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Best Historic Locations in Lausanne

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Place de la Palud

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.

Lausanne, Switzerland
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Lausanne Cathedral

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.

Lausanne, Switzerland
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Palais de Rumine

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.

Lausanne, Switzerland
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Romainmotier Priory

Romainmotier Priory is a monastery founded by Romanus of Condat in the Canton of Vaud, explaining its namesake. Now an entry on the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance, it once stood as a priory for monks of the Cluniac order. The rich history of the Romainmotier Priory begins around 450, from there traveling through medieval times, a 14th-century financial crisis, the Protestant Reformation, and two restorations from 1899 to 1915 and 1992 to 2000. In the summer, spring, and autumn, hymn concerts are conducted at the Romainmotier Priory, making it not only a historically significant attraction but also a cultural one.

Romainmotier-Envy, Switzerland
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Chillon Castle

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!

Veytaux, Switzerland
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