The press having developed an unhealthy focus on celebrities over the past 20 years or so, the recent death of the English pop singer David Jones (better known as David Bowie) unsurprisingly became the pretext for the release of a half a dozen articles on the Englishman’s ‘Swiss years’, in particular the years he spent on the heights of Lausanne.

DSCN9967Chapel at Signal de Sauvabelin, early October 2015

From 1982 until 1997, the English pop star lived in a mansion that had been built at the beginning of the twentieth century by a Russian prince, according to an article published in 24 Heures (a Lausanne newspaper). Although already as a teenager I knew that David Bowie had lived in the Lake Geneva area, I came across a reference to his Lausanne home on the city’s official website only roughly a year ago (this is because the Swiss press tends to respect the privacy of the lucky few who have elected to live in Switzerland – usually for ‘wealth maximisation’ purposes):

Former home of David Bowie
The strange house set deep in greenery with a large tile roof and several imposing lightning conductors was for many years the home of none other than David Bowie. More recently it provided the set for the Claude Chabrol film «Merci pour le chocolat» («Nightcap») starring Jacques Dutronc.
Source: Lausanne Tourisme (‘Remarkable Walk from Sauvabelin to the Cité’)

Although I knew that this mansion could only have been  a few hundred metres away from my favourite lookout point in  Lausanne, Signal de Sauvabelin (a place name of Celtic origin), I had never bothered to try to spot the house based on the picture of David Bowie’s former house in Lausanne published on Lausanne Tourisme‘s website.

DSCN9661Enjoying the shade provided by an oak tree, Aug 2015

My curiosity piqued by 24 Heure‘s article (‘David Bowie, le discret châtelain de Sauvabelin’), it took me only a few clicks from startpage.com (my favourite search engine) to locate the house (thanks to a website called virtualglobetrotting). To my surprise, I realised that the house was only a stone’s throw from my favourite tree …

bas-signalAerial view of the periphery of Sauvabelin with the red circles indicating the mansion, my favourite tree and my favourite lookout point in Lausanne, Google Maps

I am sure that David Bowie must have found the area a great source of inspiration for his music. Yet one does not have to be one of the lucky few to let the beauty of this place work its magic on oneself: one only has to take bus 16, get off at Sauvabelin and then walk towards the lake to reach this haven of tranquility.

So enjoy and may you be inspired by this area on the edge of the forest of Belen, called Signal de Sauvabelin.

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