Bonmont Abbey

Daughter monasteries


Bonmont is a former Cistercian abbey in the town of Chéserex, in the district of Nyon in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland. The hamlet is located at 597 m above sea level. M., at the southeast foot of La Dole, 7 km west-northwest of Nyon ( straight line ). Today, the former abbey church and the castle in the midst of a golf course.


The exact founding date of the monastery Bonmont is unknown, it can be limited to the period 1110-1120. The first mention dates to the year 1123 under the name de bono monte. The community of monks first lived according to the rules of the Benedictines and received by the Lords of Divonne and Gingins rich donations. With the visit of Bernard of Clairvaux in 1131, the monastery took over the rules of the Cistercian order, and thus was the first Cistercian abbey in Switzerland. In the second half of the 12th century, the abbey church was built. In the Middle Ages, the Abbey Bonmont flourished in the 13th century and was under the protection of the House of Savoy to one of the richest monasteries in the Lake Geneva area with large land between the lake and the Jura foothills and between Coppet and Aubonne.

With the conquest of Vaud by Bern in 1536, the monastery was secularized. As a result, the abbey buildings were partly demolished and partly they were converted to agricultural buildings. The abbey church was henceforth profane purposes, namely as wine storage, grain storage, dairy and bakery. In the Bernese period 1536-1798 a Gubernator was appointed to manage the secularized monastery estates, the court possessed rights, but was under the jurisdiction of the High bailiff of Nyon. 1711 Bonmont was separated from the Bailiwick of Nyon and elevated to its own bailiwick, which, however, was the smallest of the 16 welsch Bernese bailiwicks. For Bailiwick Bonmont belonged La Rippe, Chéserex and Gingins and an exclave forming Bogis -Bossey and Chavannes -de- Bogis. After the collapse of the ancien régime, the communities of the Bailiwick Bonmont 1798 came during the Helvetic Republic to the district of Nyon in the canton of Geneva, who came up in 1803 with the enactment of the Act of Mediation in the canton of Vaud.

Bonmont 1798 was transferred to the state-owned, privatized in 1802. The abbey church owes its existence probably the profane use from the 16th to the 20th century. This saved the Church from decay or demolition. Since 1942, the former abbey church is a listed building. It came in 1982 in the possession of the Canton and was subsequently restored until 1995.


From the former Abbey of Notre -Dame de Bonmont only the Abbey Church of Sainte -Marie is received, the convent buildings no longer exist. The church initially simply held in accordance with the regulations of the Cistercians was probably begun around 1131. The completion of their construction took place shortly before 1200. 's Architecture shows a transition from Romanesque to Gothic styles. From the 14th century it was moved away from the austerity of the Cistercian rules and started the decoration of the church to symbolize the former prosperity of the abbey to the outside world. The roof turret was replaced in 1488 by the massive central tower. Further repairs were completed during the profane use.

At the site of the former monastery hospital south of the church, the Bonmont castle was erected in 1738, which served as the seat of the bailiff of Bonmont and today is privately owned.