Connect with us
La Chaux-de-Fonds La Chaux-de-Fonds

Switzerland

La Chaux-de-Fonds Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

La Chaux-de-Fonds is in Switzerland. The city has an impressive heritage of watch making and has been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List as “La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle, Watchmaking Town Planning”.

La Chaux-de-Fonds is in the resplendent Swiss canton of Neuchatel, perched some 1000m above sea level in the Jura Mountains. It is an ancient and historic parish that has roots way back in the 1600s. Perhaps deemed at first glance not to be an obvious inclusion on a list of places to see in Switzerland because it doesn’t have any of the defining characteristics of a traditional Swiss city – like a medieval old town or being nudged up to a clutch of winter sports resorts, it is a hugely underrated tourist destination.

Thanks to incredible architecture (ref: Le Corbusier and see below) and being seeped in an historic air of culture and a magical showcase of legendary Swiss watching making, La Chaux de Fonds is a city that was some eons ahead of its time. It is a French speaking region in Switzerland and is a relatively small mountain community just a hop, skip and a jump away from the border with France.

The mountain territory actually consists of two small neighbor small towns – the other being Le Locle – and the towns were designed specifically to reflect the bustling industry of watch making, which has been beautifully preserved and has is still going strong today. However, it was only after a catastrophic fire destroyed ‘’Watch Valley’’ that they were built in the way you see it today. Both the towns have earned their place as UNESCO World Heritage sites because of their massive cultural and universal contributions.

The Best Time To Go

The Jura Mountain range offers a climate that is particularly harsh and is touted as being the Siberia of Switzerland; no surprise then that is holds the record for having the lowest ever temperature every recorded for Switzerland entirely a whopping – 41.8°C (-43.2°F). The winter months are decidedly unpleasant and somewhat unbearable with average daytime temperatures about – 2°C (28°F) or so on any given day.

For visiting, the summer time is definitely best. The summer months of June, July and August are when the temperatures briefly rise out of their below freezing comfort zone and head out to a cool 12/13°C (54°F).

Summer is a fantastic time and locals emerge on their bicycles, get out into the fresh air and are seen jogging, walking the dog and enjoying each other’s company. During the freezing winter months, winter sports enthusiasts are out in full force, zipping about the mountain side. Because of the town’s elevation, there is no chance the summers get too hot here, and the warm weather is perfect for sightseeing. There is lots to see and do and the town is easy to get to by train from Zurich or flying in landing at Bern and hiring a car to make the short, picturesque route to the town.

Getting Around in La Chaux-de-Fonds

Being Switzerland, the public transport system is exceptionally well organized, on time and easy to navigate. Tickets for trams, highly efficient articulated trolley-buses and the mountain railway can be booked online and packages for your visitors travel requirements can be organized with the tourism office or your hotel. As with many of the small Swiss towns, La Chaux de Fonds is no exception and the town is easy to navigate on foot or meander around on a bicycle.

Bicycle hire can be arranged at a few spots throughout the town, but if you are planning to go a bit further afield, it may be preferable to hop on a train or use the tram system to see the countryside. You can rent a car to travel around in, although it is not necessary; the public transport system will more than suffice.

Travel by train to La Chaux-de-Fonds

The train station is well connected with several lines in different directions:

  • An hourly RE train from Bern (1h 5min)
  • Two hourly RE trains from Neuchatel (30 min), one of which is the train from Berne
  • Two hourly RE trains from Le Locle (8 min)
  • One RE (40 min) and one R (1h) train from Biel
  • A couple daily French TER trains from Besançon (1h 50min)

In addition there are regional trains from other small towns in the region.

By car

There is three main roads leading to La Chaux-de-Fonds from other Swiss cities: Road 20 from Neuchatel, road 30 from Biel and road 18 from Delémont and Basel. The closest motorway is A5, from which La Chaux-de-Fonds can be accessed either from Neuchatel or Biel. Road 20 then goes on to France in direction of Besançon.

Major Attractions and Sights

There is an abundance of really fascinating local heritage and cultural sites to see and experience in the town, with lots of museums showcasing the history of this intriguing hilltop location.

The International Museum of Watches is a stunning exhibition in La Chaux de Fonds and is an exciting showcase of the history of watch making from both Switzerland and all over the world.

This is a must see attraction for every age group – and even if you were not interested in watch making when you got there, you will certainly be so when you leave. The collection has more than 700 clocks and 2,700 watches.

The Museum of Natural History has a comprehensive showcase of the local flora and fauna. And there is a small zoo that will delight all visitors. It is easy to find and explore this attraction on foot, and has no entrance fee.

