17: Moudon to Lausanne

Leman Lake will soon be yours.

 

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-moudon-a-lausanne-riponne-par-la-via-jacobi-4-67515914

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 is a great transition stage between the Broye Valley at the end of the Swiss plateau and Leman Lake. The transition takes place in the middle of small hills, mostly wooded. The route will arrive on the heights of Lausanne, in the woods of Chalet-à-Gobet, at more than 800 meters above sea level. Lausanne therefore extends from the mountain to the lake, which is less than 400 meters above sea level. It is a beautiful stage, very varied, in fact composed of various episodes. Initially, you leave Moudon along the Broye River, then beyond Bressonnaz you leave the river. It is then a course that oscillates between two streams, the Carrouge and the Bressonne. From then on, it will be an often-interrupted dialogue with the intrepid and turbulent Bressonne River. Further on, on the heights, the gaze plunges with delight over the Fribourg and Vaud Pre-Alps and even the Savoy Alps. If you like forests, you will be satisfied. Because, for a long time, you will walk up and down in magnificent woods, most often under beech trees, playing hide and seek with the Bressonne River, which sometimes plays at being scared in thin canyons. All this little game ends in the woods of Jorat, on the heights of Lausanne. The course then becomes a real treasure hunt between forests, golf courses and the many opulent residences of Chalet-à-Gobet and Vers-chez-les Blanc, regions very popular with the local population. The heights of Lausanne are very mixed and you can pass almost without transition from high density areas to the wildest nature. You will experience this paradox by crossing Vers-chez-Les-Blanc, Epalinges, the Croisettes, then diving again into the Flon canyon, behind the cliffs of the Croisettes. But, you will not yet be at the end of the surprises. After the bucolic passage in the Flon valley, the tough climb on stairs at the level of the motorway, you will cross the wood of Sauvabelin, its small lake, and plunge, most often in nature, the gaze turned towards the lake, to the city center.

Difficulty of the course: Slope variations today (+583 meters/-584 meters) may seem substantial, but it is a long stage. Most of the time, you will never even have the feeling that you are walking up or down, except when crossing the streams, including the Bressonne and the Flon, and at the end of the route in the woods of Sauvabelin and in the long descent to the city center.

Routes on paved roads and pathways are equivalent:

  • Paved roads: 13.6 km
  • Dirt roads: 14.4 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: Again along the Broye River.

 

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

 

Via Jacobi leaves Moudon by a small detour in the upper town at the level of the castle, in the middle of the beautiful stone facades.
The route runs along the ramparts, then in front of what remains of the medieval city.

The Broye Tower, the main tower of the castle of yesteryear, dates back to the XIIIh century, erected by the Zähringen of Fribourg. This 25-meter-high tower was decapitated by an earthquake. Reorganized, it is only 16 meters high. It is nevertheless classified as a historical monument.

 

The route still descends the picturesque Rue du Bourg along the flowered terraces before leaving the city.
It then follows the Chemin des Vignes to descend towards the river. The shell of Compostela is there to remind you of the Way. It is very rarely present on the tracks of Switzerland.
At the bottom of the hill, a dirt road leads to a small park near the Broye River. Here, the river is a little wilder than in the part followed the day before.
Via Jacobi crosses the river that descends from the Fribourg Pre-Alps, flows through Moudon, then Lucens and Payerne to empty into Neuchâtel Lake. The river is one of the central axes of the tracks starting from the Basel variant.
A wide dirt road then runs along the river, under the shade of tall trees.
It passes next to the swimming pool and continues along the river.
Here, a bridge allows soldiers to walk to a barracks on the other side of the river.
Further ahead, the small pathway by the river gradually approaches the cantonal road, the Route de Berne.
It will pass under the Route de Berne and approach the railway line.
By a small staircase, the pathway reaches Bressonnaz station and returns to the other side of the Broye River.

The route here continues along the edge of the forest before slanting towards the Carrouge, a stream which receives the Bressonne stream a little higher up, another tumultuous stream which you will encounter up to the heights of Lausanne, and which empties here into la Broye River.

