Old Bishop’s Palace of Lausanne
The Old Bishop’s Palace of Lausanne (Ancien Evêché de Lausanne in french) is a castle built on the edge of the hill of the City in Lausanne from the 11th to the 15th century. It was profoundly modified in the 18th century, with the extension of the cathedral’s terrace, which led to the destruction of one of its towers. Today, only the southwestern part remains, clearly visible from the esplanade of the cathedral or from below from rue Pierre-Viret.
A large paid parking is available on the esplanade of Saint-Maire castle.
The Saint-Maire castle
Old Bishop’s Palace of Lausanne is the main residence of the Bishops of Lausanne until 1431 when they took possession of the new Saint-Maire castle named after the first Bishop of Lausanne and located above the cathedral. It is since this date that the Old Bishop’s Palace takes its present name.
The Duke of Burgundy at the Old Bishop’s Palace
From 1474 to 1477 the Burgundy wars broke out, which had a major impact on the present-day French-speaking Switzerland. At that time, the bishop owned, under the name of “Episcopal Principality” of Lausanne, the city of Lausanne, Lavaux, and isolated territories in Bulle, La Roche, Riaz, Lucens and Avenches. The rest of the Vaud region corresponding to the current canton of Vaud plus part of the canton of Fribourg is under the domination of Savoy. In 1476, after his defeat at Grandson, the Duke of Burgundy stopped in Lausanne to rebuild his army. It is received in a room of the Old Bishop’s Palace where a plaque recalls this moment.
The end of the bishopric
The bishopric disappeared in 1536 with the flight to Evian, in the Duchy of Savoy, of the leaders of the Catholic Church following the invasion of the Vaud region by Bern and the imposition of the Protestant reform. The year 1924 marks the birth of the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, which is now well known to Catholics in French-speaking Switzerland. It is no longer a bishopric because this word refers to a territory while the word diocese refers to a population.
The Old Bishop’s Palace since the Middle Ages
After 1536, the Old Bishop’s Palace of Lausanne became a prison, a courtroom and a school. Since 1916, it has housed the Historical Museum of Lausanne, which currently has, as the museum’s highlight, a magnificent model of Lausanne in the Middle Ages.
Attractions around the Old Bishop’s Palace
The Old Bishop’s Palace of Lausanne is close to a large number of historical monuments, such as the Cathedral, the Saint-Maire castle, and museums such as the MUDAC next door or the Palais de Rumine. After visiting the Old Bishop’s Palace and the Historical Museum of Lausanne, the Torpille team recommends climbing into Lausanne Cathedral to enjoy a beautiful view of the Lake Geneva basin.
Historical Monuments in French-speaking Switzerland
Religious buildings in French-speaking Switzerland