summery favorite (spicy and citrusy notes make it an easy liqueur to use), paired with the already prepared sparkling cucumber water creates a crisp and fresh cocktail.

The Players:
  • Pimm's No 1 Cup
  • Qcumber Sparkling Water (available at Globus)
  • Ice (if Qcumber water is not cold)
  • Optional: Fresh cucumbers and/or lime to add to the drink itself or to use as garnish

The Play:
  • Put 1 1/2 shots of Pimm's in glass
  • Fill the rest with chilled Qcumber water
  • Optional: Add cucumber garnish and a squeeze of lime (and ice if not cool)

Simply delicious.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Where to Chop your Locks: Meet Pedro

We don't know about you, but we have been on the hunt for an English-speaking, reasonably priced, trendy, and local hair stylist for quite some time. That's why when our friend Steph confided that she wanted to chop it all off for the summer we jumped at the chance to find one here in Lausanne. We reached out to friends, paid a few salons a visit, and finally, through our good friend Eleni, we found Pedro.

Pedro claims he doesn't speak English, but after thirty minutes of conversation, banter, and joking all in English you realize that he's just being modest. Originally from Portugal, Pedro made the move to Switzerland many years ago and opened up the salon,  Théâtre de la Coiffure, around nine years ago. It's a large lofty space full of natural light with an art deco feel--magnificent mirrors line the walls with thick gaudy golden frames, the work tables hang from the ceiling from thick rope, and multi-bulbed Medusan light fixtures provide an edgy vibe. 

Pedro is attentive, meticulous, and isn't afraid to lend his own opinion about your chosen cut. Be careful though, he can be quite persuasive--he almost convinced me to shave part of my head! As a side hobby, Pedro spends his time DJing, which means the salon is always pumping great tunes and beats (which Violet the intern greatly appreciated as she busted out her moves).

And here's Steph's final cut!* Doesn't she look incredible? After the initial shock, she has fully embraced her new summer locks...and makes us want to chop it all too!

What about you? Are you looking to change your look for summer? 

Théâtre de la Coiffure
Rue Centrale 29, 1003 Lausanne
021 312 51 30

Watch this YouTube clip to get a feel for the salon and its stylists. 

*Steph's haircut with shampoo, blow-dry, and style cost 80CHF

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