L'Abbatiale de Payerne. Photo/Foto: TES.

Payerne Abbey

An eminent Roman citizen of Aventicum (today’s Avenches), Publius Graccius Paternus, built a villa on his estate, located on the future site of Payerne.

The villa was known as Villa Paternica, and a Latin inscription mentions Paternus, probably the origin of the name of the city.

Bishop Marius of Avenches owned the villa, and he consecrated a chapel and monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the sixth century on this location. Payerne later became the city of the coronations of the Burgundian kings (888-1032).

Around 960, the monastery was under the rule of the monastery of Cluny, the ally of the Burgundian kings.

The construction of the present abbey church started around 1000 and the capitals also date from this period. The beautiful frescoes of the narthex were painted in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries.

The murals in the Chapelle de Grailly date from the 15th century and the murals in the Chapel of the Resurrection Chapel (Chapelle de la Résurrection) date from the 13th century.

The abbey and the temple next to it are still in good condition and the abbey houses the abbey museum. (Source and further information: l’Association pour la restauration de l’abbatiale).