Lausanne Cathedral

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Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne, Switzerland
Lausanne-cathe7.JPG
The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Lausanne
Basic information
Location Lausanne, Switzerland
Geographic coordinates 46°31′21″N 6°38′06″E / 46.522594°N 6.635054°E / 46.522594; 6.635054Coordinates: 46°31′21″N 6°38′06″E / 46.522594°N 6.635054°E / 46.522594; 6.635054
Affiliation Reformed Church
District Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Vaud
Year consecrated 1275
Website http://www.cathedrale-lausanne.ch
Architectural description
Architect(s) Jean Cotereel
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Gothic
Groundbreaking 1170
Completed 1235
Capacity 70,000
Length 99.75 m
Height (max) 79.60 m

The Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne is a church situated in the city of Lausanne, in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland. It belongs to the Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Vaud.

History[edit]

Construction of the Cathedral began as early as 1170 by an original unknown master mason. Twenty years later another master mason restarted construction until 1215. Finally a third engineer, Jean Cotereel, completed the majority of the existing cathedral including a porch, and two towers, one of which is the current day belfry. The other tower was never completed. The cathedral was consecrated in 1275 by Pope Gregory X, Rudolph of Hasbourg, and the bishop of Lausanne at the time, Guillaume of Champvent.[1] The medieval architect Villard de Honnecourt drew the rose window of the south transept in his sketchbook in 1270. The Protestant Reformation, a powerful religious movement which swept down from Zurich, significantly affected the Cathedral. In 1536 a new liturgical area was added to the nave and the colorful decorations inside the Cathedral were covered over. Other major restorations occurred later in the 18th and 19th century which were directed by the great French architect, Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc.[2] During the 20th century major restorations occurred to restore the painted interior decorations as well as to restore a painted portal on the South side of the Cathedral. New organs were installed in 2003.

Great Organ[edit]

The great pipe organ of the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne was inaugurated in December 2003. It is a unique instrument in the world.[3] It took ten years to design it and it is composed of 7000 pipes, two consoles, five claviers, and one pedalier. It is the first organ in the world to be designed by a designer. The first organ to contain all four of the principal organ styles (classical, French symphony, baroque, German romantique). It is also the first organ manufactured by an American company (Fisk) for a European Cathedral. It cost a total of 6 million Swiss francs, took 150,000 man-hours to build and weighs 40 tons.[4] It was preceded by a Kuhn Organ from 1955 which has since been relocated to the Polish Baltic Philharmonic in Gdańsk, Poland. The organist is Jean-Christophe Geiser[5]

I Positif de dos C–
Quintadehn 16′
Prinzipal 8′
Gedackt 8′
Oktave 4′
Rohrflöte 4′
Grosse Tierce 31/5
Nasard 22/3
Doublette 2′
Quarte de Nasard 2′
Tierce 13/5
Larigot 11/3
Piccolo 1′
Plein-jeu V
Scharff IV
Dulcian 16′
Cromorne 8′


II Grand Orgue C–
Principal 32′
Montre 16′
Bourdon 16′
Montre 8′
Gambe 8′
Flûte harmonique 8′
Prestant 4′
Octave 4′
Quinte 22/3
Doublette 2′
Terz 13/5
Fourniture VII
Cymbale V
Mixtur VI-IX
Bombarde 16′
Trompette 8′
Clairon 4′
Trommet 16′
Trommet 8′
III Positif Expressif C–
Salicional 8′
Unda maris 8′ (C0)
Flûte harmonique 8′
Bourdon 8′
Voix éolienne 8′ (C0)
Fugara 4′
Zartflöte 4′
Violine 2′
Sesquialtera II
Harmonica aetheria V
Cor anglais 16′
Basson 8′
Clairon 4′


IV Récit expressif C–
Bourdon 16′
Diapason 8′
Viole de gambe 8′
Voix céleste 8′
Flûte traversière 8′
Bourdon 8′
Prestant 4′
Flûte octaviante 4′
Quinte 22/3
Octavin 2′
Tierce 13/5
Plein jeu IV
Bombarde 16′
Trompette harmonique 8′
Clairon harmonique 4′
Basson-Hautbois 8′
Clarinette 8′
Voix humaine 8′
V Bombardes C–
Montre 8′
Flûte creuse 8′
Flûte ouverte 4′
Grand Cornet V
Trompette 8′
Clairon 4′
Trompette en chamade 8′
Clairon en chamade 4′


Fernwerk C–Clavier flottant.
Bourdon 16′
Principal 8′
Bourdon 8′
Flûte 8′
Flûte d′amour 8′
Salicional 8′
Voix céleste 8′
Prestant 4′
Flûte traversière 4′
Trompette harmonique 8′
Voix humaine 8′
Pedal C–
Principal 32′
Bourdon 32′
Grosse Quinte 211/3
Contrebasse 16′
Montre 16′
Principal 16′
Violonbasse 16′
Bourdon 16′
Basse Quinte 102/3
Octave 8′
Violoncelle 8′
Flûte 8′
Bourdon 8′
Quinte 51/3
Octave 4′
Flûte 4′
Mixture IV
Contre-Bombarde 32′
Bombarde classique 16′
Bombarde 16′
Trompette 8′
Clairon 4′
Posaune 16′
Trommet 16′
Trommet 8′

Guided tours of the great organ are available in English, French and German by request.[6]

The Bells[edit]

The Cathedral has a total of seven bells that are suspended on two floors of the belfry.[7] The two biggest bells are located on the lower level while all the other bells are on the top level. The oldest bell dates back to 1493 while the most recent bells date back 1898.

# Name Year Diameter Note
1 Marie-Madeleine/le bourdon 1583 208 cm A flat
2 Clémence 1518 174 cm Example
3 Lombarde 1493 138 cm E
4 Centenaire 1 1898 111 cm E flat
5 1666 1666 102 cm A flat
6 Centenaire 2 1898 82 cm B flat
7 Couvre-feu 1400-1500 82 cm Example

The bells are still in use today to mark the hours.

Lookout[edit]

Since 1405 until the present day without interruption, the city of Lausanne has maintained a lookout in the Cathedral bell tower.[8] The lookout announces the time by yelling the hour from 10 pm to 2 am 365 days a year. The lookout cries the hour to each cardinal direction "« C'est le guet, il a sonné [dix] »". The original purpose of the lookout was to provide a warning in case of fire though it has now become a traditional function. Since 2002, the official lookout is Renato Häusler.

Notes and references[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]