On tarmac, Via Jacobi joins the small hamlet of Bressonnaz Dessous, after crossing the Carrouge brook.
It crosses the hamlet, along the stream in hardwoods and wild grass.
Further ahead, it follows a small road for a moment that flattens into the countryside, before taking a grassy pathway at the edge of the undergrowth at the edge of the river.
Lost in the tall grass, a sign entitled Sankt Jakob, relaying the traditional yellow indications of the Swiss tracks, invites you to cross to the other side of the river.
The pathway then flattens into the tall grass, at a right angle, to join the road to Bern uphill.
Further on, the little Brits road then climbs, parallel to the Bern road, passes in front of the Brits farm and joins the road a little higher up towards Vucherens.

Section 2: Between forest and countryside.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: a fairly long climb in the forest, then easy course.

 

Via Jacobi does not follow the road to Vucherens for long. It forks to the right, in the wheat and the poppies, on the Chemin des Bourguères, direction Syens.
Yet, it does not go to Syens. It leaves the axis of the cantonal road and slopes up, in the opposite direction, towards the forest by the Chemin des Grands Champs…
… to branch off in zigzags a little further to the right on Chemin de Maufay, where a large farm takes up all the space.
Behind the Maufay farm, a small pathway climbs to join the Chemin du Chalet higher up.
Further on, a road climbs on the edge of the forest, but quite quickly Via Jacobi leaves the road to enter the forest on the right.
A small pathway, often mired, then climbs quite steeply in the hardwood and spruce woods. Higher up, it widens into the forest.
At the exit of the wood, the slope becomes gentler and the pathway runs gently through the grass to reach the first houses of Vucherens, while the view opens up on the Pre-Alps.
Vucherens is a very large village. Via Jacobi does not run through the center of the village but through the heights, on the Route du Village which climbs resolutely, in the middle of farms with well-renovated facades and recent housing estates.
At the top of the hill, the Route de la Grotte replaces the Route du Village. At the intersection of the roads, a small chapel, classified as a historic monument, built in the XVIIIth century, later remodeled, is dedicated to St Pierre and St Pancrace. It should still be mentioned that Catholics are a minority in a primarily Protestant canton.
The Route de la Grotte initially flattens along small recent houses, but quickly joins the countryside and its farms.
A large farm, the Gottaz farm, even allows itself to pass over the road. Here, the farms no longer have the bewitching charm of Bernese farms or even of certain Fribourg farms.

Section 3: Always between forest and countryside.

 

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

 

From there, the road wanders in a completely open space, in meadows and cereals, with the backdrop of the Valais Alps, the Fribourg and Vaud Pre-Alps.
At the end of the plateau, at the crossroads of two tracks, Via Jacobi descends onto the Route de la Main de Fer.
The descent into the plain is gentle, but quite long between countryside and undergrowth.
At the bottom of the descent, at Ussières, Via Jacobi joins a fairly busy road and crosses it as well as the Bressonne River.
Later on, the road heads to Ecorcheboeuf, crosses the village and heads towards the forest.
In the forest, a wide dirt road, in places mired, will cross the woods for quite a long time.
The slope is quite light, regular, in the middle of beeches and spruces, with occasional clearings.

At a decisive moment, you will come to a crossroads, with many directions. Be careful here, the signs are on the left of the track and the narrow pathway to follow in the direction of Monpreveyres, barely visible, is down on your right. Pay great attention to it! Under no circumstances should you continue straight on to Claie aux Moines. You will get lost in the forests around Lausanne. But the panel is quite clear. Via Jacobi (Via 4 circled in blue) heads to the right, at right angles in the forest, towards Chalet à Gobet.

Section 4: Dialogue with the Bressonne River.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: easy route, but very steep slopes to reach the river.

 

A small pathway, sometimes mired, descends steeply (sometimes with slopes of nearly 30%) to the bottom of the dale. Wooden stairs sometimes help to progress to reach the bridge over the Bressonne River. Fortunately, the descent is brief.
It is a new and beautiful encounter with the river. At the bottom of the small dale flows the river, an often-turbulent river, rather wise here.
On the other side of the dale, the slope is a little less steep (but sometimes up to 20%). The passage of the Bressonne is in fact the only rather demanfding moment of this first part of the course.
The pathway ends at the exit of the forest on a beautiful place which includes the presbytery, the Salle du Tilleul and the temple of Montpreveyres. A Catholic priory existed here in the Middle Ages, swept away by the Reformation in the XVIh century. The buildings have evolved over the centuries. The presbytery also houses the Salle du Tilleul, devoted to cultural activities.

The temple has been amended many times over the centuries, but it remains magnificent, set against the forest.

