18: Lausanne to Rolle

A beautiful walk on the shores of Leman Lake

 

DIDIER HEUMANN, ANDREAS PAPASAVVAS

 

We divided the course into several sections to make it easier to see. For each section, the maps show the course, the slopes found on the course, and the state of the roads. The courses were drawn on the “Wikilocs” platform. Today, it is no longer necessary to walk around with detailed maps in your pocket or bag. If you have a mobile phone or tablet, you can easily follow routes live.

For this stage, here is the link:

https://fr.wikiloc.com/itineraires-randonnee/de-lausanne-ouchy-a-rolle-par-la-via-jacobi-4-new-69088900

It is obviously not the case for all pilgrims to be comfortable with reading GPS and routes on a laptop, and there are still many places in France without an Internet connection. Therefore, you can find a book on Amazon that deals with this course.

If you only want to consult lodging of the stage, go directly to the bottom of the page.

Today, it is the stage that some will say is the most beautiful on the Way to Compostela in Switzerland. It’s all about perspective. Some will prefer the slightly more difficult stages of central Switzerland, the placid cows in the evergreen meadows, the small lakes and the magnificent farms that line the route. Here, it’s a wonderful walk along the lake, most of the time entirely available to walkers, which will not be the case beyond Rolle towards Geneva. The lake and its shores offer landscapes with the atmosphere of the Riviera, with its small ports, its magnificent walks in the flowers, the lawns and the undergrowth. It is neither more nor less than the largest lake in Europe, sung by the poets who saw in it a “mythical place between earth and sky, plain and mountain, finite and infinite”. Lamartine saw it as a “second creation of the world”, Stendhal as “a neighboring vision of perfect happiness”, Hugo as “a mirror of cosmic immensity”. Painters, including Courbet, Hodler and Turner, have never ceased to magnify its shadows and colors. If you are passing here for the first time, it is a safe bet that you too will commune with the hidden essence of this wonder of nature.

Difficulty of the course: Slope variations today (+88 meters / -82 meters) are non-existent, but it is a very long stage. The rare slopes never exceed 5% inclination. It’s a quiet ride, which changes many previous stages.

This is a stage where the pathways have a slight advantage. But it’s not always dirt. Here it all depends on what are called pathways, because most often there is also tar on the quays:

  • Paved roads: 13.6 km
  • Dirt roads : 16.3 km

Sometimes, for reasons of logistics or housing possibilities, these stages mix routes operated on different days, having passed several times on Via Podiensis. From then on, the skies, the rain, or the seasons can vary. But, generally this is not the case, and in fact this does not change the description of the course.

It is very difficult to specify with certainty the incline of the slopes, whatever the system you use.

For “real slopes”, reread the mileage manual on the home page.

 

We have divided the route into several sections, to facilitate visibility. For each section, the maps give the route, the slopes found on the route and the state of Via Jacobi.

Section 1: On the quays of Lausanne.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: course without any difficulty.

 

To leave Lausanne, the best solution is to take the metro and get off at Ouchy at Place de la Navigation, by the lake.
Here, it is advisable not to follow the edge of the lake, as many routes are dead ends. It is best to follow Rue de Rhodanie.
The latter runs along car parks, often fairgrounds and takes you to the entrance to the Bellerive swimming pool.
In season, it is not possible to pass through the beach. Also, it is best to continue on Rue de Rhodanie, in front of the Nespresso headquarters.
From here you can take any route to the left that heads to the lake. You are in Parc de Vidy, a park with a lot of activity (theatres, restaurants, stadiums, tennis, jogging and walks), the former site of the great National Expo of 1964.
You will not get lost in this large park, limited on one side by the road, on the other side by the lake. On your way, you may come across the Pierre de Coubertin stadium, where the Athletics meeting was once held. But, it is above all a park for people walking and lazing in the grass.

There is no doubt: you are on Via Jacobi 4, the main route of the Camino de Santiago in Switzerland. A quick reminder, be very careful. This track is not always mentioned clearly. Most of the time, you will have to settle for the “Pedestrian Tourism” sign, which never tells you if you are walking on Via Jacobi 4 or any other track!

The route then crosses the Bois du Bourget, sometimes at the edge of the lake, sometimes just behind. It is a magnificent wood where the lines of onlookers and joggers often lengthen.

On the other side of the lake, you can see the Dents-du-Midi, the birthplace of the Valais Alps, in the Mont Blanc massif.

