La Tour de Sauvabelin, Lausanne…

And so… on Monday, as I had mentioned in an earlier entry… we decided to go to Mont Sauvabelin again… (by bicycle this time)… to go up to the top of the wooden tower, called Tour de Sauvabelin in French, in order to enjoy the panoramic view of Lausanne and Lake Geneva… and of course for some photo shots lah! 🙂

It was not that far. But as I had mentioned many times that Lausanne is a very hilly city… it was the cycling uphill and downhill that really tires me out! And then… add to the fact that the bum had still not fully recovered from the long ride on Saturday, so it was a little painful trying to get comfortable on the seat… especially when there were bumps! Ouch.. ouch.. ouchhhh!

But I managed to survive the bicycle ride, to and fro… and was thankful that the hubby was willing to take me there… despite being tired coming home from work. Although to be honest… I was more keen to re-visit the strawberry bushes that I saw during the Tower races, there… than the Tower itself lah! hihihi… 🙂

So… here are the photos of the wooden tower of Mont Sauvabelin (La Tour de Sauvabelin) once again… plus… the panoramic view from the top of the tower…

(psst… if you want to see it more fully you can just click on any of the photos…)

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

This wooden tower was built in 2003 using 100 tonnes of Douglas fir and spruce from the surrounding area, in keeping with an environmentally friendly approach… and… at a cost of CHF 1.20m. Standing at 35 m high and 700 m above sea level… Tour de Sauvabelin offers a 360° panoramic view of Lausanne, Lake Geneva, the mountains in France and in Switzerland as well as the neighbouring countryside.

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

Tour de Sauvabelin is open from 9am to 5pm in winter and from 9am to 9pm in summer … under normal weather conditions. However, if the weather is bad (very strong winds or snowing, for examples)… the tower will be closed to avoid any accidents.

But the next best thing about this tower… other than the panoramic view it offers … is that there is no admission fee! hehehe… Coming from Singapore, I am very appreciative of anything that is free! hahaha 🙂

The entrance and exit into the tower. Usually one has to pass through the automated revolving gate on the right… as they generally limit the number of visitors into the tower to not more than 50 people at any one time. However, the left side entrance was left wide open when we went there on Monday evening. Guess they needn’t worry about too many people going up the tower that day as there were hardly anybody on top of the tower on the evening when we went there. So… the hubby and I were able to have the whole platform to ourselves… isn’t that nice? 🙂

The directions to the staircase for going up… montée

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

And this one is for coming down, so you are not allowed to go up via this staircase… montée interdite!

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, there are two separate staircases for ascending and descending… and these are clearly indicated.. although the signs were only in French, unfortunately!

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

The two staircases at the top of Tour de Sauvabelin… with clear signs showing which staircase to take to go down… descente… (and which one is not… descente interdite!)

The reason for the two separate staircases must have been out of safety concerns because the stairs can be quite steep…

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

In fact, because of the steepness of the stairs… plus the spiral design, I felt a little dizzy going up… and especially when coming down. So… just to make sure that I did not fall, I went down real slow. Well… better slow… than falling down and injure myself lah, don’t you think?

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

Making my way up… very slowly… while counting the steps… to verify if there are really 151 of them! There are… of course! 🙂

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

Thankfully there are two intermediary platforms (seen above) … where one could stop to rest in between. At least for those who needs the break… like me lah! hehehe… 🙂

But can you  just imagine the participants in the Sauvabelin Tower Race, going up this steep and spiral staircase at the end of their run? Hmmm… not easy, I am sure!

And… as one goes up and down the two staircases, there are metal plates on the steps as well as on the railings. These are name plates of people and companies that had sponsored the construction of these 302 steps… or those who had paid to have their names on them.

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

The small plate on the railing (left) cost CHF 100 whereas the bigger plate on the steps (right) costs CHF 1,000 each for individuals or non-profit organisations (CHF 3,000 for companies). But of course… they can choose to have more than just their name inscribed on the metal plate… like the ones below 🙂

The plate on the left says “To mum for your 67 years” whereas the one on the left says “A country without forest is a country that is dying”… quite interesting, huh?

And how is the supposedly panoramic view from the tower?

