Hotel Alpes et Lac
Place de la Gare 2, Neuchatel, Switzerland
More about Neuchâtel
La place du marché
Neuchatel Tourist Office, Hotel des Postes
Jaquet-Droz 18th century clock at Chateau
Panorama of Neuchatel with the Diesse Tower
Travel Tips for Neuchâtel
Neuchatel Clocks (V)
For centuries Neuchatel is one of the most important centers of Swiss watchmaking industry. Typical Neuchatel wall-clocks are of guitar-like shape with Roman number 4 in the "IIII" form, instead of common "IV". One of such examples, constructed by Jaquet-Droz manufacture, is treasured in Chateau. Precious collection of clocks as well as Jaquet-Droz automata can be seen at Musee d'Art et d'Histoire.
Among the successful watchmakers linked with Neuchatel, besides Pierre Jaquet-Droz, Henri-Louis Jacquet-Droz and Jean-Frederic Leschot, are Ferdinand Berthoud, Abraham Louis Breguet, Edouard Bovet, Georges Frederic Roskopf…
An unique atomic clock was developed in 2003 at the Cantonal Observatory of Neuchatel. Pierre Thomann, head of the project at Neuchatel Observatory, stated about that: "For Neuchatel, which has a long tradition of watchmaking, as indeed does the country as a whole, this clock is the perfect symbol".
Neuchatel Fountains – Fontaine du Lion (I&V)
Fontaine du Lion – the Lion Fountain was constructed at the same time as the Griffon Fountain, in 1664. Lion, the king of the beasts, is, similarly to griffon, animal with powerful symbolic meanings. Some 83 years after the Banneret Fountain was created, another lion gets the position on the top of the pillar of a fountain, this time in the "leading role".
The Lion Fountain is in Rue du Bassin, in front of the Temple du Bas, Protestant Temple.
The former PUBLIC HOSPICE SQUARE (Place de l'Hotel Communale) is the site of a splendid fountain (Louis XVI style). The Large central basin is hewn from a single block of stone, and flanked by two smaller ones. A column rises behind the main basin.
Musee d'Art et d'Histoire (I&V)
Ville de Neuchatel Musee d'Art et d'Histoire – Neuchatel Museum of Art and History is housed in the beautiful edifice designed by Leo Chatelain and built in 1884. The museum treasures vast collections.
The upper floor is the exhibition place for the Art Collection. The imposing staircase, leading to the upper floor, is decorated with three huge allegorical frescoes painted between 1886 and 1896 by the local painter Leo-Paul Robert, nephew of the more famous Leopold Robert. A few of French Impressionist paintings are the minor part of the permanent art exhibition. The major – is the great collection of the 19th and the 20th century Swiss artists including Leopold Robert, Charles Gleyre, Albert Anker, Ferdinand Hodler, Giovanni Giacometti… Temporary exhibition of art, at the time of our visit to the museum, in July 2008, had been the excellent retrospective of Swiss painter Teophile Robert, son of Leo-Paul Robert.
Ground floor is venue of the other part of the museum collections, those concerning the history of the canton of Neuchatel and local decorative arts. The most noticeable are numismatic section, the marvelous clocks and the "star-exhibits" – Jaquet-Droz automata – the three Jaquet-Droz mechanical figurines created by the famous watch-maker Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his son Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz and Jean-Frederic Leschot, his chief-assistant, between 1768 and 1774.
To be continued in "Jaquet-Droz Automata"…
Midway between Market Crossing and Maison des Halles (Covered Market), do not miss CORBETS PASSAGE, a kind of Neuchatel closed passage with a splendid spiral staircase (Renaissance style), newly renovated with great discernment.
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