Best view of Alps from La Chaux-de-Fonds

Best view of Alps from La Chaux-de-Fonds

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jlovda
jlovda
38 posts
active member
Jul 29, 2017 - 11:35 AM

In late September I will be taking the round trip train ride in the Jura highlands; Solothurn>Mountier>Delemont> La Chaux-de-Fonds> Neuchatel. I wanted to take a short bus detour from La Chaux-de-Fonds to Vue-des-Alpes but It seems I either have to stay on the bus for an immediate return or wait four hours. Are there other spots along the Delemont>La Chaux-de-Fonds section where I can get an equivalent view while only waiting one hour for the next train?

John

Peterli
Peterli
553 posts
top member
Jul 29, 2017 - 7:19 PM in reply to jlovda

Bonjour John,

I will start my reply by asking you if you like doing some walking ? If you do, there is a path and also a road that connects the bus stop at la Vue des Alpes to the restaurant La Clef des Champs, about 2.4 kilometres or a 30 minute walk to the south-south-west. From here you can walk up to la Tête de Ran, which has beautiful views in all directions, including the Alpes. To give you an idea what the view from up there is like check out the live webcam which is up there: tete-de-ran.roundshot.com/

I should caution you that more often than not the weather in the area between the canton of Neuchâtel and the Alps is not conducive to viewing the alps and this is another reason I sent you the above link. You can see right away what the view is from the webcam at la Tête de Ran. The view to the north and west can be great because most of the features are closer to you but sometimes you will see this "soup" of clouds off to east and south-east. And sometimes if the soup is present, you will still be able to see the tops of the Alpes rising above it.

You also asked for suggestions of spots with an equivalent view. I assume you are referring to Moutier instead of "Mountier". There are no views of the Alpes from Moutier or Delémont or La Chaux de Fonds as they are blocked by the terrain. However, when you are in the city of Neuchâtel, there is a spot called Chaumont which has a tower you can walk up and from there you have a great view down onto the Lac de Necuhâtel and off to the distant Alpes. Again, the extent of the view will depend on how much soup there is. There is also a webcam up there: chaumont.roundshot.com / so you can compare the view from there with the one from la Tête de Ran. They are both spectacular views but both quite different from each other. It is relatively simple to get to Chaumont from the city below by funiculaire. To learn more about this. go to www.funimag.com/suisse /LaCoudre01.htm

Because la Tête de Ran is at a higher altitude than Chaumont, sometimes the weather and viewing can be better up there than down closer to the lake. When I have a bit more time, I will send you some more information about La Vue des Alpes and Chaumont. I went to school in Neuchâtel and have been there in late September/early October for the past six years so I know the area better than any other part of Switzerland.

Peterli
Peterli
553 posts
top member
Jul 29, 2017 - 9:13 PM

Hi again,

Before I send you some other information, I should ask you if you read and speak French.

jlovda
jlovda
38 posts
active member
Jul 29, 2017 - 10:55 PM in reply to Peterli

I'm sorry I do not understand French at all. Actually, of the many times I have visited Switzerland, I have sort of avoided the French portion because of the language. I have had trouble when going to Lausanne.

Regarding walking, I have a heart problem. Not terrible, but I have low endurance. I would have to go to the beginning of your suggested walk and see what I think. Sometimes, the beginning looks fine because it is down hill but it is hell coming back up. An example of this is getting from the Montreux Gare down to the lake and then getting back up.

Thanks VERY much for your suggestions. I will try very hard to see how far I can go.

John

Peterli
Peterli
553 posts
top member
Jul 30, 2017 - 5:09 PM in reply to jlovda

Hi John,

I wouldn't worry too much about not being able to get along without French, as you will always be able to find somebody who is quite capable in English. No doubt you are aware that most of the places you mention in your itinerary are in the French speaking part of Switzerland, the exception being Soleure (Solothurn). I had asked you the question because I had found some information about public transportation in Neuchâtel. I'll send some to you anyway, just in case you can sort through it.

