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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.
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.
Situated in the district between the main train station and the lake, the Musée et jardin botaniques cantonaux are a small space of heavenly calm and relaxation. There are plants from all over the world, with a particular emphasis on the local flora. Created at the end of the 19th Century to allow pharmacy students to study medicinal plants, it continues to show plants used in popular medicine and important medications. The hot and the humid greenhouses show tropical plants, while the Alpine gardens glorifies typical Swiss mountain flora. The small museum hosts temporary exhibitions related to botany. Admission is free.
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.
Sauvabelin Forest is a suburban park where Lausanne locals have come for Sunday strolls and afternoon walks in a soothing natural setting for more than a century. Walks lead past the River Flon, the picturesque Bois de Sauvabelin, and the ruins of a former Swiss village. The true highlights of the forest are the Lac du Sauvabelin, an artificial lake built in the late 19th century, and the Sauvebelin Tower, an interesting wooden structure nine stories tall with beautiful views of the surrounding region. Visitors often take picnics on landscaped grounds, row boats on the lake in the warmer months, and take children to see Swiss-native farm animals. Legend has it that the late and great David Bowie owned a home on the forest grounds.