Last weekend, we stopped for a peak at Neuchâtel. I’d heard it was cute, so we had to check it out. From the French influenced architecture to the cafes that spill out onto squares, it looks and feels more French than the rest of Switzerland.
People have lived there since about 13,000 B.C., but a castle was built on the site in 1011. From the name Neuchâtel, it’s assumed that it replaced an older one on the site (In French, Neuf = New and Chateau = Castle). A town soon followed. Needless to say, it’s been around long enough to develop some cool, quirky features.
The Seyon River used to flow through the town (where Rue Seyon is now located). It’s flooding was devastating and a tunnel was built diverting the river a few blocs. To mark where the river once flowed, there is a little water feature running through the street.
Footbridge across castle moat. Pretty sweet. The best part is that it connects to a park. How much would you like to play capture the fort here?
The Swiss officials drained millions of cubic feet from Lake Neuchâtel, in 1870, lowering the lake level by 10 feet. As a result, formerly lakeside chateaus and their stone banks now sit inland. A good amount of Neuchatel’s lakeside is now lined with elegant promenades. The Promenade Noir was urban infill on the new lakefront property. The buildings on one side of the street date from the 1600’s and the other side date from the 1800’s. The building above is across the street from the building below!
Many of Neuchâtel’s older buildings are made from the local, yellow sandstone. It’s an amazing, rich, color.
It’s even got its own cheese. I prefer Neuchâtel to Philadelphia Cream Cheese on a bagel. It healthier too. Heck, it may even be healthier than Philly light. You can blow the calories you saved on some Swiss chocolate.
Although the lakeside had a pretty view of the Alps and Jura, we like the views from our lake (Lac Leman/Lake Geneva) better. The views get better as you get higher. Some of the surrounding areas have stunning views. Sorry I couldn’t get any decent ones from the car window.
Neuchâtel watchmakers made delightful little mechanical figurines that are displayed in the Musée d’Art. We visited on a holiday morning so it was closed. We hear it’s worth a peek if you get the chance to visit though.
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