As for your difficulties with walking over long distances, particularly uphill, I am thinking that going up to la Tête de Ran would not be the best idea. However, getting to the observation tower at Chaumont requires no walking at all. You take the bus 107 to La Coudre (it takes less than 10 minutes) and from there take the funiculaire right up to Chaumont. From the funi stop to the tower entrance is about 50 metres. This video will show you what the tower and the ramp leading to it look like: https://youtu.be/hx3vw kwveMA

The bus 107 starts at Place Pury but if you want to catch it at la gare (train station) you walk through the tunnel that connects to the various platforms and then up the ramp to the left at the far end. You will come out at a bus stop, and the 107 stops here. One way fare, including going up the funi, is CHF 4.20.

If you are in downtown Neuchâtel, there is a very nice tourist information centre at the left end of the yellow stone post office (PTT La Poste). The people in there speak a multitude of languages.

Here's a bit about the Funiculaire and Chaumont: www.myswitzerland.com/ en-ca/chaumont-panoramic-funicular-railway.html

jlovda
jlovda
38 posts
active member
Jul 30, 2017 - 6:18 PM

Thank you very much! I will be printing your information and putting it in my backpack for my trip. Last year somewhere in Switzerland I obtained a "Swiss Travel Map" showing all the train and bus routes and suggested scenic routes. I have been using it constantly for these discussions. I see the Chaumont funiculare on the map as a tiny black dotted line that indicates it is a 50% reduced price ride with a Swiss Pass. I am amazed at all the little cable cars spread across the country.

I looked at the webcam links you provided. It was night the first time, clear with some haze in the distance at 8:30 local time and over cast at 14:00. The scenery is beautiful and I am looking forward to the ride. Last year the scenery from an IC train looking south while west of Fribourg was also simply beautiful. One of my favorite experiences is being on this train somewhere near Palézieux, passing through a short tunnel and emerging to the gorgeous sight of Lac Leman and the vinyards.

Thank you again,

John

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5007 posts
expert
Jul 30, 2017 - 10:27 PM in reply to jlovda

Hi John-

<<"

One of my favorite experiences is being on this train somewhere near

Palézieux, passing through a short tunnel and emerging to the gorgeous

sight of Lac Leman and the vinyards.">

Actuallly, just beyond Puidoux.

There is joke that Swiss from the German regions, upon seeing that view burst open them for the first time, throw away their identity cards and move to Canton Vaud or Geneva.

There are some good easy walk possibilities in that area if you take a local train from/to Lausanne, get off at Grandvaux, and walk a bit. Definitely with climbs, so it may not work for you.

Slowpoke

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Peterli
Peterli
553 posts
top member
Jul 30, 2017 - 11:56 PM in reply to jlovda

Hi again John.

In your original post, you stated "In late September I will be taking the round trip train ride in the Jura highlands; Solothurn>Mountier>Delemont> La Chaux-de-Fonds> Neuchatel." Am I correct that this (with the inclusion of getting back to Solothurn) is the extent of your Switzerland trip this year ? If so, how many days is this being spread over ? I ask this because then I would know how many nights in all you will be there. Of all the places you mention, I would say that la ville de Neuchâtel would be a good choice for a night stop. Or, are all of the nights already programmed into your train trip itinerary ?

Should I know where you will be before Soleure (Soluthurn) and after you leave Neuchâtel ? Is a trip from and to an airport at both ends of this itinerary ? Or is this "round trip" Jura jaunt simply a part of a grander, more extensive trip ? If so, no doubt you have already got the rest of it all planned.

To whet your appetite, I attach a photo taken from Neuchâtel, looking across the lake to the cantons of Fribourg and Vaud (the boundaries are crazy over there) and beyond to the trio of the Eiger, Mönch, and the Jungfrau (also the Schreckhorn at the very left) . As I stated earlier, it is often pretty soupy out that way so there is no guarantee you will be rewarded with such a fine view. One usually gets to see this after several days of rain. This photo was taken near the end of the day (rose colour on snow) but chances for a clear view are better in the morning.

Last modified on Jul 31, 2017 - 12:00 AM by Peterli
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Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5007 posts
expert
Jul 31, 2017 - 12:48 AM

Bon Soir, Peterli-

<<"I attach a photo taken from Neuchâtel,">>

Magnificent photo.

I wish I could have taken it.

Here are two others for comparison.

Not as powerful. I need a longer lens. ;-

Slowpoke

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jlovda
jlovda
38 posts
active member
Jul 31, 2017 - 1:40 AM in reply to Peterli

That is a BEAUTIFUL picture!

