Les Murailles 5, Montezillon, NeuchÃ¢tel, 2037, Switzerland
More about Neuchâtel
Neuchatel Tourist Office, Hotel des Postes
The fountain in Rue du Neubourg
Maison des Halles
Travel Tips for Neuchâtel
The Old Town Walking Tour
From the Château we walked down along Rue du Chateau into the downtown. Neuchâtel’s Old Town is very attractive, and random wandering through its steep alleys is a good to appreciate the golden beauty of the architecture, as well as the 140 or so street fountains, a handful of which date from the 16th Century. First one on this tour - the Griffin Fountain (1664) stands on Rue du Chateau. The fountain is famous thanks to Henri II of Orleans who in 1667 had it filled with 1,300 gallons of red wine to honor his entry into Neuchâtel. A two-minute walk east and you reach Rue de l’Hôpital, were is the Fountain of Justice (1547). Further ahead is the magnificent 1790 Hôtel de Ville, designed by Louis XVI’s chief architect Pierre-Adrien Paris. Across the street from the City Hall you will see a modern monument – hanged in the air. Along rue de Moulins are 2 perfect specimens of the Louis XVII period. Turn right on the Rue de l’Hotel-de-Ville and 3 minutes later you reach Place du Port, facing Port de la Ville with numerous yahts and boats (you can sail from here free if you have a Swiss Rail pass). The busy tourist office next door in the Hôtel des Postes building (e.g. main post office) (Mon–Fri 9am–noon & 1.30–5.30pm, Sat 9am–noon). Below the square is a huge parking lot and free washrooms. Cross the Place du Port and you’ll find famous Musée d’Art et d’Histoire.
Neuchatel Fountains – Fontaine du Griffon (I&V)
Fontaine du Griffon – the Griffon Fountain was constructed in 1664. It was meant to supply the surplus water from the Castle to the city. The figure on the top, the griffon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and often wings of an eagle – as the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of the birds, the griffon was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature, the perfect choice for the fountain connecting the Castle – the seat of the ruler, with the city and the citizens. There is legend about Paris-Charles d'Orleans – Duke of Longueville, Estouteville, sovereign of Neufchatel and Valangin, and his brother had wine flow instead of water from the fountain during their visit in 1668.
Once in the middle of crossroads the Griffon Fountain in nowadays calmly settled in Rue du Pommier – Apple Tree street, by the bottom of Escaliers du Chateau – the Castle Stairway.
The Wedding Present
In 1011, Rudolf III of Burgundy presented a new castle (neu-châtel) on the lakeshore to his wife Irmengarde. He died in around 1149. His successor, Ulrich II, and his wife Bertha, decided to build a collegiate church near their castle. It took a hundred years to complete. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary on 8 November 1276. In 1214 the count’s domain was officially dubbed a city.
For three centuries, the Earldom of Neuchâtel flourished, and in 1530, the people of Neuchâtel accepted the Reformation, and their city and territory were proclaimed to be indivisible from then on. On the death of their princess, Marie de Nemours (1707) the people of Neuchâtel asked the European princes to enforce their succession to the house of Orleans. In the end, they accepted the offer of the House of Hohenzollern, which was at the time reigning over Prussia. From 1806 to 1813, it was a Napoleonic Principality.
It took a bloodless revolution in the decades following for Neuchâtel to shake off its princely past and declare itself, in 1848, a republic within the Swiss Confederation. Neuchâtel is the only one of the 26 to proudly fly a tricolor – green, white and red, with a minute Swiss cross hanging in the top corner. Neuchâtel is also notable for its social policy: it was one of the first cantons to give women the right to vote in 1959 (twelve years before the rest of Switzerland). It is also the only one to have granted foreigners established for at least five years the right to vote in local elections.
The Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (the Justice Fountain)
The JUSTICE FOUNTAIN was carved by Laurent Perroud between 1545 and 1547. The octogonal basin is surmounted by the figure of Justice; at her feet four figures symbolise the various forms of government in olden times : a pope, a magistrate, an emperor and a sultan. This fountain has recently been restored in accordance with the polychromy of the period.
Rue du Seyon & Place Pury (I&V)
Rue du Seyon is the longest street in Neuchatel's Old Town pedestrian zone. This vivid shopping street, although closed for private cars, is open for public transport – trolleybuses. The street is on the site where the river Seyon used to flow until the middle of the 19th century.
Rue du Seyon opens to Place Pury – Pury Square near the lake shore.
The square was named after the 18th century Neuchatel benefactor David de Pury. The Monument of David de Pury, artwork of French sculptor Pierre Jean David called David d'Angers, cast in 1848 and inaugurated on the 6th July 1855, can be seen on the square. David de Pury was responsible for the construction of several buildings – on pedestal of the statue there is the list of them – which today are part of the city's cultural heritage.
Pury Square is connected with Esplanade du Mont-Blanc – Mont-Blanc Promenade by the subway.
Popular Hotels in Neuchâtel