A road then joins the village of Montpreveyres, cut in two by the Route de Berne. It runs near the school. In Switzerland, especially in the Protestant cantons, many administrative buildings, including the old schools, often sport a proud steeple.
Further afield, the road quickly joins the Route de Berne. There, Via Jacobi will follow the road until the exit of the village. It is a very busy axis, the Bern-Lausanne national road.
At the top of the Chemin des Bossons, at the exit of the village, Via Jacobi, which follows the road to Bern, crosses a small road heading towards Les Cullayes. It follows the main road a little further past the Balances restaurant.
A little further up, Via Jacobi leaves the Bern road to take a wide dirt road that heads to the forest.
The pathway descends into the forest to cross the Bressonne River again, which cascades here noisily.

A pretty forest pathway then oscillates for a long time in the wood, on a slight slope, sloping up the dale dug by the river. The forest is beautiful here.

It is a mixed deciduous and coniferous forest.
When the pathway leaves the river, tar replaces dirt.

Section 5: In the beautiful forests of Jorat and Chalet-à-Gobet.

 

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

 

There, the paved road climbs into the forest. You are near the SPA refuge and you hear the dogs barking.
A little up, the small road joins another road which heads towards Moille Margot. But, Via Jacobi does not go there. It runs in the opposite direction towards the Bern road.
Further on, the road joins a large equestrian center. Here, you learn and appreciate that you are walking on the Way of Compostela. This is only the second visible sign since the exit from Moudon. And to tell you, we have hardly encountered any signs of Compostela in German-speaking Switzerland.
A wide dirt road then descends into the forest, to a major fork. Watch out here! It is imperative to go to the right, because the junction is badly indicated, the panel being after the junction! If you go straight, you will definitely get lost.
You guess that sometimes under the hardwoods and conifers, the pathway can be mired. It crosses the woods until fnding a bridge that spans a small stream.
The pathway then passes near the Pra Roman golf course, the smaller of the two golf courses in Lausanne, both on the heights.
Further on, Via Jacobi stays a bit more on the dirt before finding the tar. You then approach the large northern suburbs of Lausanne, this region much sought after by people here, surrounded by the large woods of Jorat.
A road then heads to new housing estates to the restaurant de la Crillère, on the road that descends towards Vers-chez-les-Blanc.
Further afield, Via Jacobi follows the road to the Pra Collet campsite.
Shortly beyond the campsite, descending on the road that goes to Vers-chez-les-Blanc, Via Jacobi turns right into the forest on a mountain bike course with obstacles. There are 4 kilometers of circuits on 3 levels of difficulty.
This forest, the Bois de Peccau, is magnificent not only for cyclists, but also for walkers. It’s just over a mile of bliss. To avoid cyclists, just follow the usual yellow markings of the tracks in Switzerland.
The slope is mostly gentle under the beech trees, the large battalion of trees in this forest, with many piles of cut wood lined up along the track. We never encountered cyclists on the way of the hikers, but sometimes the routes cross.
Towards the end of the forest, the pathway descends steeply, on a paved road that leads to Vers-chez-les-Blanc.
Here, you get at a place called Les Moliettes, a stone’s throw from Vers-chez-les-Blanc.
Shortly after, Via Jacobi cuts at right angles and runs through a semi-industrial district, towards the Nestlé research center.

Section 6: Entre nature sauvage et civilisation.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: rather difficult course, most often downhill.

 

Via Jacobi then bypasses the Nestlé research center before reaching the woods again. On the heights of Lausanne, the forests follow one another incessantly.

A wide dirt road descends into a charming little dale where the Flon Morand brook flows. Here, the slope is very steep, more than 15%, in the dark dale.
You will be very surprised that people here have been able to preserve such wild places, virgin nature, so close to big cities.
At the bottom of the dale, after crossing the brook, the pathway also climbs steeply, but for a short time.
Under the beautiful beeches and tall ash trees, it still crosses a small tributary of the Flon Morand brook…
… before leaving the forest and reaching the heights of Epalinges on the tarmac near the waste disposal center.
Shortly after, Via Jacobi heads to Sylvana Hospital, a geriatric center, perched on the hill.
It then climbs a small hill along the cemetery, heading towards the hospital, without going there.
Further on, the road leaves for meadows to reach the temple of Epalinges perched on the hill overlooking the cemetery.
Coming down from the hill, the road will then cross the Chemin de l’Eglise on a fairly long steep slope in the middle of the often quite opulent villas of Epalinges.
The route is very well signposted here. At the height of Raidillon, Via Jacobi turns right along the Chemin des Planches.
A little further on, the route, badly marked, takes an alternative. But you can just as well stay on the Chemin des Planches until you reach the main road from Bern to the Croisettes. If you follow the track, you will arrive a little below, at Les Boveresses, near the Swiss Cancer Research Center.

