Tour de l'Ale
A surprising sight for those who come strolling around the corner, the Tour de l’Ale is the last major remaining medieval fortification in Lausanne. Its size – 21 metres to the top of the roof and 8 metres in diameter – makes it one of the most spectacular sites in town.
Built in 1340, its first role was to defend the suburb of Ale, a district standing outside the city walls, which at the time extended out from the Saint-Laurent gate. It also served as a keep, a self-sufficient fortified refuge. Looking at its defences, its walls are nearly 2 metres thick at the base, and it has a raised entry, murder holes in increasing numbers with each floor (two on the ground floor, three on the first floor, four on the second, five on the third), and a top crowned with six large crenels.
Like other medieval fortifications, the tower fell into disuse in the 18th century. In 1890, a demolition project led by local officials led to opposition among the people, who called for the historical structure to be conserved. The tower was finally classified as a historical monument in 1900, and it was restored in 1903.
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