Happy Valley’s 15 Minutes of Fame
Another day in Happy Valley…as the world’s spotlight moves away from the region with the Iran talks completed, and tranquility returns.
The past few weeks must have been one of the biggest moments for the word “Lausanne” to be splashed across the front pages of the world’s press. And that had your Happy Valley correspondent wondering: How was Vaud’s premier city portrayed around the globe?
“Very sleepy” as called out in Wikipedia?
“A beautiful town beside a lake” as vividly recalled by Roger Federer? (Admittedly, your correspondent’s favourite tennis pro concedes that he “didn’t go out much” when he trained here.)
“A bastion of training and research” with “bustling shopping districts” according to the official Lausanne city website?
Or, according to Philipp Stauber, a local UDC councillor, a city with — I have translated here from the original French — “a declining quality of life for city-centre residents and an explosion of incivility after midnight“? (As an aside: While not wishing to cause panic, I would not be fulfilling my duty as your loyal correspondent if I did not mention that beyond the contemporary issues Mr. Stauber has flagged, his words suggest that Lausanne’s future also might be less than bright. Contrary to fellow Le News writer William Dowell’s recent piece highlighting an ascendent Lausanne, Mr. Stauber also refers to our civil-society builders of the future — Vaud’s students — as the “les cancres de la Suisse”, or the “dunces of Switzerland”. Call me crazy, but is this not perhaps a dog-whistle call — and a welcome change in UDC policy — for increasing skilled immigration to improve Vaud’s future brain-power?)
And so the verdict.
Putting aside the possibility that in the minds of some, the name “Lausanne” might well in the future become synonymous with “Munich”, your correspondent has confirmed that the Lausanne brand has fared very well indeed!
To wit: The FT referred to the world’s smallest burg with a functioning metro as being “…the kind of well-heeled Swiss city that functions on order and timing”. Vanity Fair, meanwhile, referred to the city as a “postcard-perfect lakeside resort town”. And CNN, while lamenting “25-franc pizzas and 60-franc hamburgers”, went so far as to label Lausanne “a sort of Camp David for the rich and famous”.
It’s feedback like that which reminds me of just how delightful Happy Valley can be — and how easy it is to forget just how blessed we are to be here. While steering the Fifth Estate to MAXXY in Renens for a quick snack might have given a more positive spin on the price-value equation for food in Lausanne — and might have showed that there’s a bit more buzz here than just mountain vistas and belle-époque hotels — who’s to complain?
And so — at the next occasion, raise a glass of Plant Robert to Happy Valley…and perhaps respect a moment of silence for expat brothers and sisters currently enduring assignments in some less blessed region of the world…
Your Happy Valley Correspondent