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Marlowe's visit to Switzerland, June 2003

Abbeys in Switzerland: Romainmôtier



Newly graduated from high school, soon to be off to Uni, Marlowe visits the Old Dad in Switzerland.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The tiny village of Romainmôtier (400 inhabitants) lies in a hole, at 674m, a deep dip in the valley of the little river Nozon which flows down out of the Swiss Jura at Vaulion, near the Col du Mollendruz and the Vallée du Joux, as it continues past La Sarraz to reach Lac de Neuchâtel at Yverdon. The nearest town, Juriens, a kilometre to the west, is 120m higher up the hill (the village of Envy [!] is just a few hundred meters up the hill but too small to call a town).

The Hôtel Au Lieutenant Baillival, a favorite with passing hikers.

An abbey was established on this spot, traditionally and probably correctly, in 515, and was turned over to the authority of the new reform-minded abbey of Cluny in 928, one of the first of what came to be a Cluniac franchise or monastery-chain loosely within the Benedictine order. This is the center of the village (left), just outside the abbey precincts gatehouse (right), with its 14th century tower clock, in June 2003.

The present church was begun at the beginning of the 11th century, on the foundations of buildings from the 7th and 8th centuries.

The gatehouse to the abbey precinct (left), Marlowe looking for the tea room (right)

The front of the church, and archaeologically the oldest part.

The back side of the church, looking at the gatehouse from the inside.

Marlowe's visit to Switzerland, June 2003

Introductory and synoptic

Castles in Switzerland: La Sarraz

Abbeys in Switzerland: Romainmôtier

Small historic cities in Switzerland: Fribourg


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 21 September 2003, revised 8 March 2008, 30 October 2015.


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