At the end of the Bois du Bourget, the route leaves Lausanne for St Sulpice, after crossing the Chamberonne River. The junction of these small rivers and the lake each time produces a feeling of softness and daydreaming. You do not know if it is the river that empties into the lake or if it is the lake that flows back into the river.

Section 2: On the quays between Lausanne and St Sulpice.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: course without any difficulty.

 

Beyond La Chamberonne River, the route continues in the shade of large locust trees.
Shortly after, a wide dirt road crosses the bottom of the new Lausanne university campus, which is less than 50 years old, …
… to arrive at the port of Les Pierrettes, with its boats and its weekend pavilions.

At the exit of the port, the route takes a narrow lane right at the water’s edge. These narrow passages above the water lapping against the stones are magical. On the other side of the lake is the majestic Mont Blanc. You are opposite Evian on the French side.

A little further, you reach Pelicans beach. These places are often crowded in the summer, especially on weekends.
Beyond Pelicans beach, the small pathway still follows the shore for a bit. Here, the owners leave the passage free. This is unfortunately not always the rule on Leman Lake, although the law does not require freedom of passage on the edge of the lakes.
Soon, it will be over, for a moment, of the beautiful little pathway and the charms of the edge of the lake. Via Jacobi will cross the village of St Sulpice on the tarmac, in the middle of small opulent villas. Here, everything smells clean.
Sometimes the street gets a little closer to the lake, sometimes it runs a little further away.
Further on, the street soon leads to the landing stage of St Sulpice, and slopes up into the village.
Right next to it stands the magnificent Romanesque church of St Sulpice. The church, built in the XIth century, was first dedicated to St Sulpice, then to Ste-Marie Madeleine, flanked by a priory which no longer exists. Completely restored at the beginning of the XX century, the building is now a Protestant temple.
Immediately beyond the church, a dirt road descends to the edge of the lake. For the pleasure of the eyes and the serenity of walkers.
Here, the pathway regains its rights at the edge of the bank, very often passing on private rails for the exit of the boats. Everyone has the right to live here and share in the beauty and benefits of the lake.
Then, a pretty dirt road crosses the area of Laviau and Port Tissot. These small ports are most often rivieras for pleasure boats, and not for the larger ships that crisscross the lake in large numbers, from France to Switzerland, from one port to another.

Section 3: On the quays of Morges.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: course without any difficulty.

 

Shortly after, the pathway moves away a little from the bank under large leafy trees. These are great alleys of pleasure.

Further on, it then crosses the Venoge, another carefree river, which mixes its waters with its big sister, Leman Lake.
Beyond the bridge over the river, the dirt road returns to the edge of the lake in the direction of Préverenges.
At the Port of Préverenges, the route turns to tarmac along small boats and pleasure cabins.
The road, almost straight, runs along the beach for quite a long time. To see the small restaurants and the cabins, you understand that this part of the course must be full on sunny weekends.
When the road bends out of the beach, a dirt road replaces it to run along the shore. On the horizon you can see the suburbs of Morges. The view is just amazing.
The pathway then follows Avenue de la Plage to the Parc de Vertou, a large expanse of lawn that dips its feet in the water.
There, it joins the small port of Le Bief on the tarmac. You would establish residence here.
Via Jacobi then crosses the small Bief River to continue a little further in the Vertou park, at the entrance to Morges.
At the exit of the park, it is the long Quai Igor Stravinski to the landing stage of Morges. Incredible stroll in calm and serenity, along the large pebbles of the bank, in the middle of the small pontoons which flow slowly in the clear water. The Promenade des Anglais is praised, but there are others which also deserve a look.

Section 4: Between lake and undergrowth.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: course without any difficulty.

Life flows smoothly on the quay, with the parks, the luxury residences overlooking the lake.
Stravinsky, during the First World War, lived in Switzerland, notably in Montreux, where he composed the Rite of Spring, but also in Morges, where he composed the History of the Soldier.

The Quai Igor Stravinski ends near Morges Castle, a YIIIth century fortified castle, whose ramparts have disappeared, which has served as a cantonal arsenal since 1803.

Via Jacobi does not cross the town of Morges (The town: 16,000 inhabitants and Grand Morges: 50,000 inhabitants). Immediately beyyond the castle, it runs into a beautiful park, along the Allée Henryk Opienski.
At the end of the park, the rote crosses the Morges River.
Then, the route crosses a mixed zone, sometimes skirting car parks, sometimes the lake, along small marinas, until leaving the city.
Let’s continue the route here in early spring when the trees are barely putting on their leaves.

