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History

HISTORY OF THE SITE

In 1841, the banker Charles-Juste Bugnion bought the land called The Hermitage, on a hill overlooking Lausanne. The superb view over the lake and the cathedral had already been immortalized by Camille Corot during his stay in 1825.

Ch.-J. Bugnion asked architect Louis Wenger to design a residence with him and from 1842 to 1850 he had the superb family mansion built and the magnificent park landscaped with rare species of trees. The villa, with part of the park, was given to the City of Lausanne by the descendants in 1976. The mansion has been carefully restored to its original splendour.

BIRTH OF THE FOUNDATION

A private foundation was born at the same time. Its twofold mission is:

  • to keep a superb 19th-century Lausanne residence alive and open to the public.
  • to develop a high-quality museum of fine arts.


This second aim was realized in 1984. Since then, two or three exhibitions attracting visitors from all over the world are organized each year.

The Fondation de l’Hermitage also has its own collection, although it is not on permanent display.

THE PARK

Jeanne-Marie Bugnion, wife of the first owner Charles-Juste Bugnion, designed the park and chose which species were to be planted, all rare and new for that time. Since then, a vast esplanade surrounded by a rich variety of trees faces the residence offering breath-taking views of the Cathedral of Lausanne and Lake Geneva.

THE RESTAURANT

Construction of the building which is today the museum’s restaurant was entrusted to architect Louis Joël in 1857. The English-style red-brick building was first conceived as a dovecot, backing on to an orangery. It was partly meant to screen off the farm buildings from the main house and also to liven up the park, as was fashionable in those days, with an unusual architectural element.

THE FARMHOUSE

The Hermitage Farmhouse has recently been restored and various reception areas are now available for the many activities organized by the Fondation de l’Hermitage around its exhibitions.
Among these, there is an area for pedagogical activities which has been specifically designed for children, as well as an auditorium perfectly suited for organizing lectures, seminars and concerts with excellent acoustics and visibility.