Lausanne travel guide
Located in the French speaking part of Switzerland, Lausanne basks on the shores of Lake Geneva facing the French town of Evians-les-Bains – famous for its spring water. It is 62 kilometres north-east of Geneva and our Lausanne travel guide will provide you with the travel and tourism information you will need if you are planning a visit to this interesting area in Switzerland’s Vaud canton.
Lausanne is known especially for its excellent ski slopes and abounds with resorts for overnight or longer skiing and snowboarding adventures. Although it is also rich in antiquities, it a city young at heart, thanks to the large student population of its two prolific universities and this is reflected in its cultural diversity. The ancient and the modern are juxtaposed in fascinating symmetry, offering both to its visitors in equal proportions.
The splendid gothic cathedral, sitting on a hill and dominating the urban landscape is a marvel of artistic and architectural excellence. It was begun in 1150 but took over a century to complete in separate stages. Since its consecration it has undergone many changes and almost permanent renovation works. Its interior is a true gothic masterpiece and its paintings and rose window are considered to be some of Europe’s most significant works of art.
In contrast the Flon area is a late 20th century development of galleries and exhibitions, cafes and cinemas which draws visitors via its ultra modern railway in equal numbers to the cathedral. It was once a grim industrial area comprising of leather works and tanneries but is now the hub of modern Lausanne life. The Esplanade du Flon is a contemporary complex with pubs, bars, youth restaurants and bistros as well as edgy nightclubs.
Nearby Chillon Castle is one of the most picturesque examples of 13th century architecture you will find anywhere – that is in reality. The truth is that you will feel you have entered into a fairytale world when you see it. It has been the inspiration for poets, artists and film makers for 200 years and from its chilling dungeons and mediaeval turrets, it is easy to see why.
There are numerous museums and galleries displaying ancient and modern artefacts and artwork dotted around Lausanne, while the stunning Rumine Palace houses a network of museums from fine arts to zoology. Museums of photography and contemporary arts can be found near the centre of Lausanne, while Ouchy’s Olympic Museum, completed in 1993, traces the history of the Olympic Games.
Lake cruises and ferries across to Evian will allow you to explore the area from a different perspective while the dramatic Lavaux landscape, which took shape during the last ice age, offers many delightful hours exploring the vineyards and little villages on its picturesque slopes. Lausanne has so very much more to offer its visitors than its ski slopes.