Capital of a new canton
Palais de Justice de Montbenon (Montbenon Law Courts)
The Palais de Justice (Law Courts) in Montbenon dominates the immense esplanade of the same name, a flower-filled park that is among the most magnificent in Lausanne, sitting on the top of the hill and offering an unbeatable view of the lake and the Alps.
This outstanding location matches the importance of the monument, which was built between 1881 and 1886 by the architect Benjamin Recordon to house the Federal Tribunal, the highest judicial authority in Switzerland.
The architecture also reflects the solemnity of its function. With ornamental style inspired by the French Renaissance, a massive central portion joins two wings completed with pavilions. Imposing columns add to the grandiose tone found within, particularly in the great hall.
The façade is crowned with allegorical sculptures representing Strength, Helvetia and the Law. In the years following its construction, a full series of monuments celebrating the emblems of Vaud and Swiss patriotism were installed in the park: steles, busts, statues and various chapels also honour people like Alexandre Vinet and William Tell. The palace now houses the District Tribunal, as the Federal Tribunal was moved to the Mon-Repos park in the 1920s.