The Farming and Craft Museum is another attraction that will charm those who want to know about the area or just love history and rural life.  Take a journey through the life and times of early 17th century farmers and their families. To make the trip a special one, enjoy it on the back of a horse drawn carriage.

The Museum of Fine Arts is an art lover’s haven, with some incredible works from artists from all over the world, as well as renowned Swiss artists. Le Corbusier has a lot of art work here as well as some from the 19th and 20th Century.

Le Corbusier was a renowned architect, touted as the Picasso of Swiss architecture and whose name and fame spread far beyond the realms of his home country. Born and bred here, Le Corbusier was considered to be one of the most influential architects of the first half of the 20th century. Although Le Corbusier became a naturalized Frenchman in 1930 and many wrongly assume he was French, it was in Le Chaux de Fonds that he cut his teeth, so to speak, and there are superb examples of his early work influenced by the Art Nouveau style he saw around him, standing in town as well as his birthplace. Students and lovers of architecture should definitely add these to their sightseeing itinerary – Villa Fallet, Villa Stotzer, Villa Jacquemet, Villa Turque and Villa Jeanneret as well as La Scala Cinema and there is a collection of furniture designed by him in the Museum of Fine Arts, along with some of his other works.

The Bell Foundry is an interesting place to visit, and the local tourism office will be able to help you find out when the best time to visit may be. The Fonderie de Cloches at Clochettes still casts bells here a couple of mornings a week and it is a great place to see how it is still done.

The underground mills in Le Locle is a tour that you will never forget. Join a 90 minute guided trip through these historic underground mills and learn the fascinating history of how they started, what they were used for and how they were restored in the 1970s for visitors to enjoy.

Acro Land is a zip line adventure park that takes visitors right through the tree tops on a multi hour adventure of a lifetime. This is perfect opportunity to be immersed completely in nature and chill out and enjoy a delicious fondue at the park afterwards.

All terrain scooters is an activity for the adventurous traveler that is visiting the town. Go up to the top of Val de Travers in a chairlift and come down on one of the 3 courses on an all-terrain scooter. The 3 paths offer different terrain experiences for different fitness levels, so everyone can enjoy this activity.

Paragliding is an exciting activity for the fearless adrenalin junkie. Swoop down over breathtaking mountain cliffs and look down over the ‘Watch Valley’. Definitely not for the faint hearted.

The Peasant Museum is a chance for visitors to step back into time and see how the peasant locals of La Chaux de Fonds lived and worked here in their hillside community.

Museums

For the museums located within the parc des musées (the first three on this list), there is a special 3 museums/3 days ticket which allows you to visit all three for the price of one. (Fr. 15/12.50)

  • International museum of horology (Musée international d’horlogerie), Rue des Musée 29 (Located within the parc des musées). Tu-Su 10:00-17:00Showcases more than 4500 timepieces, including 2700 watches. It also presents the history of watch making and its technical, artistic, social and economic history. Fr. 15/12.
  • Museum of fine arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts), Rue des Musées 33 (Located within the parc des musées). Tu-Su 10:00-17:00International and Swiss art from the 19th to the 21st century. Includes pieces by Modigliani, Anker, Vallotton, Hodler, Le Corbusier, Léopold Robert, Matisse, Van Gogh, Morellet, Armleder, Derain, Rouault, etc. Temporary exhibitions on modern and contemporary art. Fr. 15/12.50.
  • History museum (Musée d’histoire), Rue des Musées 31 (Located within the parc des musées). Tu-Su 10:00-17:00Located within a restored villa from the 19th century, this museum gives insights into what life was like in the early days of La Chaux-de-Fonds.. Fr. 10/7.
  • Museum of agriculture and handicraft (Musée paysan et artisanal), Rue des Crêtets 148W-Su 14:00–17:00, closed during MarchMuseum in an old farm from the 17th century, showcasing the life of the farmers and watch makers which used to life here. Fr. 8/3.
  • La Maison Blanche (Le Corbusier)Chemin de Pouillerel 12F, Sa, Su 10:00–17:00The Maison blanche was built by Le Corbusier for his parents in 1912, after he came back from his travels in the Middle East. Fr. 10/7.
  • Watchmaking Town Planning Exhibtion (Espace de l’urbanisme horloger), Rue Jaquet-Droz 23Daily. May-October 10:00-12:00, 13:00-16:30, November-April 13:00-16:00Information centre on the UNESCO heritage site La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle, Watchmaking Town Planning. Free.
  • Civilisations of Islam museum (MUCIVI), Avenue Léopold-Robert 109 ,   Tu-Su 14:00-17:00Fr. 15/7.

