A remarkable walk in the district below the station
End: CFF railway station
Duration at a stroll: 1 hour 15 mins.
To reach the start of the walk: from the station, take metro m2 in the direction of «Ouchy» and get off at the «Ouchy» stop. After alighting from the metro, make your way to the Château d’Ouchy, which has a tower dating from the 12th Century.
Hôtel “LE CHALET”
Along Avenue d’Ouchy you will pass a chalet worthy of an alpine resort. This is the Hôtel Le Chalet, built more than a century ago, at the time when Ouchy was no more than a fishing village separated from the city of Lausanne by a large vineyard. The famous Swedish dramatist and writer August Strindberg stayed here between 1884 and 1887 and here he wrote essays and short stories.
Keep straight on along Chemin de Roseneck until you reach the gardens of the Elysée estate.
The Elysée estate
The Elysée estate comprises a mansion built in 1780 and terraced gardens that cascade down to the lake. This dwelling, where Mme. De Staël played hostess in 1807, now houses an internationally renowned photography museum. The upper section of the gardens is arranged in the French style: symmetrical ornamental plants pruned to the most precise of dimensions. In contrast, the gardens in the lower park are kept in the English style: all meandering pathways and trees that elicit a natural lyricism.
The gardens of the Beau-Rivage Palace
Between the bottom of the Elysée gardens and the gardens of the Musée Olympique [Olympic Museum], you walk alongside the greenhouses of the Beau-Rivage Palace. This luxurious establishment, which has been in existence since 1861, possesses a vast wooded park. These (private) gardens conceal a rare curiosity, as they contain a cemetery for dogs with steles that date back some fifty years. At that time, this privilege was reserved for dogs whose master lodged all year round.
The Quais d'Ouchy
The lakeside promenades along which you walk were inaugurated in 1904, when embankments were used to reclaim almost 25 metres from the lake. Near some tall trees on the other side of the road, you can see a high wall covered in moss. This represents tangible evidence that the lake used to reach this point before the promenades were created.
The Haldimand Tower
At the end of these promenades, one finds the Tour Haldimand. This structure, built in about 1825, was the result of a whimsical competition between three notables of the period, one of whom was William Haldimand, then owner of the Denantou estate. The goal of the competition was to build the most beautiful ruined medieval tower. This structure, which then stood almost in the water, won the first prize.
The River Vuachère
Near to this tower, a river, the Vuachère, flows into the lake. Three rivers run through Lausanne. The Vuachère is the last to mainly flow freely, whereas the Flon and the Louve are largely canalized. The small verdant valleys of this river encourage animals of all sizes to roam right into the city. So it is not uncommon to encounter a fox or a hedgehog at nightfall.
Follow the “sentier du renard” (fox path), waymarked with fox tracks imprinted in the earth, as far as Avenue de Montchoisi.
In the Parc du Denantou, known for its vast lawns and magnificent trees, you will discover a small traditional carved wood Thai pavilion, a gift from the Thai government. This building, erected in 2006, celebrates seventy-five years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Thailand.
Immediately above the English church, you will find the Château de Grancy, a former mansion with many turrets. Attached to the large wall opposite this building, you can see a few rings rusted by time. These were used to tie up the horses that used to be stabled behind the green doors. A century ago there were almost a thousand horses in Lausanne.
Boulevard de Grancy
The Boulevard de Grancy is the only boulevard in Lausanne. Today this street is no wider than any other, so why is it known as a boulevard? A little more than a hundred years ago, some developers decided to create a vast thoroughfare right through the middle of the vines and to construct buildings. To give you some idea of its initial width, have a look at the oldest buildings, which are set back. This extravagant project was very quickly abandoned and the boulevard contracted.
Text by Pierre Corajoud,
author of the guide “Flâneries lausannoises” (Strolls through Lausanne ) and the book “Lausanne en méandres” (The Twists and Turns of Lausanne).