The beautiful Castle St-Marie is currently used as government offices, so its interiors aren’t open to the public. The façade is still enjoyable from the outside, and worth the 160-step climb to the top plateau on which it rests.
You can’t miss the Cathédrale de Lausanne, the city’s most recognizable landmark and most beautiful example of gothic architecture in Switzerland. The 700-year-old cathedral offers spectacular views of the city from its tower, and the stained-glass windows are some of the finest examples of the craft. In a bit of medieval quirk, the town crier continues to shout out the hours from the tower every afternoon.
Lausanne was the center of the “Art Brut” movement, which celebrated the works of artists on the fringes of society, including the mentally disturbed and the criminally insane. The artists whose work is on display at the Collection de l’Art Brut range from schizophrenics to child molesters to serial murderers. While the work – and the stories behind the pieces – can be disturbing, this is one gallery experience quite unlike any other.
For more conventional art galleries, check out the Hermitage, which focuses on fine arts, the Dubner Moderne, a small gallery dedicated to modernists, or the Musée de l’Elysée, dedicated to photography.
The International Olympic Committee is based in Lausanne and the official Olympic Museum is one of Lausanne’s biggest tourist draws. The museum celebrates the Olympic movement’s efforts at fostering peace, respect, and understanding through sporting competitions. It also showcases the Olympics’ long-lasting impact on architecture, design, urban planning, social and political history, art, fashion, and technology. The sculpture park surrounding the museum is home to sports-inspired works by some of the world’s finest sculptors, including Rodin, Botero, and Tinguely.
Young film talent. Born in 1986 in Zurich, Tamer Ruggli attends the ECAL (Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne). Wrote and directed film shorts The Rejects, and Cappuccino, shown at Festival de Films Gay & Lesbiens de Paris, November 2010. Profile at Studentfilm.ch
The massive wooden Tower of Sauvabelin is one of the city’s newest attractions, open since 2003. The 300-step spiral staircase winds 35 meters above the nearby Sauvabelin Woods. The panoramic view of the Lausanne and Lake Geneva is the best in the city, although it’s a bit of a hike to reach.