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This quaint cobbled stone square is filled not only by the Town Hall but with the wonderfully colored buildings, each with its own window box of geraniums and pastel colored shutters. The square is home to the Fountain of Justice, whose basin dates from 1557 making it the city's oldest. The original Statue of Justice was made in 1585 but is now replaced by a copy. Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, a market is held on all surrounding pedestrian streets where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. The overall atmosphere of the square is very laid back, making it a good place to relax in the outdoor cafés and restaurants.
Holding a place of pride in the heart of Lausanne's Old Town, this imposing Gothic cathedral soars over a sea of red-roofed buildings. Although the original master mason is undocumented, construction efforts can be traced back to the 12th Century. The structure was completed roughly a century later in 1275 under an engineer named Jean Cotereel. It was ordained by three important figures - Pope Gregory X, Rudolph of Habsburg, and Guillaume of Champvent, the then bishop of Lausanne. Its belfry a home to seven sonorant bells, the Lausanne Cathedral's other noteworthy features include an exceptional pipe organ and a stained glass window considered to be one of Europe's finest. Those in the city will also hear a town crier announcing the hours every night between 10p and 2a from the bell tower, as has been tradition since the Middle Ages. An architectural wonder par excellence, this historic cathedral comes alive with a repertoire of concerts and a bevy of cultural events.
Standing right in the heart of the historic city of Lausanne, the palace is most famously known as the place where the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in 1912. This opulent palace, replete with illusory staircases, spacious chambers and atriums, was christened after its sponsor, the Russian aristocrat Gabriel de Rumine. Rumine donated a princely sum to the city for the purpose of constructing a pubic edifice. The responsibility of building the palace fell to one of Lyon's most highly-acclaimed architects at the time, Gaspard André. After its construction, the palace went on to serve as the site of the Lausanne University Library, the Cantonal Money Museum, and eclectic repositories that cater to the fields of zoology, archaeology and fine arts, among others.
The spectacular stronghold of Vaud's cantonal administration, Château Saint-Maire is a remarkable vestige of the city's bishopric heritage. Between the 14th and 15th centuries, this formidable fortress, replete with Italian-style merlons and other distinct brick features were built by the Bishops of Lausanne. Through the centuries, it played an important role in history, from initially serving as the bishop's residence until 1536, to later being appointed as an armory, with a bailiff to oversee and maintain order. It was christened to honor Marius of Avenches, Lausanne's first bishop. The castle now stands as a beautifully-preserved remnant of Swiss history and heritage, overlooking the lower city from its stance on City Hill.
Ouchy is a great place to relax with the whole family. Paddle by the water fountains, watch the boats leave the harbor or read a book along the shaded quays. There are daily trips across the lake by boat to Evian in France and a worthwhile visit can be made to the Olympic Museum, where you can wander around the gardens free of charge. The beautiful views of Lake Geneva and the Chablais mountains make it a perfect place for a Sunday stroll, but better still if you're on skates.
Deep in the recesses of the Sauvabelin forest lies a modern, wood-built tower which affords a breathtaking view of the rolling Jura Mountains and glistening Lake Léman. Measuring 35 meters (115 feet), the distinctive tower takes its name from the surrounding forest. Although it serves a spectacular purpose, the structure itself is eye-catching, and its spiral staircase was inspired by the helical architecture found at the Chateau de Chambord in France. Fashioned out of Douglas firs sourced from local forests, this tower and its supporting institutions are greatly inclined towards sustainable development and environmental consciousness, and strive to radiate the same principles to visitors.
The Château de Chillon (Chillon Castle) is the most visited historical building in the country. Located 20 minutes away by train (just outside Montreux), this fortress dates back to the 11th century and is worth a visit. Try to avoid the massive number of tourists who flock here during the summer months by arriving early. And if you are able to, take the train to Montreux and walk along the lake to the castle. One piece of advice, a tourist stall screens a video of the castle right outside the entrance. Try not to be one of those people who become glued to the screen when the real thing is towering above your head!