Here you can read about 5 of the most popular sights in Lausanne:
- The Cathedral
- The Olympic Museum
- The vineyards of Lavaux
In Lausanne’s old town stands an impressive cathedral (in French: Cathédrale de Lausanne), surrounded by beautiful, car-free streets.
The cathedral is one of the most distinctive sights in Lausanne
Since 1405, a guard in the tower of the cathedral has been ringing the bell every hour between 10:00 and 02:00. The guard also keeps an eye out for any fires in the city.
The cathedral is Gothic in style – with a flamboyant west-facing doorway – and was built between 1170 and 1240.
The cathedral belongs to the Protestant Church in Switzerland (Swiss Reformed Churches), of which about 33% of the population are members.
Today, the cathedral serves as a religious gathering place, a tourist attraction and a venue for a number of concerts.
In 2003, a new organ was installed, a unique piece of work consisting of 7,000 pipes weighing 40 tons. The organ was designed by the Italian Giugiaro and took a total of 150,000 man-hours to build.
The Olympic Museum
In 1915, Baron Pierre de Coubertin established the headquarters of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in Lausanne, founding an early version of what is now the Olympic Museum.
Since then, the museum has collected various works of art and objects related to the Olympic Movement, helping to preserve its heritage. Today, the museum is one of the most visited attractions in Lausanne.
“Olypism is a state of mind” as Courbertin put it. Read more about the Olympic Museum here.
Ouchy was originally a modest fishing village with a small harbor that surrounded a small castle (Chateau d’Ouchy which still stands today). In the years 1857 – 1895, however, a lot happens in tourism and a hotel (Hôtel Beau-Rivage), a railroad (today the M2 metro) and others are built. However, it was not until 1964, in connection with the World Exhibition in Lausanne, that Ouchy really got a facelift – and it was not until 1993 that the site got its current appearance.
Today, Ouchy serves as a recreational area and is also home to a number of cultural events. The promenade extends further than you might think and is beautifully decorated with flowers in the summer months.
On one of the piers you will also find the landmark of Lausanne and Ouchy: the Eole. Created by the artist Clelia Bettua, this 20-meter-wide wind sail shows the direction of the wind by means of 4 monoliths 150 meters away. The wind direction can be read by combining the semicircle of the wind sail with the semicircles on the monoliths.
Worth a visit all year round, Ouchy is more than just an attraction; it is a part of Lausanne that helps to make the city whole.
The vineyards of Lavaux
The vineyards of Lavaux stretch for about 14 km and form the link between Lausanne and the towns of Vevey and Montreux.
The vineyards are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are also described as a ‘living cultural landscape’. Viticulture in the area represents a perfect integration of man’s presence in the natural environment.
As a tourist, it is recommended to explore the area on foot (there are several hiking routes), by bike or by miniature train. Many of the wine cellars are also open to tourists and offer tastings as well as secrets of local wine production and grape harvesting. Find out more on the official Lavaux website
Although there are many other vineyards in Switzerland, the vineyards of Lavaux – with Lac Leman as their neighbor – are something special
Vidy’s history starts around 100 BC with the construction of Lousonna, a town at the mouth of the river Flon (a river that is now a small district in the center of Lausanne). At the time, Vidy was a vast marshland and remained so until the 19th century, when dams began to be built in the area.
Today, Vidy is a place where locals relax, play sports, etc.
However, the foundation of the Vidy that exists today was not laid until 1959, when the authorities here approved a landscaping plan in preparation for the 1964 World Fair.
Today, Vidy is a recreational green space where locals play sports, swim, barbecue, etc. and is therefore particularly attractive in summer.
However, Vidy still retains traces of its past, as witnessed by the Gallo-Roman ruins and the chapel dating from 1461.
More contemporary constructions include volleyball courts, skateboard ramps, stadiums, bowling center, tennis club, open-air swimming pool, etc.