Situated close to the lake between Lausanne and Geneva, Château de Prangins is surrounded by a five-hectare estate comprising a park, a meadow-cum-orchard, and the country’s largest historical kitchen garden. Home to the Swiss National Museum in French-speaking Switzerland, it is a popular day-trip destination and exhibition venue that combines culture with nature. The largest 18th-century castle open to the public in Switzerland.
Although Château de Prangins is the largest 18th-century building open to the public in Switzerland, the site has been inhabited for much longer. The medieval fortress, which is burnt down during the Bernese invasion in 1536, is replaced by a stately home. The present-day château, which has welcomed figures as distinguished as Voltaire and Joseph Bonaparte, owes its handsome appearance to the banker Louis Guiguer, who has it built in the 1730s and so becomes baron of Prangins. The timeless elegance of the French classical style is a living monument to the Age of Enlightenment.
... AND NOW
After numerous changes of ownership, the château is acquired by the Cantons of Vaud and Geneva, who hand it over to the Swiss Confederation in 1975. Château de Prangins opens its doors as the home of the Swiss National Museum in French-speaking Switzerland in 1998. The three floors and the cellars of the historic building – a monument of national importance – host permanent and temporary exhibitions on Swiss history, identity and culture. Housed in the reception rooms of Louis-François Guiguer, Baron of Prangins “Noblesse Oblige! Life at a Château in the 18th Century”, the latest addition to the list of permanent exhibitions, presents its subject in an attractive and novel way.
At Prangins, visitors can explore the Swiss National Museum both indoors and out. No visit would be complete without taking the “Discovering the Enlightenment” walk and stopping off at the kitchen garden visitor centre to view the “Discovering the Garden” exhibition. Also created by Baron Louis Guiguer between 1723 and 1729 to feed the builders working on the château, the historical kitchen garden, consisting entirely of local varieties dating from the 18th century, is the largest in Switzerland. Like the kitchen garden visitor centre and “Discovering the Enlightenment” walk, the grounds can be accessed free of charge during museum opening hours and are an integral part of the permanent exhibitions.
Explore the permanent and temporary exhibitions at Château de Prangins