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When Lausanne goes into unusual mode

The Lausanner
The Lausanner
January 22, 2021

Discovering a city also means getting off the beaten track. Aside from the great monuments and the unmissable walks, there are also some unusual places to be discovered for a visit that is definitely out of the ordinary.

1. Find the famous pliers inlaid in a paving stone at la Riponne

It is a mystery that dates back to 1973, when the square was repaved. One of the square’s 142,430 paving stones (if you can count them all!) is different from the others. It reveals a pair of pliers, stuck fast in the concrete. Did the tool belong to a clumsy workman? Or to someone who had to make a murder weapon disappear? Perhaps even a whole toolbox lies buried underneath the square? Difficult to say…The pliers at La Riponne remain a mystery that still fascinate people to this day after a book was published on the subject in 2016. The areas around the public benches will have to be searched in order to carry out the investigation and examine the evidence. Hint: when you look at the Palais de Rumine, walk to the left and start your search near the large flower boxes. Good luck!

(c) LT/Daniela Caminotto la pince insolite de la riponne (c) LT/Daniela Caminotto la pince insolite de la riponne

2. Stroke Sauvabelin’s woolly pigs 

Hello animal lovers! Visit Lac de Sauvabelin to admire endangered Swiss species. Amidst the Booted Goats, the Rätisches Grauvieh (Rhaetian grey cows), the Appenzeller hens, the moutons miroirs (mirror sheep) and the Roux du Valais sheep, the woolly pigs are certainly the most unusual. Children will love them!

Porc laineux / Photo: ProSpecieRara Porc laineux / Photo: ProSpecieRara

3. Call out the time of day with the Watchman of Lausanne Cathedral 

You may have visited Lausanne Cathedral during the day. But have you been there at night? Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., Renato Häusler cries out the time to residents from the Tour du Beffroi. As the Watchman of Lausanne Cathedral, his role is no longer to watch over the city, but to keep alive a tradition that dates back more than 600 years. It’s worth staying up late for. What’s more, from the tower, the view of slumbering Lausanne is breathtaking.

Le fameux guet de la Cathédrale de Lausanne ©LT/ Laurent KACZOR Le fameux guet de la Cathédrale de Lausanne ©LT/ Laurent KACZOR

4. Catch a glimpse of Lausanne’s underground rivers

Walking around the city, you would never suspect that – under your feet – two rivers are flowing. The Louve and the Flon, which gave their names to a square and a district of Lausanne, were buried more than 100 years ago. But these watercourses are not totally invisible. To see the Louve, you have to go down to the La Riponne car park (an unexpected place, don’t you think?). On the third level, a porthole allows you to admire the tunnel where the river flows, before it flows into the Flon, a little further down.

5. Find yourself surrounded by nature, just a few metres from the centre

If you feel like being surrounded by nature, then we will meet you at the Pont du Diable (Devil’s Bridge). This is one of the stages of the Chemin de la Vuachère, a walk which runs along the river for 8 kilometres. Barely 100 metres after leaving the residential area of Montolivet, you will feel like you are in the middle of the forest, far from the city. There, the sound of the current and the serenity of the place will make you forget the urban bustle.

La Vuachère ©LT/ La Vuachère ©LT/

6. Stroll through the vineyards in the heart of the city

A little corner of Lavaux camouflaged in the heart of Lausanne? And no, you’re not dreaming: The Languedoc hillside does indeed hide an urban vineyard of some 600 vines. Situated to the south-west of the city, the Chemin du Languedoc takes you to this little corner of urban paradise. Follow the trail, enjoy the peace and quiet, marvel at the view of the lake and the Alps and set off to discover this unusual place: the only urban vineyards in Lausanne.

©Florian Barraud ©Florian Barraud

7. Discover the frescoes of the Passage Saint-François

We know what you’re thinking: spending time in an underpass isn’t the most common way to discover a city. And yet it is possible, thanks to the talented Dora Formica! This talented designer from Lausanne has adorned the Passage Saint-François with a fresco depicting the city, illustrated with anecdotes that will allow you to learn more about the Bourg-Saint-François district. Definitely an unusual way to discover Lausanne!


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Une publication partagée par @doraformica

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