Via Jacobi then arrives on the road to Bern at the Croisettes crossroads, at the entrance to Lausanne. Epalinges, with its approximately 10,000 inhabitants, is not part of the city of Lausanne, although it is completely enclosed by the latter.

At Les Croisettes, you can walk down the route de Berne about a hundred meters and take the metro which rund down to the center of Lausanne. But we cannot encourage you too much to continue on Via Jacobi, because the latter follows a very beautiful route, always in the forest, on the heights of the city. So here, the route starts again at the crossroads at the Café de l’Union, in Les Croisettes.
It heads to a roundabout, where the indication of the track is given for Sauvabelin and Lausanne Tunnel, in the city center.
There, Via Jacobi leaves on the Chemin du Mois Murat, crosses an area of villas and administrative centers.
The road ends in a dead end at the edge of the forest, because behind hides a wild valley, close to the city.
A wide dirt road then descends into the coolness of the woods. From here, there are no more engine noises, only the chirping of birds and the murmur of the river.

Section 7: Lausanne is far from being flat.

 

General overview of the difficulties of the route: rather difficult course, most often downhill.

 

Here, the Flon River has dug the molasse of the valley for centuries. And there was a time when the river was more powerful than today, because the valley is deep.
Further down, the pathway arrives at the level of the river.
The small river, which sometimes hops over the limestone, dips its feet in the luxuriant vegetation of the bushes under the maples and the beeches. There are fewer conifers here, especially spruces.
Further down, the pathway climbs back above the river, to give you the feeling that you are about to leave the dale.
But soon enough, it dives back very toughly on the river to cross it. In front of you stand the buildings of Epalinges built above the cliff.
From there, the pathway plays with the river and its tributaries, passing briskly on both sides of the river. It is a sumptuous setting and many mothers with strollers come here to take their toddlers out for some fresh air.

Here, even the river sometimes takes on great airs.

The walk in this charming valley of Flon ends when the pathway arrives under the motorway, near the old Vivarium, which has moved higher up to the Aquatis complex in Epalinges.
So obviously here it is steep, very steep. Wooden stairs lead up to the top of the highway bridge.
Further on, a small pathway runs along the highway before discovering the traffic on the road ahead.
Then, a small pathway flattens in the woods to the entrance to the Sauvabelin park.
Sauvabelin Lake is a very popular place for Lausanne residents. The calm of the lake and the proximity of an animal park attract families. The lake was emptied in March 2016 and the copper-polluted mud that was accumulating at the bottom of the basin was removed. Worh was done on the waterproofing of the banks and the development of the walkway. Lausanne residents will have time to discover the new face of the lake dear to their hearts. This is what the lake looked like the last time we passed by.
Via Jacobi continues behind the restaurant on small roads that descend into the forest.
Several small roads descend in parallel through the forest towards the Signal. Here, you do not risk getting lost on the way. Take the rightmost road which will take you to the tower. This massive wooden tower (302 steps and 35 meters high), has been open to the public since 2003 and allows everyone to admire the magnificent panorama stretching over the heights of Lausanne, when it is open.
The road descends to the Signal near a large car park and a covered canteen, a space for 560 people standing or 360 seated, provided among other things for company and company parties, birthdays, dance evenings or flea markets.

At Signal, it is best to continue to follow Via Jacobi 4, framed in blue, even if the directions here are often poorly indicated. But you don’t risk getting lost. Just slope down to Lausanne Tunnel and follow “Fondation de l’Ermitage et Tribunal cantonal”.

