Wander the main squares of Lausanne on a Saturday and you’re just about guaranteed to come across the sprawling fresh market, which spiders across the main squares and into side streets between them.
The market is lively, the cobbled streets charming, and the wares enticing. The only downside is the rather shocking prices. Jars of tomato and artichoke spreads that we expected to come in around $8 or $10 each were actually $13. A single (albeit large) coconut macaroon cost $2.50.
Still, if local goods are on your souvenir list or you just love the ambiance of farmers markets, Lausanne’s is a charmer. I was glad we went, if only for the photos.
How to get to Lausanne market
The market is spread across three cobbled squares/streets. From south to north, they are Rue de Bourg, Place de la Palud, and Place de la Riponne. Each is worth visiting, as they all feature different things. We stayed in the south and walked from one to another starting at Rue de Bourg.
When to go
The market runs from 8:00 to 14:30 on Saturdays and Wednesdays. We went on a Saturday, which was bustling. To avoid too many crowds, go early.
What to expect
Brightly-colored fruits and veggies, imported produce (we saw plenty of tropical fruit), breads, pastries, rotisserie chickens, cheeses, meats (butcher meats and preserved meats), local milk (expect a long line at that stand), flowers, herbs, mushrooms, tarts, spreads, jams, syrups, fresh-pressed juices. In Place de la Riponne, there’s also an attached flea market (at least on Saturdays).
French is the official language of the town and region. We encountered at least one English-speaking vendor, but mostly just used my limited French to order cookies and ask questions.
What (else) to do in Lausanne
Nearby Morges is a cute town on the lake with a nice promenade for walking or cycling. We took the train there and cycled back to Lausanne over the course of about an hour (with plenty of stops for snacks or to confirm directions).
For a nice forest walk and excellent views of the lake, hike up to the Sauvabelin tower. If you’re here during the next Miam Festival (Yum Festival), wandering the 50 food trucks and snacking is a great way to spend a lunch or dinner hour.