11th-century abbey church


The 11th-century abbey church of Payerne is one of the most important Romanesque churches in Switzerland, with its harmonious spaces, delicate stonework and fine murals. Together with the chapterhouse, it evokes the former splendour of the Cluniac priory. Close by is the intriguing town museum.

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The famous Payerne Abbey combines Roman art from the 11th century with gothic art from the 15th century.The church itself was built in several stages on the site of the old Villa Paterniaca, dating back to the 4th century: the nave was built in the first half of the 11th century, and the chevet followed soon after, in the second half of the same century. The Roman villa, dating back to the 4th century, was used in the 6th century by Bishop Marius. A second building was then constructed in the 10th century and the St. Michel tower was placed in front of the church, marking the beginning of the complete reconstruction of the abbey, leading to the creation of the monument as it is today.
The Abbey Church of Payerne, with its decorated chapiters and early frescoes, is considered to be one of the finest existing examples of Romanesque art. Its grand proportions and the special luminous stones used in the building work never fail to amaze visitors.



Tue–Sat 10am–12pm & 2–6pm (Oct–April closes at 5pm)

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