The Spectacular Palais de Rumine in Lausanne

Lausanne’s Palais de Rumine is a lovely Florentine-style building you’ll find in Place de la Riponne. It is a staircase away from the Lausanne Cathedral. Several museums are housed in this beautiful building. It’s also used as a library and exhibit space. The building is a property of and maintained by the municipality of Lausanne.

Image of Palais de Rumine, Lausanne by TouringSwitzerland.com

History of Palais de Rumine

Image of Palais de Rumine by TouringSwitzerland.com

Palais de Rumine Lausanne is a regal building with a Florentine style. It’s thanks to Gabriel de Rumine (1841-1871), an aristocrat of Russian origin, that this building exists. Both of his parents, Catherine and Basile, come from illustrious Russian royal families.

The Rumine family left Russia for Italy, Germany, and eventually Lausanne. Gabriel himself is an engineer-constructor, traveler, photographer, and patron. As a gift for their generosity, the city of Lausanne gave Catherine and Gabriel de Rumine the Vaudoise honor.

I give and bequeath to the city of Lausanne, canton of Vaud, Switzerland, the sum of Fr. 1,500,000, which I would ask to place in good conditions so that this sum, being doubled, may be used for the construction of a building which will be judged, fifteen years after my death, of public utility, by a commission of ten members

The Will of Gabriel de Rumine

In the late 18th century, the city of Lausanne received more than a million Swiss Francs in the form of a gift from Gabriel de Rumine.  As a result, they built what is now called Palais de Rumine. The building is huge and has many museums so it is well worth exploring especially on rainy days

The Palais de Rumine was built at the end of the 19th century. It is housed in a huge palace-like building with beautiful, elegant interiors at the Place de la Riponne. Originally designed by Gaspard André, it belongs to the Swiss Heritage List.

Until 1980, the Palais de Rumine was one of the buildings of the University of Lausanne.

Architecture of Palais de Rumine

Image of Palais de Rumine by TouringSwitzerland.com

Located in Lausanne, the Palais de Rumine is inspired by the Florentine Renaissance. Florentine Renaissance is a word that refers to the architectural splendor of buildings in the Renaissance style that originated in Florence in the early 15th century. You could transport this building into the middle of Florence and it would fit in. 

Though a lot of architects submitted plans, it was Gaspard André’s that won. Evoking Italy emphasizes the Latinity of French-speaking Switzerland against German-speaking Switzerland. Seeing as the spaces were either an atrium or a monumental staircase, his plan was flexible, clear, and relatively affordable.

Palais de Rumine was inspired by its encyclopedic ambitions. The site had learned societies, a library, a classroom, a technical faculty, and five popular museums. By 1906, the building was enriched with loggias, monumental columns, bell towers, and pergolas.

A prominent middle part joins two side wings. In addition to other important parts, it has a really elaborate section with the main staircase that creates a cool optical illusion. There are also overlapping ramps, many galleries, and an atrium with a small pond.

Palais de Rumine Lausanne is one of those architectural beauties you can’t miss. This is a fine 19th-century palace designed around the Renaissance Florentine style. It’s right in the center of town, so you can’t miss it.

Museums at Palais de Rumine

In a way, the Palais de Rumine is a cluster of museums. Museums at the Palais de Rumine include:

  • Cantonal Museum of Zoology – Among its exhibits are the tiger, moose, great white shark, and birds. In its approximately 1,200 square meters of space, you can see a variety of animals in all shapes and sizes.
  • Cantonal Museum of Geology – Founded in 1818, the museum holds fossils such as that of the mammoth. Here you’ll learn about the Swiss Alps, the Swiss landscape, and other fun facts. 
  • Cantonal Museum of Money – Coins and medals were integrated in 2019 and include 1,400 coins and medals, among others.
  • Cantonal Museum of Archaeology and History – The museum contains finds from archaeological excavations in the canton of Vaud. On the other hand, there are some pieces that were donated, bequeathed, or purchased. The museum’s history collection includes heritage objects that belong to the canton.

While Palais de Rumine also used to hold the MCBA or Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts, this museum has since relocated in October 2019 to the new Plateforme 10 Facility. Nowadays, it is also used as a library.

If you would like to learn more about Plateforme 10, you can read Plateforme 10: Lausanne’s New Art District.

Also, it is a place where conferences and meetings are held. It is an important part of the city. 

How to Get to Palais de Rumine

By BusRiponne M. Béjart or Rue Neuve
By MetroRiponne M. Béjart
AddressPl. de la Riponne 6, 1005 Lausanne

Final Thoughts: Palais de Rumine

Image of the Replica of the Plateosaurus Dinosaur found in Frick, Switzerland by TouringSwitzerland.com

Despite the fact that the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts isn’t inside Palais de Rumine, it’s still great. The place is beautiful and it’s got a wide floor plan. There are a lot of treasures to find here – and it’s all thanks to its generous benefactors and all the people who made it all happen. On every floor, you can learn, look, and discover something new.

Palais de Rumine is easy to get to and definitely worth stopping by. It’s open Tuesdays through Sundays, except on January 1, January 2, and December 25. Every year, they open on two Mondays – Easter Monday and Pentecost Monday.

Resources

  • Le Palais de Rumine. Le Conteur Vaudois Paraissant Tous Les Samedis, 3 Novembre 1906.
  • Chanson, Francois. Le Palais de Rumine à Lausanne: un édifice moderne. Revue suisse d’art et d’archéologie, Band 40, 1983. Verlag Karl Schwegler AG Zurich.

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