Do

Visit the ‘La Plage des Six Pompes’ festival, a street theater festival which is held every year in the first week of August. You can also volunteer for a week. It would be good to speak reasonably French.

Eating Out in La Chaux-de-Fonds

La Ferme des Brandt is a fantastic, high-end restaurant in La Chaux de Fonds – pricey but worth it as the food is in a class of its own and is set in an historic homestead with spectacular surroundings.

Restaurant du Raymonds has an exceptional seasonal menu, including a great selection of seafood and meat. The staff is friendly and the atmosphere is relaxed and amiable, and the wine list is described as excellent by those in the know.

Creperie Poivre et Sel is a hugely popular restaurant with some of the best pancakes and filling choices. The excellent food and friendly service is popular among families, but it’s always very busy and sometimes packed to capacity. Get there early.

Pizzeria Friggitoria Napoli has the best pizza in the area – hands down. Their thick, crispy crust that is filled with delicious fillings is a huge local favorite. Definitely worth a visit while you are staying in La Chaux de Fonds.

Grand Hotel les Endroits has superb views, excellent service, a superior menu and is definitely the place for anyone looking for somewhere special to celebrate a special occasion like a birthday or an anniversary.

Porc & Poivre or the Pig and Pepper has an unassuming entrance, but you must go through and experience the great food, good music, excellent vibe and their delicious cheese fondue.

Nightlife in La Chaux-de-Fonds

In La Chaux de Fonds there isn’t a great deal of nightlife options; it isn’t a bustling city as you know one, but that would deter from its charm if it was. There are number of places to head for a night out, and there are some great restaurants, lounges, side walk cafes and bars to start off with, as well as some excellent live music venues both in La Chaux de Fonds and Le Locle. There is an excellent line up of theatre and cultural events which are particularly popular during the summer months. Check with the concierge at your hotel for all the event information on during the time of your stay.

IN OX Bar is an up market lounge bar with a fantastic cocktail menu and is the perfect place to enjoy an early evening drink with friends.

Dublins is a typical Irish pub that has live music twice a month. Good value for money, and it’s a popular drinking spot among locals and visitors alike.

Popular Theatre Romand is a theater company that brings ballets, music, cultural events, exhibitions and live performances to the town. They have a great summer festival line up.

Bikini Test is a live music venue that has a number of excellent performances lined up throughout the year. The venue has been going strong since the 90s and is the perfect place to see anything from classical, jazz, heavy rock and metal.

Of Local Interest in

Despite not having the best reputation for the greatest weather for the better part of the year, the town is very organized in terms of festivals and events, most of them which are completely covered and heated, protecting performers and patrons from the uncomfortable chill. This means that right throughout the year there is something on to see or do, or experience, no matter if it is rain, shine or sleet. La Chaux de Fonds and Le Locle are very enthusiastic about their music and culture and not matter whether your taste is opera, ballet, jazz, choral or heavy metal, there is something on that will delight you and your traveling companion’s right throughout the year. So if you are indeed brave enough to visit during the middle of winter, you will still be able to be entertained.

Rock Altitude Festival

Held every year, the Rock Altitude Festival takes over La Locle for a weekend every August.  A funk rock and metal festival, there is an exciting line up of artists, camping is free on site and the venue is covered and heated for the duration of the concerts.

Neuchâtel International Choral Festival

Held over a week in August, the international choral festival is a showcase of local and international choirs and musical ensembles, art and culture.

Cully Jazz Festival

An exciting Jazz fest held during the chilly month of April. Bands local and international converge on the small mountain town for a week of excellent music and the event has been going strong for 31 years.

Ludesco

Held during March each year, this is a games festival like no other. Players come from all over the world to take part in over 300 games and tournaments of every kind.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

deGerman

Reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as the United States, Mainland China, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Germany. Love to Travel and report daily on destinations reopening with a focus on Domestic travel within Europe, North America and the Caribbean. Fan of the English Premier League , the German Bundesliga,, the Spanish La Liga.

