DuPeyrou Palace in Neuchâtel
30 June 2021
The DuPeyrou Palace (L’Hôtel DuPeyrou) in Neuchâtel dates back to 1771. It bears the name of its first owner Pierre-Alexandre DuPeyrou (1729-1794). He was a friend of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), who lived in the Neuchâtel area for some time in 1762.
After the author’s death, he published the first complete edition of his works in Geneva in 1788. In 1790, he published the second part of the “Confessions” in Neuchâtel.
He also left numerous manuscripts of Rousseau to the municipal library (today Espace Rousseau Neuchâtel).
Pierre-Alexandre DuPeyrou was born in the Dutch colony Surinam, where his father, Pierre DuPeyrou (1702-1742), a Huguenot from France, was a councillor at the Court of Justice.
When his father died, his mother remarried de Neuchâtelois Philippe de Chambrier (1701-1756). He was in the service of the colonial army of the Seven United Provinces.
In 1748, the family moved to Neuchâtel, a Prussian principality from 1707 (until 1857).
The building stood in the midst of vineyards. The gardens extended to the lake. After the Juragewässerkorrektion (1868-1891), the lake sank several metres, and the dry area became a new residential part of the city.
The building was sold in 1799 to Frédéric de Pourtalès (1779-1861), another typical cosmopolitan Swiss. In the French/Napoleonic era (1798-1813), the palace was occupied from 1806-1813 by Marshal Louis-Alexandre Berthier (1753-1815).
When Frederick William III (1770-1840), King of Prussia, became Prince of Neuchâtel again in 1813 (until 1857), he sold the building to the new canton of the Swiss Confederation.
The cantonal government sold it in 1816 to Denis de Rougemont (1759-1839). The city of Neuchâtel finally became the owner in 1858.
(Source and further information: www.dupeyrou.ch).