Well… see for yourself…

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

Quite impressive… is it not? Since the tower is located at one of the highest points of Mont Sauvabelin… and the top platform of the tower is more than 30 metres high, which is well above the tree canopies in the area… this account for the unobstructed and panoramic view from the tower.

Photo from Sauvabelin Tower

The hubby claims that when the weather is good and the sky is clear… the Jet d’eau (water fountain) of Geneva can be seen from the tower. Unfortunately, as you can see in the above picture, I was not able to discern this quill-like shape (of the Jet d’eau)… but I could clearly see Evian, though. 🙂

The French town of Evian… just across the lake… and a boat seen making its way towards it… from Ouchy.

A view of Lausanne, Vidy, Saint-Sulpice and Morges in the background. Can you guess what the building is on the bottom right corner (the one with the three lollipops sticking out)?

It is the Olympic stadium of Lausanne, La Pointaise… which, unfortunately, will be pulled down at some point to make way for some flats. Can’t help but wonder whether in the meantime the tower might not be a good vantage point to watch two important athletic events to be held this summer, athletissima, on 30 June, and Gymnaestrada, from 10 to 16 July 2011.

Now… usually we see the tower rising high above the trees on Mont Sauvabelin… from our place. But that Monday evening… we were able to see our flat from the tower, instead! The orange-coloured block of flats (with the three rows of four windows aligned smack opposite the tower) is where we live.

And… to give you an idea of the 360° panoramic view… as I stood in the centre of the tower!

Photo from Sauvabelin Tower

Photo from Sauvabelin Tower

Photo from Sauvabelin Tower

Photo from Sauvabelin Tower

I know it’s not the best of 360° shots… but you get the picture… 🙂

And to help you to figure out the various mountains that can be seen across the lake from the tower…

There are two of these scale model of the mountains with their names and their height… at the top of the tower.

After enjoying the beautiful evening sunlight from the tower and taking enough shots… we made our way down… so that we could go and pick those wild strawberries! hehehe… 🙂

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

Making my way… very slowly… and very very carefully… down the steep and spiral stairs. Had to stop a few times… so that I would not feel too giddy.  But despite the slight giddy feeling, I could not help but admire the beautiful Archimedes screw stairs design of the tower.

And… could not resist taking one last shot of the beautiful landscape from the tower… even as I was walking… very gingerly… down the stairs!

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

The hubby… making his way out of the tower… towards where we had left our bicycles.

A water fountain made of log… located near the wooden tower.

So… the tower and the surrounding look quite nice, no? However… it has that one small problem… normally faced by any other places of interests… especially unguarded ones like the Sauvabelin Tower… VANDALISM!

Some thoughtless people have been spoiling the look of the tower by having their own name and personal message inscribed… without forking any money… in the form of graffiti! Argghhh… don’t you just hate it when people do this…?

And so… to tackle this… the tower management had resorted to this…

Photo of Sauvabelin Tower

… installing security cameras (like the one on the external beam, in the picture above)… to discourage people from continuing to vandal the tower! I hope it works!

After it was built and open to the public on 15 December 2003, the Sauvabelin Tower quickly caught the attention of people. It quickly became popular ( receiving its 500,000th visitor in April 2010)… such that its designer, Julius Natterer, was commissioned in 2006 to build a (3m taller) sister tower in Wil, canton of St Gallen… which offers a panoramic view that extends to the Austrian Alps and to the Eiger and Mönch in the Bernese Alps! Wahh… maybe we will have to try and visit this sister tower sometime… to compare notes! hehehe 🙂

Okay, for those of you who are interested to see how the man who designed the tower, Julius Natterer, went about constructing the Sauvabelin Tower…  you can read more from his website.

By the way… besides this wooden tower, there is another look-out point in Mont Sauvabelin… known as Signal de Sauvabelin… which I will share more a bit later, okay?



4 thoughts on “La Tour de Sauvabelin, Lausanne…

  1. Hi Adrian, you are most welcome. I am glad that the photo now serves a much more useful purpose than simply adorning my blog! 😉 Thanks for the link.


  2. Hi Adrian, you may use the picture as long as due credit is given to acknowledge that the photo is mine. Best regards. 🙂


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