As with all of my Swiss trips I stay in one little hotel in Zürich extremely close to the HB and stay for 8 days using an 8 day, 2nd cl Swiss Pass. Every day is a round trip beginning and ending in Zürich. All of my trips are centered on train riding and photographing locomotives and trains. I do virtually no hiking except walking around city centers near the bahnhof such as walking over the old Luzern wooden bridge and visiting the old town.

I have been at the Neuchatel train station many times but only once took the bus down to the lakefront. I actually did not find much there that was interesting.

I do not like dragging luggage around and it is a waste of time checking in and out of hotels. Each morning I have a rough idea where I want to go but but usually just look at the main departure board and pick the next train out whether it be Chur or Brig. Here were three of my days last year:

June 6th, my 69th birthday: Zürich>Biasca/Pollegio via old Gotthard route>special Gotthard Base tunnel ride north>Gottardo 2016 north end celebration incl Erstfeld depot>Zürich

Zürich>Rorschach>Schaffhausen (lunch)>Zürich>Chur>Andermatt>Goschenen>Zürich

Zürich>Lausanne>Montreux>Martigny>Col du Gr. St. Bernard (lunch)>Martigny>Visp>Zürich

This year I have two days planned so far: Jura highlands roundtrip taking the little train from Solothurn to Moutier (not the long tunnel at Grenchen) to Delemont>La Chaux-de-Fonds>Neuchatel and Biel and second, the Central Alps bus round trip starting and ending in Meirengen. I do have to wake up really early and ride the Brünig Bahn from Luzern. I hope to find at least two more specific day trips before I arrive on Sept. 25th.

John

Peterli
Peterli
553 posts
top member
Aug 1, 2017 - 12:57 AM

Hi John,

Have you ever done a day trip from Zürich to the Säntis in Eastern Switzerland ? Train from Zürich to St. Gallen via Winterthur and Wil. Train from St. Gallen to Herisau, and train from Herisau to Urnäsch. Bus from Urnäsch to Schwägalp, and then up you go to the top of the highest mountain in eastern Switzerland. If you go, make sure you have some warm clothing because it is cold up there. Here is a bit about it, in English: www.myswitzerland.com/ en-ca/saentis-schwaegalp2.html

There is a shortcut to Herisau from Gossau (instead of going to St. Gallen) that might allow you to make a better connection for the train from Herisau up to Urnäsch. One you get back to Herisau, you can decide whether you want to go back to Zürich via Wil and Winterthur (the way you came) or a longer (but much more interesting) route via the Ricken Tunnel to Rapperswil and then up the east side of the Zürichsee to Zürich.

Here is information on the PostAuto service from Urnäsch to Schwägalp: www.postauto.ch/de/aus flugstipps/schw%C3%A4g alp-linie

Last modified on Aug 1, 2017 - 12:59 AM by Peterli
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5007 posts
expert
Aug 1, 2017 - 1:24 AM in reply to Peterli

Guadn åmd Peterli-

Bavarian, could not quickly find Schwabian.. ;-(

I assume that you are aware of the unpleasant history of the Ricken tunnel?

www.wikiwand.com/en/Ri cken_Tunnel

Slowpoke

Peterli
Peterli
553 posts
top member
Aug 1, 2017 - 2:33 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Yes, that story is on Wikipedia as well, with more on the German site: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Rickentunnel

I do recall a story about a choir that missed the last train home and decided to walk home one night through the Ricken Tunnel (knowing there were no more trains in either direction until morning), but all I can find is this: books.google.ca/books?id=sonHW61AspcC&pg=PA3 8&lpg=PA38&dq=singing+ in+the+ricken+tunnel&s ource=bl&ots=tTyccQkvM K&sig=_Tt0cRCqbO8EOvJx G_Ketx2pCDo&hl=en&sa=X &ved=0ahUKEwjRy-y89LTVAhUGVD4KHQ6qCUYQ 6AEIOjAD#v=onepage&q=s inging%20in%20the%20ri cken%20tunnel&f=false

But I do know that somewhere there is more about this, as I remember that in true Swiss fashion they decided to vote which way to continue, and ended up coming back to the end they didn't want to get to. I have been searching for the last hour or so, with no luck. Apparently is was totally dark in there, and I guess nobody thought of trying to figure out the right way to go by the gradient of the rails. In case the above link doesn't work, I will attach the following:

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