It's been over five years since we officially planted roots in Switzerland. We love traveling the world but we have a lot more in our new home country to be discovered.
Jura & 3 Lakes Jura is the youngest Canton of Switzerland and it's within the region with the oldest history. This region is one of the most upcoming places to visit and now we know why.
6 awesome facts about the Jura & 3 Lakes region
1. ZERO Traffic lights in the canton of Jura.
2. The youngest canton in Switzerland with the oldest history! Jura sits on a layer of rock that was formed during the Jurassic period 152 million years ago. Hence you will see signs of dinosaurs everywhere.
3. ONE Village (the Jura region is French) that speaks German. The farming village of Ederswiler is the one place with a majority of German speakers
85% to be exact.
4. SO CHIC! The region's city of Porrentruy is actually Switzerland's closest town to the fashion capital of Paris! 2.3 hours away!
5. HOME TO ONE OF THE HIGHEST CITIES IN EUROPE! La Chaux-de-Fonds!
6. Speaking of La Chaux-de-Fonds, its where the famous American automobile pioneer, Louis CHEVROLET, was born.
Our favorite places in the Jura & 3 Lakes region
Saint-Ursanne - in the heart of the Jura mountains by the Doubs river rests this pittoresque medieval town. It feels more like a movie set then an actual village. With a rich history, perfectly manicured gardens, ancient bourgeoise houses, Benedictine abbey, cafes, and views over the Doubs there’s A lot of take in and photo ops. Spend a day hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing (shallow waters), swimming, or just enjoy being pulled by a horse and carriage.
Maison du Tourisme - of Saint-Ursanne, if you plan you can organize a picnic with the tourist office to take as you hike along the Doubs. Munch down on some swiss specialties like Gruyere, Cervelas (Swiss Hotdogs), Mustard, Fruits, Baguette, and duh ... Swiss Chocolates. The best part however is the canoeing treasure hunt! It takes about an hour, even the most novice canoer with a child paddleing backwards made it! A huge advantage is the water is only a meter deep so you feel safe. At the end you get the code to open the secret treasure chest with lots of ........... (as if I'd ruin a surprise!)
Hôtel de la Cigogne - famous for their delicious cuisine, this family owned (65 yrs & going) cozy boutique hotel is a perfect spot to rest between adventures- in tranquility. Admire the hotel’s art work that line the halls and even eat Saint-Martin while you’re here.
Maison de la Tête du Moine - calling all cheese lovers! Although bummed they don’t give a free cheese tasting (you can pay for it) visit the origins and learn about the fabrication of the famous Monk Cheese factory. Just be sure to leave with some cheese!
Bellelay Abbaye - right across from the Maison de la Tête du Moine is this abbaye. A pristine white church transformed into a modern art exposition. No matter the exhibit - just go! Also be sure to climb to the top to breathe in the panoramic views, rolling hills and see the abbaye and it’s gardens in its entirety.
Porrentruy - a cultural center of the region and once home to Princes, never will you see such a beautiful town (pics prove it!). An impressive medieval castle standing over the valley, fountains, an art museum dedicated to stain glass and the largest concentration in Europe. While there grab a bite at Hôtel Bellevue amazing food, amazing view, complete with a playground for the children...what else do you need?
La Chaux-de-Fonds - home of Chevrolet’s creator Louis Chevrolet, La Corbusier, Mecca of the watch industry, UNESCO heritage site and one of the highest cities in Europe. Resembling an Art Deco American town more than Swiss, it was destroyed by a catastrophic fire in the early 1900s and rebuilt to resemble a chessboard. The only way to understand and appreciate the town’s unique architecture you can visit the top of the city’s skyscraper Espacité.
The tourism office is also located on the ground floor. You can shop, stroll down the main boulevard and when hunger strikes you must indulge at Hôtel Les Endroits - I’m still dreaming of the scallops and dessert buffet ( I hear the spa is a dream too!).
Neuchâtel - has officially become our favorite city in Switzerland. Plan to stay at least 2 days there’s too much worth seeing in one day.
Here’s our list :
Stay at Hôtel Alpes et Lacs - affordable modern art hotel, huge terrace with the most stunning views of Neuchâtel, large rooms for families, steps from the train station and all the action. Dinner is also a treat- order a bottle of local bubbly Mauler and the chefs menu, you can thank me later :-).
Paddle Steam Boat “Le Neuchâtel” - the best way to enjoy the lake? Duh! On the water and feel the wind in your hair touring the lake in all it’s glory on this historical masterpiece dating back to 1913.
Mini-train tour - this should be the first thing you do! The town is hilly, full of wonder and perfect to visit via the mini train from the port. Witness Neuchâtel’s history while snaking through the ancient streets, fountains, museums, all while climbing up to the Château and the Collégiale and the cities most ancient and beautiful view points. Even time to hop off for a perfect photo op!
Laténium - remember when I said Jura & 3 lakes was the youngest canton with the oldest history - this is Switzerland's largest archeology museum, covering 50’000 years of history. 4x older than Rome, you can still see the remains of the homes from the end of the Ice Age and the Celtics. Recently renovated they have it all, interactive history museum, ateliers for families, adventure park, resto and a gorgeous view on the Jura mountains where you can stroll on the lake. I can’t brag more about this museum! Don’t miss it or we won’t be friends anymore.
We want to thank from the bottom of our hearts to...
Hotellerie Tourisme Section Neuchâtel Jura
For organizing and spoiling us with this beautiful part of Switzerland.
Jorge Guerreiro of JSBG for the entertainment-his mad organizing, camera and driving skills!
Chevrolet for allowing us ride in ultimate style and comfort!
All the lovely people we met along the way for your kindness and welcoming me and Luna.
There’s so much more and can’t wait to add more of our favorites to the list!
Please tell us your favorite places in the Jura & 3 Lakes region!
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