At the exit of the town, a small pathway then leaves behind the cemetery, along the lake in the undergrowth where the beeches swarm, following the Sentier de la Truite. It’s Sunday, the weather is nice and the crowd rushes on the way.

Sometimes the pathway leaves the trees for the beach. The gaze extends to France on the other side of the lake.
Shortly after, the pathway heads to a field shooting range. Now, in Switzerland, people have largely given up on guns to play war in more standard shooting ranges. Here, barbecues work for the Sunday grill.
The undergrowth here is indescribably charming, the atmosphere hushed, almost sensual. The trees are all leaning as if to bathe their heads in the water.
Shortly after, the pathway runs along the lake until it reaches the Morges diving center, where it will leave the lake. Here, during opening hours, you will find a fishmonger who sells pike and perch to take away. For the pilgrim, too bad!
A heron colony has established abode here atop the beech trees. Do the birds also use the services of the fishmonger, who knows?
But the lake also has corners of mystery, inaccessible because they are marshier than others. Via Jacobi is wiser, heading towards a bridge over the Boiron River.
Yet, it does not cross the bridge, and follows the bank of the river, quite calm here, before emptying into the lake.
Further on, the pathway follows up he Boiron River, until passing under the Swiss road, the cantonal road which goes from Lausanne to Geneva. In heavy rain, you will soak your feet here. So, you will have to go on the road.
On the other side of the Swiss Route, the dirt road crosses the river and runs along it.
Further afield, the country opens up a little on fruit trees and Sunday gardens. Here, you are strongly advised not to disturb the bees.
But quickly, Via Jacobi finds the river back. Here, you will make a short exercise, climbing on the hill to slope down to the river. You have to be careful just before finding a new bridge over the river, do not continue on the Sentier de la Truite (Via Jacobi 3) but follow the Chemin de Compostelle (Via Jacobi 4). You can go on Via Jacobi 3 and find further St Prex. It’s another half hour. The pathway is more bucolic, as it follows the river for a long time, but further on, the track indications are poor, and you run the risk of getting lost.
On Via Jacobi 4, here, it is the only moment when the slope is accentuated a little all day. But so little! It is only a wooden staircase that joins the railway line.

Section 5: SOn the heights of the lake.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: course without any difficulty.

 

The pathway comes out of the woods and joins the Lausanne-Geneva railway line. The embittered will say: “You promised us happiness. Is walking along a railway line another image of happiness?” Rest assured. This ordeal will not be very long today, which will not be the case later towards Geneva, where you will have plenty of time to see the trains pass often. On this axis, a train runs every 10 minutes.
A pathway, sometimes grassy, sometimes dirt, will follow the railway line, passing from one side to the other, between vineyards and countryside. The advantage of following a train is that the route is flat.
The route is long, straight here, and nothing happens. Further on, the tar replaces the dirt.
Shortly before entering St Prex, the road passes through a semi-industrial area. The road does not go to the center of St Prex (5,600 inhabitants). Later on, it crosses the railway line.
After crossing the Swiss Route, it then descends towards the lake at the port of Taillecou.
The road skirts the port a little on the height, then heads towards the old and charming old village of St Prex.
Few ramparts remain of this ancient medieval city. In the middle of the borough, there is still the beautiful machicolated door of the clock, built at the beginning of the XVIth century. It is a very touristy place and often very lively.
On leaving the old borough, Via Jacobi descends to the edge of the lake. What a pleasure to contemplate again these small pontoons which vanish in the waters of the lake. Sometimes a swan winks at you.
Here, you will be able to enjoy a little more of the gentleness of the lake by following the shore.
An adorable little pathway, often on stilts, will then transit on the bank, in the middle of the private villas overlooking the lake. This is perhaps the most captivating passage of the day’s route.
In this oasis of happiness, the owners have undoubtedly signed agreements with the municipality for many years. Swiss law, in general, does not protect public passages by lakes. The only obligation is to allow fishermen and their boats to land. From there, it is only local policy that can accommodate the law.
The pathway continues until it reaches Coulet beach.
Beyond Coulet beach, the walk along the lake ends. You will have to content yourself with admiring the lake from the height. But it’s not negligible either. A road then climbs into the country in a district of recent villas. The crossings of this style offer little pleasure to the walker, because the sight of recent but opulent villas rarely triggers enthusiasm. Some have a view of the lake, others do not, with the limitation of the space available.

