Prangins Castle

Prangins, Switzerland

Prangins Castle is home to one part of the Swiss National Museum. At Prangins, the displays focus mainly on daily life in the castle and the region. There are also displays relating to Swiss history, as well as temporary exhibitions and cultural events. There is a café, serving drinks, snacks and lunch. The terrace has views of Lake Geneva and the Alps.

Prangins Castle has been a seat of power for centuries. The first record of the domain is from 1096. The current building dates from 1732, and has been extensively restored and furnished in the original style. The gardens are particularly unusual as they include an extensive sunken kitchen garden which has been replanted to match its original 18th century organisation.

An earlier building on the site was destroyed in 1293 by the Dukes of Savoy. It was rebuilt and changed hands repeatedly over the coming centuries. Nicholas de Diesbach enlarged the property in 1613. His family ceded the property to Emilie de Nassau in 1627. The demesne was sold in 1656.

It was sold again in 1719, this time to Jean Rieu, a Genevan citizen and a Paris banker. Four years later, in 1723, he passed it on to another Paris banker, Louis Guiguer who built the palace you see today. The building on the site was probably close to a ruin.

The castle was inherited by Guiger's nephew, Jean-George. He gave Voltaire, who was then exiled from France, the use of the property. In 1755 Jean-George Guiguer came to live at Prangins. He commissioned the temple and improved the gardens. After his death, Prangins passed to his son, Louis-François Guiguer de Prangins. Starting in 1771, Louis-François kept a journal detailing the daily life of the region. Over the following 15 years, he filled 7 volumes. His writings form a key part of the current museum offering.

His son and heir, Charles-Jules, became a general in the Swiss army. In 1814, he sold the castle to Joseph Bonaparte, the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. From 1873 to 1920, the castle was used as a school by the Frères Moraves, a Protestant monastic order.



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Founded: 1732
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

sevgi iriboy (7 months ago)
I highly recommend here if you are looking for a half day activity with the family, espcially with small kids. You can both enjoy the musee and the tremendously beautiful view of the Lac and Mont Blanc. Moreover, you can have brunch or just coffee at the restaurant of the Chateau. The only things is that you can enjoy the cafe/reataurant during the season which is generally between March and November. Other than that if you are well dressed kids can run around in the garden and yard of the chateau, you walk around Nyon later etc.
Angelica C. Sommer (14 months ago)
Interesting exhibitions in a magnificent 18th century castle. The place is easy to find, the staff is warm and helpful. A memorable tour. Would definitely go back once the garden is in bloom.
Angela Soltan (17 months ago)
Both the permanent (the castle life) and the temporary (it was about gaming technology) exhibitions were delightful. The staff was very friendly and helpful. They also have a nice restaurant and weekend brunches I hope to try in the future.
Oleg Pavliv (2 years ago)
I visited the castle many times about 15 years ago. It was a nice museum with a lot of things to see: toys, medical equipment, sport, a loom, etc. Now they removed half of things from the ground floor and almost everything from the first and the second floors. There are two exhibitions in castle, I hope they will put back some old exhibits. But today I was totally disappointed by my visit.
Nuala Murphy (2 years ago)
This was a great family activity. The castle is beautiful. Various different exhibitions on different floors. We particularly enjoyed the kids guided “what is Switzerland ? tour. There is also a most beautiful restaurant at the chateau that had a fantastic menu. And the grounds are simply incredible.
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