TOURIST INFORMATION Center…
This is RESOURCE TIP...
The main tourist information center is within eye sight of the train station in the center of the downtown of Fribourg. It’s in a great location and provides a great variety of resources to begin your acquaintance with Fribourg.
If you are arriving by train here when you enter into the main foyer of the station you will see large signs indicating the direction of the center. As you exit the front doors of the station the building is to the right, just across the street from the station and is well signed.
This is the place where, if you like, you can easily rent bicycles and or you can rent an electronic IPod like device that guides you through your own self guided tour, mostly of the Old Town. If you chose to rent this it would cost you about 5.00 CHF for the day..
The Info Center is well stocked with a variety of MAPS, brochures and hotel promotions and the staff that I spoke to briefly was fluent in English. I overheard conversations in German, and French so communication for me at least was not an issue.
I grabbed a map of the city which has a “walking tour” outlined that I didn’t follow in fact but it’s a GREAT REFERENCE MAP that I was abloe to use to familiarize myself with what the buildings were that I was seeing. I found it to be somewhat smaller that I would have liked, Im not keen on using reading glasses as I walk about a place that I don’t know well but otherwise I was glad to have it. Located at Avenue de la Gare 1
Local Phone Number...026 402 56 44
Miss Ville de Fribourg by Francois Haenggeli
The monument opposite of the townhall is called "Miss Ville de Fribourg" and it is well worth to take a closer look at it : She has a skirt made of old feet of the table for Singer-sewingmachines (see a closeup in my 2nd photo). Such monuments are lot more popular in France and mostly for a lady called "Marianne" and this one looks a bit like a persiflage of that custom to me. The artist is called Francois Haenggeli and he made it for the anniversary of 850 years Fribourg : 1157 - 2007.
Walk the Old Town …a Glimpse at the Past
No matter how often I walk these streets, particularly the streets of
L'Auge and Neuveville I am always thrilled to be here. Three distinct neighborhoods comprise the Old Town, the oldest area referred to as L’Auge is closest to the river and includes the parcel of land located between the Bern Bridge and the St. Jean Bridge, crossing St Jean Bridge in a sort of northern direction you enter into a separate area referred to as the Neuveville district. The area referred to as La Bourg is on the top side of the hill and the area of the city where you will find the Cathedral St. Nicholas, the Eglise des Cordeliers, the train station and a bevy of other attractions that are also important “attractions” of the city.
L’Auge and Neuveville are the original sections of the city that have been occupied since the earliest days of settlement here, built originally along the banks of the River Sarine or Saane(French or German spellings)When you visit here you’ll find a large number of structures that date to the 15th Century as well as homes, a school, some lovely cafes, old churches and wonderfully designed historic fountains. Scholars and tourism officials SAY that up to 200 building facades that date from the medieval era are located here.
Streets are narrow in some cases and cobbled stone. You’ll find a couple of nicely designed “squares” and places to enjoy a nice meal or beverage. It’s a “people” place and you’ll find people coming and going, some car traffic and even a Museum of Puppetry here in the Old Town.
I’ve made brief visits here both in summer and in winter. Both seasons offer different perspectives but the flowers and foliage that you’ll see decorating many of the houses certainly add to the feel of the place and in winter the fountains obviously aren’t functional so if you have choices try to visit during the summer months if you can.
Given its proximity to the river it’s a natural that you’ll cross some bridges on your walkabout in the Old Town including the Bern Bridge, Middle Bridge and le pont de St Jean or St Jeans Bridge, all of which are unique and quite old and different from each other.
If you take the time to cross the Bern Bridge you can easily make your way to see the Bern Gate that dates from between 1270 and 1290 and the Cats Tower, and also the Red Tower that dates from the late 14th Century. These three surviving structures formed a part of the defensive fortifications of medieval Fribourg. A little further up the steep hillside you can see today what remains of the Gotteron Gate, another access to and from the “city” during the medieval era of Fribourg.
Churches that you’ll come across will hopefully include the Headquarters and Church of Knights St Johns Hospitaller. Unfortunately you cannot access this property or at least I couldn’t on the day that I tried but you should know that the “Knights of the Hospital of St. John” originated in about 1099 in relation to the First Crusades. A group of knights that were hurt and recovered from the Siege of Jerusalem devoted themselves to helping the unwell and caring for pilgrims trekking to the Holy Land. This Holly place is connected to the modern day Order of St John which is involved in charity work around the World.
Also try to make time to at least look at the murals that are still visible on the front walls of the Augustinian Monastery. The Mauritius church found inside of the Monastery was built around 1311 .Sadly the doors were locked up and I couldn’t get inside to look around.
Some of the fountains that you can around the Old Town, including the “Fountaine de la Samaritaine” sculpted in 1551 by Hans Gieng and the “Fontaine de Saint Anne” crafted between the years 1557 and 1559 by Hans Geiler as well as the Fountaine de St Jean…a significant component of the Planche Superieur, a large square adjacent to the Commandery of the Knights of St John.
In any event, if you have any interest at all in medieval architecture the Old Town of Fribourg offers you a great opportunity to see one of the best kept secrets of Western Europe and I think if you take the time to explore here you’ll be happy that you did. Take the time and check it out!
10'000 students study at the local University. As Fribourg counts 36'500 inhabitants, this place is really a student's city.
Another cultural particularity is the bilinguism. The Sarine River marks the linguistic divide; French is mostly spoken on the west bank, and German on the other side (Freiburg in German).
Fribourg university reflects this Swiss mix as 51% are from Swiss German part, 29% are from Swiss French part and 8% are from Swiss Italian part. You could even follow your Uni cursus in both languages (German/French).
Founded in 1889, the University of Fribourg Switzerland is unique for its bilinguism (French-German), its international character and its friendly atmosphere. The University’s teaching and research are informed by a profound sense of ethical principles. The University collaborates with many other universities world-wide and participates in numerous international student exchange programs.
Place de Petitie St Jean…Old Town.
This is a “meeting place”, a large old town square if you will, a wide open space found at the bottom of Rue Samaritaine where it intersects with Rue d’Or. Here you can find a small selection of restaurants or cafes to choose from if you would like to enjoy a meal or a beverage here, it makes a good spot to take a break if you’ve been walking for a while which is what we did before continuing our little walkabout.
Just a word of caution though…we discovered that the restaurants that we attempted to have a light snack in ANYWHERE in the Old Town closed they’re kitchens at 1400 or 2:00 PM for a “siesta”, not re-opening until the dinner hour. They did serve beverages though during this time period.
From April until November on the FIRST SATURDAY of the month there is a large FLEA MARKET that operates here so if you’re interested in antiques and knick knacks you could check this out.
Just a stone’s throw up Rue Samaritaine you will find the Fountain de St Anne, a wonderfully crafted work of Gothic Art by Hans Gieng
If you’re passing through on a walkabout take a few minutes here to soak up some ambiance of the Old Town, it’s a really pretty place.