Weekend Trips to France and Switzerland

I am fortunate to live close to the borders of France and Switzerland, so that weekend jaunts to both are possible. In June, we stayed at a pleasant campground in Alsace and took a long hike in the foothills of the Vosges.

A view of some of the many vineyards with the Black Forest in Germany in the distance.

In July, we traveled to Neuchâtel, Switzerland, taking a long route via the Grand Tour from Basel to Neuchâtel through beautiful mountain landscapes, picturesque towns and villages along the Doubs River. Swiss Tourism has recommended seven routes on the Grand Tour as a great way to experience the different parts of the country.

Stop at St. Ursanne:

The weather forecast was good, but soon after we arrived at the campsite near Neuchâtel, a thunderstorm started. We were able to go for a short swim and then cook dinner, but then it poured for half the night. The campground was terrible! They said we would be next to a road, but that turned out to be an interstate highway.

Needless to say, we packed as quickly as possible the next morning. On the good side, the campground fee included free transport around Neuchâtel, so we took the adjacent streetcar to the city. It was rather quiet, since it was Sunday, and there were few tourists: perfect for us. This was the one advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic, since the usual hordes of American, Chinese, etc. tourists were not there.

Boardwalk out into the lake:

Old town:

It was here that Balzac first met his wife Eveline Hańska in 1833, where they sat on the stone benches. Ms. Hańska started reading some of Balzac’s works in the 1820s and started writing him letters. After various complications, they finally married in 1850, but Balzac died five months later.

I found that especially interesting, since I was re-reading Le Père Goriot. (Digression: I wanted to buy just that one book, but his oeuvres completes cost less, which meant that I downloaded 115 of his novels for only €1.79. No, I will not read them all!)

There were interesting portraits painted on various edifices, and there were devices that made them come alive, which unfortunately we did not have.

If only Switzerland were not that expensive!

5 thoughts on “Weekend Trips to France and Switzerland

      1. It doesn’t have the very high mountains of the Alps, but the highest peak is at 1,720 m. It’s a heavily forested area with lots of hiking trails, bike paths, rivers, large lakes and lovely small villages. Since Switzerland was not involved in either of the World Wars in the last century, a lot of buildings are still intact.

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