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Exploring the region | Two UNESCO World Heritage SitesNeuchâtel, a thousand-year old town | A diverse range of cultural and community eventsAn idyllic setting for outdoor activities Winter: a wonderland of possibility 

 

Exploring the region

 

Situated between crystal clear lakes and majestic mountains in a leafy setting dotted with vineyards and forests, the canton of Neuchâtel offers an incredible array of breathtaking and diverse landscapes. The official language of the canton is French, and its capital is Neuchâtel. The town is just 20 kilometers as the crow flies from France and 40 kilometers from Bern, the Swiss capital.

 

Perched at 1,000 meters altitude, the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, is together with its neighbour, Le Locle, one of the cradles of the watchmaking industry.

 

The border with France is delimited by the river Doubs, whilst on the Swiss side Neuchâtel is neighboured by the French speaking cantons of Vaud and Jura, as well as the bi-lingual, French-German speaking cantons of Bern and Fribourg.

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Two UNESCO World Heritage Sites

 

Rich in culture and history, Neuchâtel has no less than two sites registered on the UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites. The first, in the towns of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle, has been recognized for its unique urban planning heritage. Both towns testify of decades of rapid industrial development and were shaped by and for the watch making industry as of the 19th century. The streets are laid out in a checkerboard pattern to an orthogonal town plan. Both "industrious hives" were designed to serve the manufacturing requirements of local watchmakers whilst taking into account the social and ergonomic concerns of the time.

 

The second UNESCO site requires an underwater exploration of the Lake of Neuchâtel as it is home to prehistoric pile dwellings typical of the Alps region. These wooden stakes are the archaeological remains of lakeside villages that date back 5,000 to 500 years BC and show the evolution of man from the Neolithic to the Bronze Ages.

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Neuchâtel, a thousand-year old town

 

Neuchâtel is the capital city of the State and celebrated its 1000 years in 2011. Nestling against the Chaumont hills, the town extends along the lake, flanked by wine-making villages. The 12th century collegiate church, the castle and old town below all witness Neuchatel’s rich history. The city has many notable buildings, often built from the local creamy yellow ‘Hauterive’ limestone, typical of the region.

 

Other architectural treasures can be seen elsewhere in the State such as the Valangin or Vaumarcus Castles and the medieval village of Môtiers.

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A diverse range of cultural and community events

 

Neuchâtel’s arts calendar is rich in exhibitions, concerts, shows and festivals and the canton also has a wide choice of museums.

 

Neuchâtel State is synonymous with conviviality and local life is punctuated by key events such as the hugely popular Grape Harvest festival, which brings together nearly 200,000 people each year.

 

Download the Neuchâtel community and agenda

http://www.neuchateltourisme.ch/en/events/agenda.html 

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An idyllic setting for outdoor activities

 

The State of Neuchâtel is a lush, green State where nature reigns. The surrounding landscapes are not only wonderful to look at, but also fantastic for days out. Hikers and mountain bikers will love treks such as the wild Areuse Gorge, the Jura Crest, the Saut-du-Doubs, the ‘Revolutionary Way’ and the ‘Bog Trail’. Of particular note is the Creux du-Van, a natural rocky canyon with sublime panoramas located in the heart of a natural reserve, home to wildlife and rare alpine flora.

 

The lakeshores are ideal for gentle strolls or when preferred, swimming and water sports. Wine trails meander between lakeside and mountains, allowing walkers to explore the rich local land products at a leisurely pace.

 

Golf enthusiasts are well catered for, thanks to the rolling greens of the Neuchatel Golf and Country Club.

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Winter: a wonderland of possibility

 

Winter in Neuchâtel is synonymous with cross-country skiing, especially around the flatter areas of Mont-Racine and Brévine (known as "Swiss Siberia"). Ski enthusiasts can enjoy their favourite sport at the resorts of Les Bugnenets-Savagnières, La Robella or La Vue-des-Alpes, which also have sledge runs.

 

When the region is cloaked in white, it is worth heading out to the many high plateaus in the area that are perfect for snowshoeing. And when winters are particularly hard, Lake Taillières (near Brévine) freezes over and is available for ice-skating !

 

Useful links:

www.neuchateltourisme.ch/en/home.html

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