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La Chaux-de-Fonds Tourist Information
and Sightseeing

From: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

photo

ABOVE: The International Watchmaking Museum. INSET BELOW: An apartment-dwelling dog, the viewing gallery of the Espacité Tower, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Tourist information, what to see

photoLa Chaux-de-Fonds is represented by Neuchâtel Tourism, which has a Web site at http://www.neuchateltourisme.ch. The cantonal tourist office markets the entire region as "Watch Valley: Le pays de précision."

photoIf you arrive in La Chaux-de-Fonds by train, walk straight ahead one block from the railroad station to the Avenue Léopold-Robert. Turn right, and you'll see the Espacité Tower, a skyscraper on the city's main drag. The tourist office is in the base of the tower. Ask for a copy of La Chaux-de-Fonds on Foot, a free illustrated walking guide to the city center. (As long as you're at the tower, ride the free elevator to the top floor to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.)

If you're seriously interested in architecture and have a fat wallet, we'd suggest hiring a tour guide for a few hours, since a guide may be able to get you into buildings that normally aren't open to visitors. You can book ahead by phone or e-mail; call +41 (0)32 889 68 95 or e-mail [email protected]

Finally, if you read French, be sure to visit the city's official Web site at www.chaux-de-fonds.ch.

Museums and attractions

La Chaux-de-Fonds has several museums, including:

The International Watchmaking Museum, a.k.a. the Musée International d'horlogerie, which covers the technical, artistic, social, and economic history of watchmaking. The MIH's collection includes 2,700 watches and 700 clocks.

The Farming and Craft Museum, or Musée paysan et artisanal, which is located in an early 17th Century farmhouse. The museum shows how farmer-watchmakers and their families lived and worked in the early days of Switzerland's watch industry. You can reach the museum on your own or as part of a horse-drawn carriage tour.

The History Museum, or Musée d'histoire, which occupies a 19th Century house on the Rue des Musées.

photoThe Museum of Fine Arts, or Musée des beaux-arts, which has Swiss and international art of the 19th and 20th centuries (including works by Le Corbusier).

The Natural History Museum, a.k.a. Musée d'histoire naturelle, which has free admission and will give you a glimpse of the local fauna. (The MHNC also operates a small zoo and vivarium in a park that you can easily reach on foot from the center of town.)

If you have time, you might also want to request a tour of the Bell Foundry Blondeau (the Fonderie de cloches Bloundeau), which casts bells one or two mornings per week. Ask the Tourist Office for details.

Music

L'heure Bleu, the theatre and adjacent symphony hall of La Chaux-de-Fonds, has occasional performances during the season. Check the French-language Arc en Scènes Web site for program and ticket information.

Next page: Hotels in La Chaux-de-Fonds


In this article:
Introduction
History, architecture
Tourist info, sightseeing
Hotels
Restaurants
Photos

Related articles:
Tour Espacité - rooftop views of the city
La Maison Blanche - Le Corbusier, 1912
La Villa Turque - Le Corbusier, 1917
Théâtre and Salle de Musique L'heure Bleu

Also in Canton Neuchâtel:
Neuchâtel - A medieval old town with hills, a lake, and nearby vineyards

Top photo copyright © Switzerland Tourism. ST/Swiss-image.ch.