Cathedral of Notre Dame in Lausanne

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Cathédrale de Notre Dame

Top choice in Lausanne

Lausanne’s Gothic cathedral, Switzerland’s finest, stands proudly at the heart of the Old Town. Raised in the 12th and 13th centuries on the site of earlier, humbler churches, it lacks the lightness of French Gothic buildings but is remarkable nonetheless. Pope Gregory X, in the presence of Rudolph of Habsburg (the Holy Roman Emperor) and an impressive following of European cardinals and bishops, consecrated the church in 1275.

Although touched up in parts in following centuries (notably the main facade, which was added to protect the interior against ferocious winds), the cathedral remains largely as it was (thanks to today's constant conservation work). The most striking element is the elaborate entrance on the south flank of the church (which, unusually for Christian churches, was long the main way in). The painted statuary depicts Christ in splendour, the coronation of the Virgin Mary, the Apostles and other Bible scenes. Free guided tours are available, on request, July through September: book in advance.

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Nearby Lausanne attractions

1. Musée Historique de Lausanne

0.03 MILES

Until the 15th century, the city’s bishops resided in this lovely manor across from the cathedral (after which it became a jail, then a court, then a…

3. Escaliers du Marché

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This timber-canopied staircase with tiled roof heads up the hill from Pl de la Palud to Rue Pierre Viret and beyond to the cathedral.

4. Palais de Rumine

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This robust neo-Renaissance palace (1904) was designed by Gaspard André. In 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne was signed here, finalising the break-up of the…

5. Fontaine de la Justice

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Sculpted by Laurent Perroud between 1584 and 1585, this striking fountain features a statue of a blindfolded woman bearing a sword and scales with four…

6. Place de la Palud

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In the heart of the Vieille Ville (Old Town), this pretty as a picture 9th-century medieval market square, was once bogland. For five centuries it has…

7. Château St Maire

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Built between 1400 and 1430, Lausanne's hilltop château is thought to have been designed by Italian masters from the Aosta Valley, such are its…

8. Hôtel de Ville

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Offices of the City of Lausanne are housed in the 17th-century Hôtel de Ville and whilst you can pop your head in the foyer for a snoop, it's not open to…