Lutry is a small town east of Lausanne, situated in incredibly picturesque surroundings on the northern shore of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman in French). It lies on the western edge of the Lavaux wine region, recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you look to the east, you see the beautiful terraced vineyards of the Lavaux (pictures courtesy of my friend, since I sadly have no pictures of Lutry for some reason):
When you look across the lake, you can see France and the Alps:
Along the lake there is an excellent stand for ice cream. And the town itself is beautiful -- an old church and narrow alleys are just what you expect of a medieval European town. All of these aspects factor into why Lutry is my favorite place in Switzerland, but the most important factor is the Caveau de Vignerons ("wine-growers' cellar). I was introduced to the caveau not long after I arrived in Switzerland by two of my closest friends there. As you can tell from the pictures, Lutry is situated near vineyards, but in truth there are vineyards within the borders of the town itself (including right by its train station). Wine is a big part of the town's identity. The caveau is, as the name suggests, collectively owned by all the wine-growers in Lutry (basically a cooperative) and serves only wine made in the two appellations in the Lutry region: Lutry and Villette. The caveau is run by two people (who are not wine-growers) named Pascal and Francoise. We got to know Pascal very early on, as he speaks English and is wonderfully friendly, and taught us much about Lavaux wines (I will keep the topic of Swiss wines for another time). The caveau is a popular hang-out for locals, situated in an old cellar-like room, now decorated with photos and art and sporting tables made out of large wine barrels:
If you look very carefully, there are a ton of plush monkeys hanging over the bar -- that is because monkeys are the symbol of Lutry. Anyway, my friends and I spent many hours in the caveau, drank many bottles of wine, and it was a favorite destination for all of us to bring visiting friends and family members. In the summer we would bring plastic cups, grab a bottle of chasselas (a white wine), and sit by the lake drinking before retiring to the caveau for the inevitable bottles of red wine. In September we would all come to Lutry for La Fete des Vendanges, the festival celebrating the grape harvest. On one of my last days in Switzerland, I visited the caveau and told Pascal I was leaving, and he gave me a bottle of pinot noir made in Lutry. He told me to save it for a day when I missed Switzerland. I miss Switzerland often, but so far I have kept the bottle in a safe place.