Driving tour (Basel to Lake Geneva), Jura
The road from Basle to Lake Geneva (through the Jura) runs through the beautiful Birs valley and after 41km/25mi arrives at Delémont). From here the road to Biel continues south through the picturesque narrow Val Moutier, which the River Birs has carved through the limestone rock. From Choindez the road continues to Moutier.
Moutier (alt. 532 m/1,745ft; pop. 8,900), was a former center of medieval monastic culture with watchmaking and manufacture of machine tools. Southwest of the town is the interesting Romanesque chapel of Chalières with ornate frescoes (ca. 1020).The road then runs through a picturesque defile, the Gorges de Court, and continues through the villages of Court, Malleray-Bévilard and Reconvilier (731 m/2,398ft; pop. 2,600; important horse fair), birthplace of the famous clown known as Grock (Adrian Wettach, 1880-1959), to Tavannes (757 m/2,484ft; pop. 4,000), near the source of the Birs. From here the road ascends to the Pierre Pertuis.
Fine Arts Museum
Paintings, engravings, photographs and sculptures by local, Swiss and foreign contemporary artists.
This popular two-day festival takes place in mid-August.
From Pierre Pertuis the road ascends through a passage through the rock 12 m/39ft high and 8 m/26ft wide (Roman inscription), and then down to Sonceboz (656 m/2,152ft; pop. 1,370), where the railroad line from Biel to La Chaux-de-Fonds branches off.
The Basle to Lake Geneva route runs through the Vallon de St-Imier, the valley of the River Suze, to St-Imier (814 m/2,671ft; pop. 6,300), an important watchmaking capital, with a 12th C. Romanesque church and the Tour de la Reine Berthe, a remnant of the Romanesque church of St Martin. Cableway up the Mont Soleil (1,290 m/4,332ft). From here there is a direct road to Neuchâtel (30km/19mi), past Le Chasseral (1,610 m/5,282ft; hotel), from which there are beautiful panoramic views. The main road continues to La Chaux-de-Fonds.
St Imier - Longines Museum
A collection recalling the history of the Longines Company from 1832 to present day that includes watches and navigational instruments.
Lac des Brenets, Switzerland
From La Chaux-de-Fonds an attractive excursion can be made via Le Locle (9km/6mi) and the Col des Roches (917 m/3,009ft), 5km/3mi beyond which is the watchmaking village of Les Brenets (849 m/2,786ft; pop. 1,200), situated above the Lac des Brenets (753 m/2,471ft). The lake (length 4km/ 2mi, breadth 100-200 m/328-656ft, area 0.69 sq. km/0.27 sq. mi), enclosed by sandstone crags, is a natural formation on the River Doubs, which here forms the frontier between Switzerland and France.
Saut du Doubs (waterfall)
From Lac des Brenets it is a 15-minute trip by motorboat or a 45-minute walk to the Hôtel du Doubs, from which a five-minute climb leads to a viewpoint opposite the Saut du Doubs, a waterfall 27 m/89ft high. Immediately downstream from the Lac de Brenets is the Lac de Moron (4.5km/3mi long).
Val de Travers (asphalt mines)
14km/9mi southwest of the Col des Roches we come to La Brévine (1,046 m/3,432ft; pop. 700), and a further 14km/9mi south, in the Val de Travers, Fleurier (743 m/2,438ft; pop. 4,100). To the east of Travers it is a 30-minute round trip to former asphalt mines, (in operation until 1986), where natural asphalt, a mixture of bitumen and mineral (chiefly chalk), was mined.
14km/9mi southwest of Fleurier the town of Ste-Croix (1,092 m/3,583ft; pop. 5,300), famous for its musical boxes, lies in a valley on the slopes of Le Chasseron (1,611 m/5,286ft).Below the road from Ste-Croix to Vuiteboef wheel tracks can be seen in the rock of the old Roman road. The road from La Chaux-de-Fonds to Neuchâtel (22km/14mi) runs past the Vue des Alpes (9km/6mi; 1283 m/4,210ft; inn), from which there is a beautiful panorama of the Alps (Mont Blanc).
Musical Box Museum, L'Auberson
Musical Box Museum in L'Auberson has a variety of music boxes, musical clocks, and gramophones on display, many of which can still be played. The collection was started by the three Baud brothers in 1946.
Museum of Musical Automata
Some 19km/12mi west of Yverdon in Ste-Croix, an interesting collection of musical automata, musical boxes and mechanical musical instruments can be seen in the Centre International de la Méchanique d'Art CIMA, at 2 rue de l'Industrie.
The Chasseron summit (1,607m/5,272ft) is 3km/2mi from Ste Croix and affords a vast panorama of the Alps, the Swiss Jura and Lake Neuchâtel.
Saint Croix - Museum of Arts and Sciences
Music Box Museum
A demonstration of wind-up automatons, toys and musical boxes.
Southwest of the Lac de Neuchâtel, via Orbe, is La Sarraz (488 m/1,601ft; pop. 1,000), with a massive 11th C. castle which was given its present form in the 16th C.As part of the project "Renovation 2000" the castle is undergoing extensive restoration (opening hours given). In the former parish church of St-Antoine (now the Town Hall) can be seen the tomb of Count François de la Sarraz (d.1363).
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Oct 31: 9am-12pm, 2pm-6pm
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
The Musée Cheval in La Sarraz has an exhibition of working, draught and riding horses as well as horses of the army and in art.
Northwest of La Sarraz, on a by-road to the left of road 9, is the old-world little town of Romainmôtier (658 m/2,159ft) which has a monastery founded in the fifth C. and dissolved in 1537.
Abbey of St-Pierre and St-Paul
The Abbey Church of St-Pierre et St-Paul in the little town of Romainmôtier, built under the direction of St Odilo of Cluny in the 10th-11th C. and reconstructed in the 12th-14th C., is one of the oldest and most important ecclesiastical buildings in the country. The Romanesque monastery church has valuable 14th/15th C. frescoes.
Lac de Joux
Le Brassus (winter resort)
Just beyond the southwest side of Lac de Joux is Le Brassus (1,024 m/3,360ft), a winter sports resort with excellent skiing terrain (skilifts up Molard, 1,570 m/5,151ft). From here it is possible to continue to Nyon), on Lake Geneva, either by way of the Col du Marchairuz (1,447 m/4,748ft) or (passing through French territory) via La Cure, the Col de la Givrine (1,228 m/4,029ft) and the winter sports resort of St-Cergue (1,043 m/3,422ft); possible detour to the fine viewpoint of La Dôle, 1,677 m/5,502ft.