Capital of a new canton
The Hermitage country estate
The Hermitage is located in the heart of a large – now public – wooded park that projects out over the city and offers a remarkable view of the Cathedral and lake. The banker Charles Bugnion purchased the land in 1841 and had Louis Wenger rebuild the mansion from 1852 to 1855.
The Hermitage is the last country house to be built in Lausanne with the idealist goal of returning to nature, a way of thinking generated within the Lausanne oligarchy and aristocracy in 1761 by the publication of Julie and La Nouvelle Héloïse.
On its sides, the house has two floors of galleries, sorts of porches that have been extended into loggias, allowing for a maximum opening to the outside. Added to the main portion of the house and finished off with a fairly flat roof, these galleries give the house its characteristically low and long look. Several outbuildings are also contemporary to the villa, including a farm, a pigeon house shaped like a medieval tower and an orangery which was added to it.
The descendents of Charles Bugnion offered the house and a portion of its park to the City of Lausanne in 1976. Since 1984, the villa has housed the Fondation de l’Hermitage, which offers two or three international exhibitions a year, mainly dedicated to 19th and 20th century fine art.