Section 6: Towards the beautiful and tumultuous Aubonne River.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: course without any difficulty.

 

Further ahead, the road finally leaves the houses for the countryside. There are still a few peasants here. Until when? We let you imagine the price of land here.

The road descends towards a small undergrowth, where the Chenaux stream flows, then continues to the Riau stream, before climbing gently to the entrance to the village of Buchillon.
The road then slopes up, often through the vineyards towards the village.
Formerly, it was a village of winegrowers, as indicated by the press screw at the entrance.
Buchillon is an extended village, which stretches along the length of the lake towards the hillside, but the route does not run near the lake. Why? You will not know, but you may guess that the owners here, and there are very wealthy ones, did not give access to their properties. Just look at the dairy where not a drop of milk has been flowing for a long time.
The road passes near the temple. Here, you are in Protestant country, as in all canton of Vaud.
On leaving the very extensive village of Buchillon, Via Jacobi first finds a small pathway that runs along the undergrowth and then asphalt.
Then, the pathway regains its rights along an undergrowth. Here you transit along a large commercial area, which you guess in the distance.
Shortly after, the pathway arrives at Les Grands Bois, an establishment very popular with the local population, but also with fairly wealthy foreigners.
A small road quickly joins an undergrowth below.
Here flow the turbulent waters of the Aubonne, a fairly large river that descends from the Jura mountains.
After crossing the Aubonne River, you can see Allaman Castle in front of you. You can make a small detour to Allaman and its castle. But, go there only if you want to eat in the village or if you are interested in castles. Because, the course is much more magnificent and comfortable on the banks of the river.
Here, the pathway runs through the meadows but it quickly finds again the turbulent river, under the big oaks and the majestic beeches.
On the other side of the wood stands the castle of Allaman in the distance. In the plain extend the vines, the fruit trees and the vegetable crops.
The pathway will meander happily for a long time along the edge of the water under the coolness of the trees.
Further on, the pathway on the bank is out of use. Is it to make us admire the gravel pit, whose raw material probably comes from the river?

Section 7: A river, a bit of fishing and winegrowers.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: course without any difficulty.

 

But rapidly Via Jacobi quickly resumes its game of hide and seek with the river.
Shortly after, it arrives in a large clearing filled with fruit trees. This is the large domain of La Pêcherie and La Frésaire. Pay attention here, the direction sign gives the direction of Via Jacobi 3 which slopes up in the domain.
Yet Via Jacobi 4 continues along the river and crosses a fairly marshy area, in breathtaking nature.
Here, there is just enough moisture and shade for wild wild garlic to thrive. This garlic loves streams and in the spring the ground is covered with it.
Further on, the pathway leaves the Aubonne River, widens and comes out of the forest at the other end of the Domaine de la Pêcherie and La Frésaire.
A small road then takes over, skirting the estate and bordered by the stream of the Armary.
You then flatten along the Chemin des Anes towards the Route de la Plage.
The road soon reaches the lake at La Pêcherie, the port of Allaman, a place that is crowded on weekends and on sunny days.
Here, you are at the water’s edge again. The road then follows the bank of the river. So, do not hesitate to stop here to eat perch fillets, the great specialty of all the restaurants on the shores of Leman Lake.
At the exit of La Pêcherie, Via Jacobi leaves the bank again and a small dirt road in the middle of the vineyards and fruit trees allows you to cross the Eau Noire brook.
Via Jacobi then joins the Swiss Route, a stone’s throw from Rolle.
There, it crosses the road and climbs towards Perroy.
The road slopes up in the vineyard. The gaze plunges over the lake. You quickly understand that it would have been difficult to let run the course by the lake, given the number of luxury villas, aligned one next to the other, which bathe their feet in the lake, some at tens of millions of Swiss francs.
A few years ago, direction signs allowed you not to go up to the village and to crisscross the vineyard. All that has disappeared. Are the winegrowers tired of seeing onlookers marauding in their vines? Anyway, the walker loses nothing in the change, because the new route passes through Perroy, which is an exceptional village. So today, you’re just walking a little higher.
At the top of the hill, Via Jacobi arrives at Perroy Castle.
It is an exceptional village of winegrowers with solid houses, patrician houses, cellars and pints. Wine and good taste ooze from every corner of the village.
Around the middle of the Xth century, monks from Tournus, France settled in Perroy, clearing the hillsides and planting vines. The priory was built at the beginning of the XIIth century. The convent was secularized during the reform and became the succession of family stories, before the municipality bought it at the beginning of the XXth century. The Priory, with its church, its terrace and its adjoining estate, remains the jewel of a village which has retained an essentially wine-growing character.

