Last week, Helvetiq generously sent me my new book “Journées Parfaites en Suisse” (perfects days in Switzerland). What a surprise when I opened the book, it is so beautiful! This book is very easy to read and there are a lot of pictures to give you a better idea of what to expect. It is not like your usual guide that is stuffy and you feel like you are reading a dictionary!
There are many cities in Switzerland I haven’t visited yet, the choice is difficult but I finally decide to follow Jacques Froidevaux’s advice. His city is la Chaux-de-Fonds and I have never been there yet!
Sunday morning we wake up early to leave on our adventure. Not easy after the big party we had last night but we are nevertheless motivated!
First stop is called « La promenade au Bois du Petit-Château ». It’s a beautiful park where they take care of endangered species. It’s perfect for families and it’s also great to go with friends. It’s impossible not to fall back into childhood and admire all the peaceful creatures in the park. The autumn colors enhance the beauty of the park which makes the walk simply gorgeous and a very calm place to be. The entrance is free so there is no excuse not to go!
Our second stop was at the restaurant called “L’Abeille”. We enter the café and we are the only tourists in sight, which is usually a really good sign. It is the hunting season so we ordered meat that is called “La chasse” and we made the right choice! The plates were generously served and the prices were unbeatable for Switzerland. If you choose to eat there, take your time to enjoy the moment. You will have to wait a while but that’s because good meals take time, love and patience to cook. This restaurant didn’t look like much on the outside but we discovered a treasure inside. We felt really welcomed, we ate really well and the chef came to shake our hand at the end of the meal. It’s a small detail that a lot of restaurants have given up with time, but to me, that detail makes and entire difference.
Third stop was on the top of the tour “Espacité”. We went up fourteen floors to discover a beautiful panoramic view of the city. What struck me was how the streets are built like a chessboard which is quite uncommon for Swiss cities. The big advantage to a city being built this way is that it is really easy to walk around without a GPS. The entrance is free here too and the icing on the cake is that there is a bar at the top where you can enjoy a coffee with the view.
Four stop was a haunted house! To be honest, this is the element that made me choose to visit this city more than another one. We arrive at the entrance of the house and we barely dare to go inside. Our host Alain, encourages us to come meet him upstairs. As soon as we enter the house we discover pictures in frames all over the walls, dummies, stuffed animals and all kinds of odd objects. What a collection! Each room is a new stage of bizarre and horror. I can’t help but think how much time it must have taken to find and collect all these curious items. And I am impressed by how Alain was able to be artistic and creative in so many ways and in each and every room. Even if it is a haunted house, one can sense a hint of humor in the choice of decor. We discovered a house but most of all we met Alain! He has so many great stories to share and we felt so welcomed it was a great experience! It was a wonderful horror discovery and I invite you to do the same.
On the way back, we walked by a house that had a fridge on their front door on which you could read “Serve yourselves”. Incredible! We stopped and started chatting with one of the residents of the house. He explains their story and that the house is called “LAC”. They create artistic events such a concerts and expositions in the house. Everything is linked to art, sharing and living in a community. He too made us want to come back to la Chaux-de-Fonds!
Our final stop was at “L’Ancien Manège” which used to be a place for horses but finally never ended up being used for that. The architecture of the building is definitely worth the detour.
End of the day we head back to Lausanne to have a fondue at the restaurant “L’Évêché”. This place is also recommended in the guide and I can only agree with this recommendation.
The outcome of the day? Simply awesome! I really liked discovering a city following the suggestions of a person who actually lives there. It’s much more personal than a classic guidebook.
I fell under the spell of their accent, I loved all the places I visited and I met beautiful, authentic and welcoming people.
I will come back la Chaux-de-Fonds ♥