As our countdown to the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020 continues, olympic.org takes a cultural tour around the Swiss city, as we uncover what athletes can look forward to experiencing next January.
From museums, galleries and theatres to historic buildings and its famed opera house, Lausanne has many cultural delights to offer visitors to next year’s Winter YOG.
Opéra de Lausanne
Opened in 1871, the Lausanne Opera House recently enjoyed a major renovation, reopening in 2012 with new boxes, modern technical equipment and an eye-catching mirrored façade. Each year, the opera house draws 45,000 showgoers for its mix of classical and operatic performances, as well as other concerts, dance shows and productions for children.
Collection de l’Art Brut
This gallery devoted to outsider art features a huge collection of works by untrained artists, including many from the fringes of society. Housed in the splendid Château de Beaulieu, in the centre of Lausanne, the museum was founded by French artist Jean Dubuffet in the 1970s as a way of celebrating the work of self-taught artists, far removed from conventional artistic codes.
Place de la Palud
This pretty ninth-century medieval market square lies in the heart of Lausanne’s Old Town, and is dominated by the striking Fontaine de la Justice – a 16th century fountain with a brightly painted column, adorned with a statue representing justice that presides over the square. The Place de la Palud is also home to cafes, boutiques, regular markets, the 17th-century Town Hall and a clock that presents the history of Vaud in animated scenes every hour from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cathédrale de Notre Dame
Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Lausanne’s Gothic cathedral is among the finest in Switzerland, and attracts more than 400,000 visitors every year. Consecrated in 1275 in the presence of Pope Gregory X, the cathedral features an elaborate entrance on its southern flank as well as a unique multi-coloured interior and an impressive medieval rose window with intricate imagery depicting the commonly held beliefs of the time.
Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts
This fine arts museum was founded in 1841 by painter and patron Marc-Louis Arlaud, and will reopen later this year in a new location at Plateforme 10 – a new “arts district” next to Lausanne railway station. Its collection features more than 10,000 works, covering everything from Ancient Egyptian art to post-Impressionism and Cubism, but it owes much of its reputation to its array of landscapes by Louis Ducros (1748–1810) – a central figure in the “pre-Romantic” movement.
Musée de l’Elysée
Also set to move to Plateforme 10 is the Musée de l’Elysée – one of the world’s leading museums devoted entirely to photography. Still operating in its current site close to The Olympic Museum until late 2020, the museum’s collection features more than a million photographs, including those of colour pioneer Gabriel Lippmann and contemporary photographers such as Jeff Wall and Charlie Chaplin.
No trip to Lausanne is complete without a visit to The Olympic Museum. First opened in 1993, it underwent extensive renovations in 2013, with the new, modernised Museum now endowed with state-of-the-art technology, interactive exhibits and the latest audio-visual innovations. In addition to displaying artefacts from every edition of the Olympic Games since 1896, and iconic equipment from Olympians of every continent and every Olympic sport, the Museum celebrates the history, culture, design, technology and sociology of the Games, telling the stories of the athletes, as well as the creators, builders, artists and volunteers involved in the Olympic Movement.