We feel lucky to live in this beautiful alpine nation throughout the year, and Christmastime is no exception. All over the world, when people idealize the end of year holidays, images of snow-topped chalet, pine forests and rosy-cheeked children in mittens and scarves marveling at twinkle lights come to mind. And while ideals are just ideals, we think that Switzerland – and Lausanne – get pretty darn close to making our dream of Christmas a reality.

There will be markets of mini chalet serving vin chaud and raclette; there will be twinkle lights decking all the halls, or rather streets, of the charming old city; there will be the smell of roasted chestnuts wafting in and out of your consciousness until January; there will be carolers filling the streets with sweet melodies and there will even be nativity animals in the Place du Palud.

Oh yes, Christmas in Lausanne is really the most wonderful time of the year.

There are so many great little events that we don’t want you to miss a thing. So back by popular demand, we’re bringing you our roundup of all you need to get those Christmas butterflies this season.

Markets:

Bô Nöel – Lausanne really stepped up its Christmas market game in 2015 with chalets stretching across the city from St. François to the Place de l’Europe. The after work scene is always great fun with plenty of cheese and oysters (and wine and champagne, naturally) to warm up the chilly evenings.

Activites are organized for the little guys every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Montreux Christmas Market – Full disclosure: if you don’t like crowds, steer clear of this market. But if you’ve never been before, you might want to find out what everyone is talking about. Take the train or expect to wait in long lines of traffic.

Morges Covered Christmas Market – For the first two weekends in December, our neighbors in Morges organize an indoor Christmas market, perfect for those who would rather browse in warmth.

One-Day Markets:

Forma de Noel (Dec 3) – This one day only Christmas market features products from local artisans. It’s this Thursday, so be sure to mark your calendar.

The Places We Love Christmas Market (Dec 3) – Also for just one day, this Christmas market gathers some of Lausanne’s best boutiques! Thursday evening from 5pm to midnight (!).

Nordik Nöel (Dec 5) – It seems the further north you go, the more seriously they take Christmas. If you want to get to the heart of it all, visit the Nordik Nöel market in Vevey this Saturday!

Pop-Up Christmas Market by Les Ripailleuses (Dec 12) – This market gathers various creative entrepreneurs from the local area.

 Events:

Festival des Lumières (all month) – You may have noticed that Christmas lights are kind of a thing here in Lausanne. Artistic displays can be found throughout the city during the month of December. If you want to make sure you’ve seen everything, follow this handy map.

Portes Ouvertes de la Cité (Dec 12) – Not exactly Christmas-themed, but worth checking out nonetheless: Lausanne’s most historic neighborhood is hosting an open house. Neighborhood businesses will be organizing small event throughout the day – perfect for exploring AND for a little Christmas shopping.

The Christmas Midnight Run (Dec 12) – Because who doesn’t love running the hills of Lausanne in the freezing cold?! No, seriously, this is actually awesome. Check out this video for a better idea.

Les Nocturnes (Dec 18, 21, 23) – For three nights each year, the shops downtown stay open until a staggering 10pm to accommodate the rush for Christmas present purchasing. We opt to buy our gifts another time because good-lord-the-crowds, but we always love to bundle up in our warmest gear and participate by walking through town, eating at the market and enjoying the Christmas spirit. Honestly, these are our favorite Christmas moments in Lausanne.

Nuits des Etoiles (Dec 18, 21, 23) – In case you’d like to make a whole evening staycation out of the Nocturnes, many of Lausanne’s downtown hotels offer special prices, including the city’s 5* hotels. La classe!

Ice Skating in the Flon (until Feb 28) –  Because nothing says Christmas more than looking uncoordinated ;).

Concerts:

Christmas Carols in St. François Church (Dec 17)

Christmas at St. François Church (Dec 18-20) – A romantic candlelit church and a concert of Christmas music? We are so there.

Christmas Eve at St. François Church (Dec 24)

Useful Info:

Where to buy your Christmas tree? There’s a market each day from Dec 7-24 in La Riponne where you can buy trees of all sizes. However, our favorite is the market in Chailly on Avenue Victor Ruffy 66 (easily accessible with a car, more complicated with the bus). OR, get an eco-friendly tree delivered right to your door. So many options…

Are you organizing a holiday event that we should add to this list? Send us an email: thelausanneguide@gmail.com.

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