We discovered an excellent place to visit with family last weekend when we were invited to visit the Abbatiale de Payerne (Abbey of Payerne).
We arrived on Saturday morning and easily found a place to park in the pretty town of Payerne. From there it was a short walk to the abbey. Our first impressions were that it’s a really impressive place, beautifully preserved and a real focal point for the town.
We were greeted warmly in the reception/gift shop and given a map of the site along with our audio guides which are available in different languages. Alba and Jude were really excited to have their own guides and were happy to be responsible for the map.
The visit starts with a beautifully made film which explains about the history of the abbey and its significance in the town up to recent times. We all enjoyed this part and were excited to begin the visit. You will discover that the place was previously used as a gymnasium and a prison!
We began outside where there is a bronze model of the abbey and its surroundings which really gives you an idea of the scale of the site, before heading inside.
The main building is an impressive space and the audio guide is a brilliant way to make sure you don’t miss any details or information with options to expand on the details if you choose. The children loved the installations in the Chapelle Saint-Michel and we spent a long while looking at the custom built organ before we got to my favourite part which was where we learned about the restoration of the building, and could discover the murales, and the Chapelle de Grailly which I found fascinating.
I don’t think we have ever all been so engrossed in an audio guide before and we were all drifting around, learning as we went, which made the whole visit feel very peaceful and calm, which was just what we needed after 7 weeks of school holidays.
The other thing to mention about the guide is that it is really well put together and includes clever videos to watch at various points along the tour presented in unusual ways (you will see what I mean when you reach the Dormitorium).
We were fortunate enough to be there in time to see part of a musical concert from a very talented violinist accompanied by the organ. I could have sat there for much longer but the children were itching to discover the next thing and were soon pulling on my arm to move on.
We were impressed that almost all of the site apart from the Chappell Saint-Michel was accessible for Elio which is unusual for such an historic building. There are plenty of ramps and lifts to help those who need them which made getting around much easier. One of these ramps took us outside to a lovely courtyard before exploring the other buildings which make up the abbey, before we stopped back in at the gift shop where we bought a bottle of wine. Its a very nice gift shop with carefully curated items and local products which we really liked.
We all really enjoyed our visit to the abbey and came away with a real sense of the pride invested in the building and the care taken over its restoration and maintenance. It’s not often that we can take the children to a historical site (or indeed any site!) and they don’t start to get bored after 30minutes but we were exploring the abbey for 2.5hours without a single complaint!! A real testament to how much they enjoyed it!
Parking : Yes
Toilets : Yes
Accessibility : accessible to visitors with reduced mobility and to pushchairs (except the Chapelle Saint-Michel )
Site de l’Abbatiale de Payerne Place du Marché 3 Case postale 23 CH-1530 Payerne
+41 (0)26 662 67 04
March to June and September to October : Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., as well as bank holidays
July and August : Monday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
November to February : Tuesday to Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Adult: CHF 15.00 Concessions (students, apprentices, recipients of old-age, survivors’, disability and unemployment benefits, military personnel in uniform): CHF 13.00 Child (aged 6-16): CHF 9.00 Child (under the age of 6): free Family (2 adults + 1 or 2 children or 1 adult + 3 children): CHF 36.00 Annual pass: CHF 30.00 Raiffeisen cards, Swiss Museums Passport, ICOM, AMS: free