Lausanne Neighbourhoods, Locations and Districts
(Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland)
Lausanne is a hilly and inviting city, and divided into a series of interesting districts and distinctive neighbourhoods, a number of which incorporate stretches of beach and coastline. Within the very heart of the city, the Place St. François has become a major central hub and is surrounded by trendy cafes and street entertainment.
Still retaining much of its original medieval charm, Lausanne has grown up around the district known as the Old Town, where regular open-air markets take place at the squares of Palud, Riponne and St. François. Nearby and overflowing with lively bars, shops and art galleries, the neighbourhood of Flon is also home to a large multiplex cinema, plenty of nighttime entertainment and a sizable student population.
The actual lakeside was enveloped by the city many years ago and once of small fishing village, Ouchy is now very much an integral part of Lausanne today.
Vieille Ville District (Old Town)
The Old Town district of Lausanne, known to the Swiss locals as Vieille Ville, is characterised by its many hilly streets and striking cathedral. Overlooking the whole neighbourhood from an elevated setting, the Cathédrale de Lausanne is famous for being the largest of all Switzerland's Gothic-style buildings and dates back to the latter part of the 13th century. Close to the neighbouring Place St. François, the Rue de Bourg is a notable shopping boulevard in Lausanne and is completely free of traffic. Nearby, the neighbouring Rue Central borders the Vieille Ville and runs alongside the valley.
Close to the Place St. François is Lausanne's district of Flon. Many years ago, Flon was simply filled with run-down warehouses from the late 19th century. However, today the appearance of this neighbourhood has undergone nothing short of a transformation and Flon has become a trendy place to be seen. Look out for the regular performances at the l'Espace Culturel des Terreaux (Terreaux Cultural Centre), which lies along the Rue des Terreaux and features a range of live music, dance and theatrical events.
Ouchy sports a truly beautiful harbour area, around which a group of hotels, shops and restaurants has established themselves, near to both the Place du Port and the Place de la Navigation. Families should leave plenty of time to visit Ouchy, since there is so much to do here. Always popular are the water fountains, cruises, museums and scenery along the shores of Lake Geneva itself. Return boat trips are available to nearby Évian-les-Bains (France), while for others, a visit to the Musée Olympique (Olympic Museum) on the Quai d'Ouchy will be a definite highlight, along with its Greek-inspired facade and glorious gardens.
Sous Gare District
The part of Lausanne known as the Sous Gare is located alongside the Gare CFF railway station and directly north of Ouchy. This is a mainly residential neighbourhood, although the Sous Gare does offer a range of accommodation and cheap eats, all conveniently close to the station itself.