Class excursion through the city of Lausanne…

Before starting to share on the backlog of photos from our weekend excursions I thought I would tackle something a little easier … sharing the photos that I took during my class excursion through the city centre of Lausanne on Monday.

Although I had initially thought of not taking part … given the temperamental weather … I was glad that I decided to go ahead and join several of my classmates and our teacher for the afternoon excursion. I certainly learnt something new that afternoon about this city that I now call home.

(As usual, feel free to move the pointer of your mouse on a picture to display background info or click to enlarge.)

Our meeting point for the city tour was the front step of this very old church, built in the 13th century, … the church of St François, situated in the middle of the city centre, at … Place St François. This was also our first itinerary for the day. Although I had passed by this church often, I had never actually went inside to take a look. I got my first look that afternoon.

Although it is very much smaller than the more impressive cathedral of Lausanne located not that far away … the interior is almost as nice. But what I liked most inside this church were the old photos of the church and the area (Place St François) taken during the late 19th century and early 20th century.

From the church we went up rue de Bourg, which forms part of the old town of Lausanne. Along the way, we were introduced to some local sweet delicacies … one of which is called Pavés de la Rue de Bourg … and which this confectionery shop called Tony is the creator. You can see pictures of the Pavés (or cobblestones … the pavement in the old town as seen on the photos above) outside this shop (in white with pink wording above the green sign Tony on the left). Now that I know of their existence, I suppose I will have to try to find out how they taste lah! 😉

Once we reached the main road, we walked across le Pont Bessières (Bridge of Bessières ) … which is one of the 3 main bridges that connects the 3 major hills in Lausanne … to make our way to the Notre Dame Cathedral, or more popularly known as the Cathedral of Lausanne.

If you notice, the fence wall of this bridge is quite high. It is the same at the other main bridge, Le Grand Pont … a necessary preventive action on the part of the city government since these high bridges seem to be a favourite place for committing suicide! Ish, ish, ish …

The views as seen on the left side of the bridge … showing how high we were relative to the valley below.

Located on hills, there is a lot of walking up and down the slopes (or stairs) when one is in Lausanne. And because of all this uphill and downhill walking, the women of Lausanne are said to have the nicest legs in Switzerland! But errr … with modern transport, I suppose this is no longer as evident as in the old days lah! 🙂

Waiting for the rest of the group to catch up before going up the slope towards the Cathedral.

A view of the snow-covered mountains as seen from the ground of the Cathedral … rising majestically above from where we had climbed up all the way from Church of St François. Such a lovely view, no? The mountains have really been very beautiful to see for the past week, whenever the sky cleared up in between the rains!

But instead of going inside the Cathedral, we went right past it to walk along the two main streets of the old town, known as Cité-Devant and Cité-Derrière.

Since this part of the old town is not crowded, I found it to be a very pleasant walk. I especially enjoyed looking at the attractive shop signs.

As in other Swiss old towns that I have been to, the old shop/restaurant signs here are very elaborate, decorative and highly attractive!! I just lurveee them! 🙂

And I was equally pleased to notice this street candle holder in the old town! It reminded me of the many lovely candle holders that I saw in the old own off Siena, Italy last June.

We soon reached a small square called Place du Château where …

… an old castle called Le Château St Maire (castle of St Maire) can be found, the core of which was built between 1396 and 1406 over a previous stronghold dating at least to the 9th century and which now serves as the seat of the cantonal government …

… as well as this elegant 19th century French style building, which houses the Préfecture.

Leaving the castle of St Maire behind and making our way …

… towards the impressive Notre Dame Cathedral of Lausanne, which was built in the 12th century in the Swiss Gothic style. This imposing Cathedral is a highly visible and a popular landmark of the city of Lausanne. We can even see the top of its tower from our balcony!

Along the way …

… we passed by a very old fountain, erected in 1728 (but is still in good working condition) … and another grand old building known as l’Ancienne Académie (Old Academy), which was built in the 16th century as the school of theology for the intellectual elite of the Reformation. It was later used to house part of the faculties of the University of Lausanne (UNIL) before the move to Dorigny. Today, this old academy houses a cantonal secondary school.

Arriving at the back of the Cathedral and then making our way inside to take a look. Since I have been to this Cathedral a few times, including an excursion with another class more than a year ago, I chose to sit down and just rest this time round …

… and took only a few photos inside as souvenirs of the class visit on that day.

By the time we came out, the weather had not only turned chillier … but it had also started to turn quite dark!

Still … despite the cloudy day (in fact it started to drizzle lightly not long after) … the Lausanne skyline from the esplanade of the Cathedral still look very lovely (with the church of Saint-François opposite and the French town of Evian on the other side of the lake on the left).

The Florentine styled Palais de Rumine (Rumine Palace), where several museums are housed as well as the University Library … as seen from the esplanade of the Cathedral.

From there we made our way down an old covered wooden stairway called Les Escaliers du Marché, which connects the esplanade in front of the Cathedral to a square called Place de la Palud.

Our guide Jasmine then generously treated the group to a drink at this quaint old café called Barbare. Naturally, we decided to have our group photos taken here! 🙂

After the refreshment stop, we were supposed to continue with our city tour towards Bel Air Tour and Place de Montbenon, another nice area with a lovely view of the mountains. Unfortunately, the temperature decided to drop even lower and the rain started to pour a little heavier than just a drizzle with strong winds too. So we were forced to cut short our excursion. But it had been a lovely walk and our guide Jasmine certainly made the walk a very pleasurable one with her warmth, enthusiasm and generosity.

Merci beaucoup, Jasmine!!

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