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Cities offer rainy day alternatives

Zurich's Grossmünster cathedral looms over the old town.


Beating a retreat to a Swiss city can be an enriching cultural experience for anyone travelling around the country in the autumn.

The traditional Autumn Fair in Basel begins on October 26 and runs for two weeks. It is followed a few days later by Switzerland's largest wine fair in Zurich.

As has been the case for centuries, the Basel festival opens when the bells of St Martin's church strike noon on the last Saturday in October.

For two weeks, nearly 400 market stalls bring the streets of the old city on the Rhine alive. The fair also boasts a particularly large selection of merry-go-rounds.

The event was founded in 1471 when the then mayor of the city travelled to the court of the German emperor, Friederich the third, to ask for permission to hold a fair.

Wine fair

From October 31 to November 14, wine connoisseurs boarding anyone of a dozen ships anchored at Zurich's Burkliplatz have the opportunity to taste around 4,000 different wines from more than 20 countries.

Now in its 49th year, the exhibition "Expovina" invites the public to taste and buy, or simply drink in the atmosphere aboard a decked-out ship.

The right wine can accompany a meal at any of the ships' restaurants, which offer a wide choice for the discerning palate - from Italian fare to Swiss fondue.

All Lausanne jazz

Four days of jazz concerts will be held in Lausanne from October 31 to November 3.

The "jazz onze+" festival will feature a homage to legend Charles Mingus, and nights of acoustic interpretations and experimental jazz.

Films about jazz will be shown at the Cinematheque Suisse in Lausanne to coincide with the concerts.

Fashionable Lucerne

The prestigious Lucerne Festival holds its "Piano" event from November 20 to 24.

Top acts will perform "classical and modern piano music on modern and historical instruments" which the festival organisers say is unique in Europe.

Also in Lucerne is "Gwand", the largest fashion event of its kind in Switzerland, which attracts big names from the world of fashion while promoting young designers.

It runs this year from November 28 to 30.



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