The route then crosses the Parc du Signal, passes in front of a small chapel, near a belvedere from which you benefit for the first time from a magnificent panoramic view of Lausanne, Leman Lake and the Alps.
Further down, sloping down in the park, the route finds on its right the Cantonal Court, a concrete building, massive and austere. Lausanne is also home to another even more important court, the Federal Court, located in the city.
Shortly after, the route then runs through majestic trees and meadows in the Hermitage area, which is in fact the extension of the Bois du Signal. Here, you are a 15-minute walk to the city center, in a jewel of serenity.
The history of the Hermitage begins in 1842, when the banker Charles-Juste Bugnion buys this countryside and builds a residence. In 1976, the City acquired the property and developed the park, which became public in 1985. If the park is so famous, it is because of the presence of the Fondation de l’Hermitage, which occupies the former house of Bugnion, the Bugnion family donating to the City of the central part of the estate with its house, in return for the creation of a foundation of public interest. The house was completely restored and the museum opened its doors in 1984. Since then, exhibitions, most of them famous, have been presented there every year.
Here you will lose the signs for Via Jacobi 4, so just follow the signs for the city center. At the exit of the park, the route returns to the Route du Signal and the Avenue Louis Vulliemin before finding the stairs of the Chemin du Petit Château.
The stairs lead you to Rue de la Barre, a stone’s throw from the Tunnel.
Below the Tunnel, you arrive at Place de la Riponne in the city centre. This place, which is far from elegant, dates from 1838, built on the small dale of the Louve River which flowed here, a place which was then located outside the ramparts of the city. The Rumine Palace was completed in 1904, which became a large part of the University. The University has now moved to a large campus near the lake. The square is pedestrian, with a large underground car park. The open-air market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday, in the square, below the cathedral and the castle.

Section 7: Brief visit to the historic center.

 

Lausanne, the capital of the canton of Vaud is the fourth largest city in the country after Zürich, Geneva and Basel. If Greater Lausanne has more than 400,000 inhabitants, the city only has 140,000. The city hosts a university campus, a university hospital, a federal polytechnic school, among the best in the world, and many international schools. Since 1994, it has been the Olympic capital of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Beyond the Place de la Riponne, stairs lead up to what the inhabitants of Lausanne call La Cité, with its small streets grouped around the castle and the cathedral.

The initial construction of Notre-Dame cathedral, of soft sandstone of the molasse type, dates back to the Gothic period, at the end of the XIIth century. During the reform, the church became Protestant, which it still is today since 1536. Due to the friability of its material, it has been in constant repair for centuries, with occasional lulls, as in recent years.
The old town is very limited in Lausanne. Coming down from the cathedral, covered wooden stairs lead to the old town, with its steep, cobbled shopping streets.

 

The heart of the old town is Place de la Palud, where the city administration has its headquarters. The city stretches from the mountain to the lake with more than 450 meters of vertical drop. The station is halfway up the slope. Tomorrow, we will leave from Ouchy, by the lake, where the heart of the city beats in summer.

Lodging on Via Jacobi

 
Bressonaz
Guestroom, breakfast Martha Godel, Moulin de Bressonaz 079 485 95 20
Guestroom, breakfast Michel Comte, Relais de Bressnaz 021 905 13 13/079 448 55 89
Syens
Guestroom, cuisine Annie Beck, Les Brits 021 903 20 78/079 389 83 08
Vucherens
Guestroom, breakfast B&B Beguin Risold, Route du Village 11 021 905 71 67/079 216 95 43
Guestroom, breakfast B&B Bünzli, Route du Village 9 021 781 19 62/077 431 52 25
Ussières/Carrouge
Guestroom, dinner, breakfast Espace JayKay, Route de l’Ecorcheboeuf 20 079 239 69 87
Guestroom, breakfast Terre des Ames, Route d’Ecorcheboeuf 20 076 512 36 76
Montpreveyres
Accueil jacquaire Gîte El Jire, Chemin de l’Eglise 12 077 533 93 29
Vers-chez-Les Blanc
Hotel***, dinner, breakfast Hostellerie Les Chevreuils, Route du Jorat 80 021 785 01 01
Epalinges
Hotel*, dinner, breakfast Hotel La Marmite, Route de Berne 285 021 784 19 03
Hotel*, dinner, breakfast Hotel L’Union, Chemin des Croisettes 021 653 89 89
Lausanne
Accueil jacquaire, dinner, breakfast. Paroisse catholique St Amédée, Route du Pavement 97 021 647 22 32
Youth hostel Jeunhotel, Chemin du Bois de Vaux 36, Vidy/Lausanne 021 626 02 02
Housing is plentiful in a big city. So, for other accommodations that are not gîtes, consult the Internet or the Lausanne Tourist Office (021 613 73 21).
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 28: From Lausanne to Rolle

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