Gros de Vaud

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Carte du district du Gros-de-Vaud

As Gros de Vaud is in the Swiss canton of Vaud (French: Vaud) refers to a landscape whose boundaries are not well defined. Thanks to the fertile soils, the Gros de Vaud with its center Echallens is considered the breadbasket of Vaud.


The geographical term Gros de Vaud was coined in 1875 by the historian Louis Vulliemin , who wanted to create a uniform name for the core landscape ( Gros ) of Vaud. This heart of the Vaud comprises the region of the Vaud Central Plateau between Lausanne in the south and the Orbe plain and Yverdon-les-Bains in the north. The eastern boundary is formed by the wooded heights of the Jorat and its northeastern foothills, which separate the Gros de Vaud from the Broyetal . To the west, the landscape extends to the foot of the Jura , whereby the somewhat higher, rougher Jura foot plateau (on limestone ) is usually no longer included.

The Gros de Vaud is characterized by a slightly undulating plateau landscape with an average height of 550 to 600 m above sea level. The Venoge is deepened into this plateau, which over time has created a valley about 1 km wide and up to 100 m deep. It drains the western part of the landscape south to Lake Geneva ( catchment area of the Rhone ). The watershed between the Rhône and the Rhine runs through the middle of the Gros de Vaud plateau, because the Talent water , which drains the northeastern part, is already flowing north to the Orbe (catchment area of ​​the Rhine). In the extreme northeast, the plateau merges into a landscape in which broad ridges ( Bois de Suchy , Grand Bois d'Essertines ), often wooded in the ridge area , alternate with the valleys of Buron , Sauteru and Mentue that open north to Lake Neuchâtel .

Gros de Vaud in the narrower sense is the area of ​​the Echallens district on the plateau between the Venogetal and the Jorat.


The Plateau des Gros de Vaud is made up of sandstones from the Lower Freshwater Molasse , which were deposited in the foothills of the Alps about 30 to 22 million years ago. Strong uplift processes in the western Central Plateau at the end of the Tertiary meant that the layers of the Upper Sea Molasse and the Upper Freshwater Molasse in large parts of the Central and Eastern Central Plateau in the Gros de Vaud area were completely eroded.

During the various ice ages , the Gros de Vaud was covered by a thick layer of ice from the Rhone glacier . The landscape was reshaped by the ice and a ground moraine layer up to 10 meters thick was deposited in the entire area . The landscape structures, long ridges, which run from south-southwest to north-northeast, indicate the direction of flow of the glacier ice.


Despite its altitude, the Gros de Vaud has a mild and relatively dry climate. Average temperatures around 0 ° C in January and around 18 ° C in July. Due to the lee position behind the High Jura, which is particularly noticeable in rain-bringing west and north-west locations, the average annual rainfall for Swiss conditions is around 900 to 1000 mm.

Economy and population

The Gros de Vaud is predominantly agricultural. Thanks to the fertile soils ( Parabraunerden ), agriculture predominates (grain and fodder cultivation), which earned the region the name “Granary of Vaud”. The livestock (especially cattle) has an important role. The meadow is partly covered with fruit trees.

The region is not very industrialized. The industry is concentrated in Echallens and the area near Cossonay , with building materials and food processing companies predominant. Gravel pits are being exploited in various places. The southern Gros de Vaud is increasingly drawn into the pull of the canton capital, Lausanne , whose industrial zones extend to the edge of the high plateau. The communities close to the city therefore experienced a marked increase in population over the past few decades. In addition to the centers of Echallens (4750 inhabitants) and Cossonay-Penthalaz (together 5100 inhabitants) there are numerous small farming villages, most of which have fewer than 800 inhabitants. In the rural region with good transport links to Lausanne and relatively low land prices, new residential areas are increasingly emerging. Many employed people commute to work in the Lausanne agglomeration.


The Gros de Vaud is well developed in terms of traffic. It is crossed by the main roads that lead from Lausanne to La Sarraz , Orbe and Yverdon-les-Bains. The A1 motorway has connected the centers of Lausanne and Yverdon-les-Bains since the early 1980s . Today it is the most important transit axis between French-speaking Switzerland and German-speaking Switzerland.

In terms of public transport, the Lausanne-Cossonay-Yverdon railway line and the Chemin de fer Lausanne-Echallens-Bercher (LEB) narrow-gauge railway should be mentioned. Various PostBus routes ensure fine distribution in public transport .

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