Travel and Tourist Information
ABOVE: An aerial view of Neuchâtel
and its lake. INSET BELOW: The Fontaine du Banneret in the old town.
is the capital of Canton Neuchâtel, in the French-speaking area of Switzerland.
It's also the biggest town on Lake Neuchâtel, and it's popular with tourists who
come for medieval architecture, boat cruises, and hiking or bicycling in the
Neuchâtel is at least a thousand
years old, with a recorded history dating back to 1011 AD (when, as Novum
Castellum or "New Castle," it was a fortress owned by the Dukes of
Burgundy). Over the centuries, Neuchâtel and its canton were ruled by French
nobles and the King of Prussia until the 19th Century. The canton joined the
Swiss Confederation in 1815, with Neuchâtel as its seat of government.
Today, Neuchâtel is an attractive
and lively town of 32,000 residents, including several thousand students at the
University of Neuchâtel, which
dates back to 1838. It's well worth visiting, and we'd recommend staying for at
least two nights--or longer, if you'd like to use Neuchâtel as a base for travel
in the region. (Neuchâtel is a gateway to "Watch
Valley," which has 27 stops along a 200-km or 130-mile circuit through the
watchmaking towns of the Jura and Neuchâtel Mountains. Another interesting town
on the route, La Chaux-de-Fonds, is profiled
in a separate article.)
Sights and excursions
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