Section 8: Back to the lakeside.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: course without any difficulty.

 

Via Jacobi leaves Perroy in the vineyard. Here, the vines are numerous all over the hillside and in the La Côte appellation, the Chasselas grape variety is the master of the place. The red wines are more discreet.
Rolle town center is less than two kilometers from here. Via Jacobi descends for almost a kilometer on the pavement with plunging views of the vineyard and the lake.
The slope is sometimes marked but without problem.
At the bottom of the descent, Via Jacobi joins the Swiss Route at the crossroads of La Couronnette, where the Rupalet stream flows.
Rolle beach and its large park are close by. It’s the beginning of spring and it’s crowded, because it’s Sunday and it’s mild.
Less elegant is the route at the exit of the park, because Via Jacobi runs above the campsite in the industrial zone.

At the exit of the industrial zone, in front of you stands Rolle castle.

This XIIIth century medieval castle, remodeled in the XVIth century, now houses most of the communal activities. Rolle (6,000 inhabitants) can largely be summed up as a main street where the shops are grouped. Alas, for the locals, this street is also the Swiss road. Tomorrow youe will pass by the pier which is magnificent.

 

Lodging on Via Jacobi

 
Préverenges
Accueil jacquaire Famille Eggenberger, Allée du Rionzi 16 021 701 38 57/0t9 703 95 92
Guestroom, breakfast Henri Duboux, Ch. De la Taudaz 6 O21 801 20 56
Guestroom, dinner, breakfast Ans Aqilar, Chemin Neuf 27 021 801 31 76/076 328 31 76
Morges
Accueil jacquaire Famille Spirig, La Gottaz 24 021 799 39 03
Guestroom, breakfast Anne Marie Moussou, La Gottaz 8 021 802 10 01
Guestroom, breakfast Katharina Besençon, Rue des Uttins 24 021 803 30 36/079 303 35 50
Guestroom, breakfast Véronique Bornand, Avenue Auguste Forel 6 079 648 58 88
Guestroom, breakfast B&B Adler, Reneveyres 14B 021 801 89 10/076 492 20 44
Hotel***, dinner, breakfast Hotel de la Longeraie, Route de la Longeraie 021 804 64 00
Hotel***, dinner, breakfast Hotel de la Nouvelle Couronne, Passage de la Couronne 2 021 804 81 81
St Prex
Guestroom, breakfast Janine Göcking, Rue du Pont-Levis 16B 079 347 43 87
Guestroom, breakfast Claire Lise Champendal, Ch. de Vergognausaz 7 021 806 30 35/079 249 06 69
Guestroom, breakfast Rose-Marie Zbinden, Chemin de la Liberté 12 021 806 20 21/078 617 71 20
Allaman
Guestroom, breakfast Guy Marmet, Ch. De la Vigne 4 021 807 31 67/079 351 33 49
Guestroom, breakfast Berger-Bettex, vigneron, Château Rochefort 021 807 31 49
Guestroom, breakfast Les Margelles, Route suisse 4 021 807 32 43
Guestroom, breakfast Olivier et Denise Rey, Ch. De Sus-Craux 12A 021 807 39 61/079 779 31 45
Hotel, breakfast Château Rochefort, Place de l’Eglise 1 079 628 36 83
Perroy
Accueil jacquaire Claire Martin, Ruelle des Jardins 8 021 825 10 39/079 444 30 54
Guestroom, breakfast Paillard Christian, Route de Montelly 19 021 825 26 16/079 451 98 21
Guestroom, breakfast Christel Daniels, Ch. Du Sus-Craux 23 079 695 02 75
Rolle
Camping Camping de Rolle 021 825 12 39
Guestroom, breakfast B&B Breit, Grand Rue 18 021 825 21 08/079 384 68 31
Guestroom, breakfast B&B Le Courtil, Rue du Port 14 021 822 42 42
Guestroom, breakfast B&B Au bonheur des Iris, Avenue G. Guisan 64 076 202 94 49
Hotel*, dinner, breakfast Hostellerie du Château, Grand Rue 16 021 822 32 62
There is no difficulty of finding accommodation on this stage. Book anyway for security.
Feel free to add comments. This is often how you move up the Google hierarchy, and how more pilgrims will have access to the site.

 

Next stage: Stage 19: From Rolle to Coppet

Back to the menu