Swiss Covid19

Covid-19 Swiss
32,690
Confirmed
104
Confirmed (24h)
0
Deaths (24h)
0
Recovered (24h)

Covid-19 Switzerland

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence4 days ago

European Union Borders / Schengen to Shut due to Coronavirus Covid-19

The European Union’s external borders will be closed to non-essential travel  for 30 days as of Tuesday to fight the spread of the coronavirus, while France...

switzerland1000x600 switzerland1000x600
News3 weeks ago

Switzerland abolishes almost all Covid 19 Protective Measures

In view of the low number of infections, Switzerland will abolish practically all corona protective measures from Monday onwards and...

bern1000x600 bern1000x600
Switzerland3 weeks ago

Bern Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

Although Berne (German: Bern) is the seat of most of the institutions of the Swiss confederation, this is only a small to medium sized...

Switzerland3 weeks ago

Koeniz Coronavirus Covid-19 Holidays 2020 to Switzerland

The municipality of Koeniz sits adjacent to the Swiss capital Bern on the country’s southern border with Italy. Home to...

ascona1000x600 ascona1000x600
Switzerland3 weeks ago

Ascona Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening Ticino

Ascona is a little city next to Locarno at the Lake Maggiore in Ticino. About Ascona Ascona was able to maintain its charm...

tenero1000x600 tenero1000x600
Switzerland3 weeks ago

Tenero Coronavirus Covid-19 Holidays 2020 to Canton Ticino

Tenero is a small town located on the northern shore Lake Maggiore in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. It is about 4 km from Locarno....

uster1000x600 uster1000x600
Switzerland3 weeks ago

Uster Coronavirus Covid-19 Holidays 2020 to Switzerland

Uster is a city near Zurich, Switzerland. Uster lies 350m above sea level, so it is just in the winter snow. Uster is...

Winterthur Winterthur
Switzerland3 weeks ago

Winterthur Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

Winterthur is a small city near Zurich in Switzerland and is about the 6th largest city in all of the...

davos1000x600 davos1000x600
Switzerland3 weeks ago

Davos Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

Davos is a winter and summer resort village located in the heart of the Graubünden in the east of Switzerland. In the...

La Chaux-de-Fonds La Chaux-de-Fonds
Switzerland3 weeks ago

La Chaux-de-Fonds Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

La Chaux-de-Fonds is in Switzerland. The city has an impressive heritage of watch making and has been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage...

schaffhausen1000x600 schaffhausen1000x600
Switzerland3 weeks ago

Schaffhausen Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

Schaffhausen is a city in north-eastern Switzerland on the river Rhine, next to the German border. Its prime tourist attraction are the Rhine Falls, Europe’s...

Samedan1000x600 Samedan1000x600
Switzerland3 weeks ago

Samedan Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

Samedan is a secluded village in the canton of Graubünden in Switzerland but it is well connected with the rest of the country. Understand...

stgallen1000x600 stgallen1000x600
Switzerland3 weeks ago

St. Gallen Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

Saint Gallen (St. Gallen, German: Sankt Gallen) is the main city of eastern Switzerland. For travellers, its main draw is the centuries old Abbey...

Vernier1000x600 Vernier1000x600
Switzerland3 weeks ago

Vernier Coronavirus Covid-19 Holidays 2020 to Switzerland

Vernier is a lovely little town in the Canton of Geneva in Switzerland.  Within the oldest part of the Vernier...

Ilanz1000x600 Ilanz1000x600
Switzerland4 weeks ago

Ilanz Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

Ilanz (Romantsch:Glion) is a town in the Surselva. Get in Travel by train to Ilanz The railway station in Illanz has one...

verzasca1000x600 verzasca1000x600
Switzerland4 weeks ago

Verzasca Valley Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

The Verzasca Valley is a long narrow valley located in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. This valley offers a wild and fascinating landscape,...

biel1000x600 biel1000x600
Switzerland4 weeks ago

Biel Coronavirus Covid-19 Holidays 2020 to Switzerland

Biel/Bienne (Biel in German, Bienne in French) is the 10th largest city of Switzerland and is located on the northern edge of the canton of Bern....

chur1000x600 chur1000x600
Switzerland4 weeks ago

Chur Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

Chur is the capital of Graubünden in south-eastern Switzerland. Chur, situated in the Eastern Alps, is deemed to be the oldest city in Switzerland...

Lenzerheide1000x600 Lenzerheide1000x600
Switzerland4 weeks ago

Lenzerheide Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

Lenzerheide is a city in the canton of Graubünden in Switzerland. Get in By car Travelling from Basel, Zurich, or the south of Switzerland, take exit...

ticino ticino
Switzerland4 weeks ago

Ticino Canton Coronavirus Covid-19 Travel Hotels Reopening

Ticino is an Italian-speaking region in Switzerland. It is in the south of the country bordering Valais, Uri, Graubünden and...

Advertisement

Trending Now