The Musée Olympique on the shores of Lake Geneva reopened with modern interactive displays on the Olympic Games, its history, organization and athletes.
The Olympic Museum (Musée Olympique) in Lausanne-Ouchy celebrates the Olympic movement including the history of the games, its organization and of course athletes. The museum that fully reopened at the beginning of 2014 after a complete refit is modern with many interactive displays complimenting the wide range of 1,500 items directly related to the games, its organizers, and the athletes. A large landscaped park with several statues, Olympic symbols and fantastic views of Lake Geneva and the Alps is freely accessible to all visitors.
The Olympic Museum (Musée Olympique) in Lausanne
The Olympic Museum is a modern museum on the lakeshore of Lac Léman in the Lausanne suburb Ouchy in western Switzerland. The museum received a complete refit and from the beginning of 2014 has a modern, engaging display on all aspect surrounding the Olympic Games, its history, organization, commercialization, the athletes, the competition, the equipment, the preparation and the Olympic spirit.
The Olympic Museum has a huge number of interactive displays, which provide entertainment to children and adults alike. However, visitors without children may find weekday afternoons the best time to visit to avoid having to look at some displays at the speed that small children can randomly swipe across a touch screen.
Visiting the Olympic Museum on Lake Geneva
The Olympic Museum is in a very modern four-storied building overlooking Lake Geneva. The main entrance is from the south (lakeside) through the Olympic park but a smaller entrance at the north (top floor) gives direct access to the top floor with the café.
The museum display is spread over three floors according to the following three themes:
- The Olympic World (Le monde olympique)
- The Olympic Games (Les Jeux Olympiques)
- The Olympic Spirit (L’esprit olympique)
Temporary exhibitions change annually and may usually be seen on a separate ticket too.
The Olympic World
A visit to the Olympic Museum starts on the first floor – a circular walkway leads up from the main entrance floor. The theme here is the Olympic world with displays on the origins and history of the games and the organization of the modern games.
The display starts with interesting models and interactive displays of the ancient Greek games. Artworks from antiquity (or copies) show how the games were portrayed in ancient times. A large section explains the life, motivation and work of Pierre de Coubertin and the modern revival of the Olympic Games.
Further displays explain how the games are organized ranging from the bid process to the commercial aspects of each games. A few models show stadium designs and how the games influenced city planning and society. Once again, many interactive displays allow visitors to relive historic moments from previous games.
Memories of previous games are also rekindled by past torches used and medals awarded at all the games since the start of the modern Olympic movement.
The Olympics Games
The Olympic Games exhibition has the athletes and their equipment as the main theme. Historic equipment used at the games as well as clothes worn by Olympians are on display.
Many sports are covered from not only the summer games but also the winter Olympics and Paralympic games. The touch pads here have a database with more than 1,000 video clips of Olympic moments.
The Olympic Spirit
The lowest floor of the museum has as theme the Olympic Spirit – it is in many ways the most interesting part of the museum with many interactive displays and opportunities for visitors to try their hand at some training aspects of Olympic athletes.
This floor has information about the Olympic Village, how athletes live during the games but also how they prepare for events,train, and stay focused. Visitors may test themselves on balancing, reaction times, and strength. A poster with a large number of Olympic athletes show that they come in all shapes and sizes.
The Olympic Park in Lausanne
From the large fountains (with a useful if somewhat strangely positioned public toilet), visitors can follow stairs or an even walkway up to the museum.
The walkway passes by several sculptures and art related in some way to the Olympic Games. The stairs have the dates of all games with the names of the athletes who had lit the Olympic flame at the opening ceremonies since 1936.
Directly in front of the museum is an eternal flame where the Olympic anthem is played daily at noon. A nearby 100-m track allows visitors to time themselves at what is certainly the most glamorous event at the Olympic Games.
Eight white pillars lead to the museum entrance – these have the names of the summer and winter games as well as of the presidents of the Olympic committee.
Opening Hours and Ticket Prices of the Olympic Museum
The Musée Olympique is open Tuesday to Sunday from mid-October to April from 10 am to 6 pm. From May to mid-October, the museum is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. The museum is open on most holidays but not on December 25 or January 1.
Admission to both permanent and temporary exhibitions is CHF18 for adults. The Swiss Museum Pass is valid. (In comparison, admission to Chateau de Chillon is CHF12.50 and the Red Cross Museum in Geneva CHF15.)
All items are fully described in both French and English. At times, some information is hard to read due to the glare of changing lights but it is a minor irritation and only a problem at a few displays.
The museum is fully accessible to wheelchair users. Special displays allow blind visitors to touch certain items.
The Olympic Museum is at 1, quai d’Ouchy, directly on the lakefront of Lac Léman. It is an easy stroll from the Lausanne-Ouchy stop of the Metro, bus 2 and CGN lake boats (with lake pleasure cruises and passenger ferries to Évian and Thonon-les-Bains). Buses 8 and 25 stop at Musée Olympique at the north (upper) entrance of the museum.
Parking is available in the street but very popular – the large Place de la Navigation parking lot to the west of the ferry terminal may be far easier to use.