The Escaliers du Marché staircase, a direct and steep route that runs between Place de la Palud and the Cathedral, is one of the most picturesque sites in Lausanne. Its existence was first recorded back in the 13th century and its present-day appearance – a winding wooden stairway with a cover and a very steep cobbled street running alongside it – dates back to the years 1717 - 1719.
The upper part of the stairway was interrupted in 1911 with the construction of Rue Pierre-Viret, the continuation of the Pont Bessières bridge, but it was then artificially restored thanks to the addition of an underground walkway in 1975. Until the 14th century, the city market was held on a square built to the right of the staircase, hence the name. Traces of it can still be seen in the shade of the trees at the bottom of Rue Pierre-Viret. The row of houses that lines the east side of the stairway, home to boutiques and cafés, is an extraordinary sight, towering high as it runs uphill uninterrupted from Place de la Palud to Rue Pierre-Viret. Some parts of the buildings date back to the 16th century, such as the street-level ogee bays of No. 17. At the top, the Cathedral bell tower provides a dramatic peak to the upward climb.
Esacaliers du Marché