Cover photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Cover photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe

A day spent wandering around Lausanne

3 minutes to read

On the north banks of Lake Geneva (Léman), between Geneva and Montreux, Lausanne is the fourth largest city in Switzerland. It is the capital of the Canton of Vaud, one of the states in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. From the old town on the hilltop down to the luxury hotels on the lakeside, Lausanne is a charming city with diverse neighborhoods and atmospheres.

Here are a few tips if you only have a day to spend in Lausanne and you wish to discover its joys and beauties. We would recommend that you make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking along the steep cobbled streets of the city.

Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe

From Lausanne train station to the Cathedral hill

Swiss trains are well-known to be always on time. As heavy users of Swiss transportation services, we can confirm this. Swiss trains are definitely right on time! You can easily reach Lausanne by train from all around the country; traveling by train is fast, comfortable, eco-friendly, and you do not need to look for parking! Our day exploring Lausanne started at the main station. Heading first uphill, then in the Avenue du Théâtre, we walked along the front of Lausanne Opera, built in the 19th century.

Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe

Further upwards, the Bessières bridge offers a lovely view over Lausanne Cathedral on the hilltop and the rest of the city bellow. The cathedral of Notre-Dame of Lausanne is an Evangelical Reformed Church dating back to the 12th Century. Inside, the beautifully painted walls had been covered during the Protestant Reform and restored in the 20th Century. A famous French architect Viollet-le-Duc directed important transformations of the monument during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Lausanne Cathedral
Lausanne Cathedral
Place de la Cathédrale, 1005 Lausanne, Suisse
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe

On the hilltop, the 15th-Century Saint-Maire Castle, formerly hosting the Bishops of Lausanne, is today the seat of the council of the Canton (state) of Vaud.

Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe

Walking downhill through the old town

From the Cathedral and then downhill through the old town, we went down the 177 steps of the Escaliers du Marché, the Market’s Staircase. In its present form, this picturesque covered staircase dates back to the beginning of the 18th Century; evidence of the stairs dates back to the 13th Century.

Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Escaliers du Marché
Escaliers du Marché
Escaliers du Marché, 1003 Lausanne, Suisse
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe

Downstairs we found a charming square, Place de la Palud. This cobbled place is surrounded by old buildings and hosts the colourful Fountain of Justice.

Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe

Along the rue Madeleine upwards, we arrived at the large square Place de la Riponne, where the Palais de Rumine is located. This large Italian Renaissance style monument hosted the library of the University of Lausanne and its collections. Today, this building hosts several museums.

Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Palais de Rumine et Espace Arlaud
Palais de Rumine et Espace Arlaud
Place de la Riponne 6 et Place de la Riponne 2, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland

Sunset on the lakeside

Before going back to Lausanne train station, we took the metro, informally called by the locals the “ficelle”, i.e. the string. We arrived a few minutes later at Ouchy-Olympique, at the end of metro line 2. Lausanne inhabitants, as well as one-day tourists, enjoy a walk on the shores of Lake Geneva along the Castle of Ouchy and the luxury hotels such as the Beau-Rivage Palace.

Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Port d'Ouchy
Port d'Ouchy
Ouchy, 1007 Lausanne, Suisse

In the summertime, Ouchy beaches get packed with people enjoying the cold waters of the lake, or just sun bathing after a long day. Regular metro services connect Ouchy beaches, Lausanne Railway Station and the rest of the city in only a few minutes. Here are our suggestions for a day-tour around Lausanne.

Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe
Photo © credits to Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe

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The author

Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe Renauld

Marie-Madeleine & Giuseppe Renauld

Marie-Madeleine and Giuseppe are a couple living in Geneva, Switzerland. They are both passionate about travelling, history, cultures, and traditional food. They share stories about Brussels and the south of Belgium, as well as the Italian valley of Mont-Blanc and surroundings.

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