Portrait Moudon and region
History and Heritage
From the time of the Romans, many people settled around the crossroads of the major European routes at the convergence of the Broye and Mérine rivers. Early in the Middle Ages, the inhabitants took refuge on the hill situated between the two rivers, which was fortified around 1130 by the Count of Geneva, and perhaps later by the Zaehringens around 1190.
This first town was conquered in 1207 by Count Thomas of Savoy, while remaining under the sovereignty of the Bishop of Lausanne. It became the starting point for Savoy expansion into Vaud, and developed rapidly during the thirteenth century. After Pierre II of Savoy established Moudon as the seat of the bailiwick of Vaud around 1260, the town became an administrative and judiciary hub, a regular gathering place for the states of Vaud. The model of its duty exemptions was imitated by many other Vaud towns.
In 1536, Moudon fell under Bernese domination and became Protestant, as did the whole country of Vaud. The town remained the head of a smaller district, with the bailiff residing in Lucens. During the two and a half peaceful centuries which followed, the communal administration was strengthened and the bourgeoisie flourished. At the time of the French Revolution, Moudon became the district headquarters and adapted to the new and faster methods of travel: the rail line of the Broye in 1876, the tramway and the Jorat bus route in 1902, and the Bern Road bus route in 1964.
Particularly rich in historical buildings, the whole city still reflects these past events. What is now the upper section of the Rue du Château was at the heart of the early town. With its arcaded houses and the last surviving tower of the old seigniorial fortress, it resembles the cities of Bern and Fribourg. The first extension to the south, the Rue du Bourg, sits atop the ridge of a long rocky spur. The archetypal medieval appearance of the Ville-Haute, its high facades a prolongation of the cliffs, has been classed as a site of national interest.
The lower town, Ville-Basse, developed during the first decades of the reign of the house of Savoy, around the focal points of two important travellers’ hospitals, St John of Jerusalem and St Bernard, on either side of the Saint Eloi bridge. The Ville-Basse was fortified around 1280 at the same time as the construction of St Etienne, the most important gothic church in the canton after the Lausanne cathedral. There also remain many buildings of secular importance in the quarter, dating from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century.
Au confluant de la Broye et de la Mérine, Moudon jouit d'une très jolie situation en plein cœur de la campagne vaudoise, offrant de nombreuses possibilités de randonnée à mi-chemin entre le plateau du Jorat et la vallée de la Broye. De pittoresques hameaux ponctuent un paysage essentiellement agricole, offrant en de nombreux points une vue panoramique sur les Alpes. De nombreux cours d’eau y ont façonné la roche au fil du temps, creusant des marmites de géants et des vallons escarpés, bordés de falaises de molasse.
Ville de près de 6000 habitants, Moudon connaît aujourd’hui un important développement urbain lié à une forte croissance démographique. La qualité de vie y est particulièrement appréciée et de nombreux événements, marchés, concerts et spectacles animent la ville au fil des saisons.