Friday, March 5, 2010

Switzerland for Levelers, Part 2

We're still in Pays de Neuchatel and I suggest a great, full day side trip up to La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Trains leave Neuchatel hourly for the 30-minute-long trip, but it's better by car. There's a great view around every turn and some truly grand overlooks where you'll want to stop and grab the camera.

Tip: A car will help keep your walking and climbing to a minimum.

 The town, where Switzerland's watch-making reputation was solidified, burned to the ground in the 18th century. Instead of recreating age, the city fathers looked ahead with modern architecture. The standout is "Villa Turque" (Turkish house) by Le Corbusier which now serves as the public relations center for the fine watchmaker Ebel.

The International Watchmaking Museum (Musee International d'Horlogerie) is a must see even if you think viewing over 4,000 examples of time keeping sounds as dull as I did. Trust me, it's fascinating.

Hit the road in time to have a lunch of delicious trout at Les Rives du Doubs, then take the mini-cruise on the Lake of Les Brenets. Deep gorges, serene surroundings and at the end, the Saut-du-Doubs waterfall.

Tip: It takes a bit of walking to get to the waterfall but the grade is gentle and the surface is pretty good. Give it a go.

For more information on Switzerland, go to and click on "Travel: Europe".


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