History

Once upon a time there was a shepherd's hill, the “crêt-bérard” in Savoy dialect, where shepherds stopped to rest their flock of sheep. They admired the scenery and meditated, as though marking a stage in their day, their journey, their time.

A few centuries later, in 1948, young Protestants from the canton of Vaud had gathered in Lausanne. Under the leadership of their chaplain, pastor Albert Girardet, and in a great upsurge of fervour, they decided to erect a house “for Youth, Church and Country”. As in all good stories, the place, far away from villages and with no access road, was discovered by the eldest son of chaplain Albert Girardet – who was leading the project – during a Sunday walk. After climbing to the top of the crêt bérard, he exclaimed: “It's here!”

Construction began during the summer of 1949. Thousands of young people from the canton worked on the site until September 1953, when the first building was inaugurated. The owner of a quarry just above Sainte-Croix donated the stone that was carved by specialists to give the building the appearance of a neo-Romanesque monastery in warm hues. The architect was Claude Jaccottet. The first resident, pastor Charles Nicole-Debarge, imprinted his style on the house: he set up the three daily offices, the training and seminars, the evenings around a campfire, the Advent fires with their horse riders, etc.

From the beginning, Crêt-Bérard was organised as a private foundation. The institution is led by a pastor whose stipend is covered by the Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Vaud. This Church sits on the Foundation board together with the Vaud State, thus reflecting the determination for collaboration and integration.

In September 1983, while pastor Jean-François Deppierraz was resident, the second stage of building was completed, with a dining room separate from the main hall and a new kitchen. Once more, blueprints were drawn up by Claude Jaccottet. From then on, the Crêt-Bérard house possessed its ideal dimension and the desired accommodation capacity.

Pastor Pierre-André Pouly developed the activities, modernised and insulated the building, and surrounded himself with a team of professionals to welcome guests and ensure the house's smooth running.

Pastor Alain Monnard is resident since 2013. He has taken several initiatives to broaden the range of activities and is currently leading the new hotel development phase begun in 2012.

Yves Gerhard, President of the Foundation board