Neuchâtel is a delightful and noble city with the charm of the french speaking culture of Switzerland. It is sitting on the shore of the lake of Neuchâtel and goes up on Jura rising behind the lake. The typical yellow stone facades stand in stark contrast to the blue sky and the blue water of the lake. Along the shore of the lake many vineyards dot the countryside and add to the beauty of the area.
Neuchâtel is the capital of the canton of Neuchâtel and has a population including the agglomeration of less than 80’000 people.
The first written record dates back to 1011 where Rudolph III, king of Burgundy (F) made the Novum Castellum (or the new castle – Neuchâtel) a gift to his wife Irmengarde. The city kept slowly growing and expanding over the next centuries. Some of the rich nobility started building houses outside of the city walls. Part of their money also was made with the flourishing slave trade.
Before the 19th century the river Seyon often flooded parts of the city. Between 1839 and 1843 the river got canalized and on top of it the Rue du Seyon came into being. 1859 the train station was built. Also the shore of the lake got reshaped land was regained and built on.
Since 1910 Neuchâtel has its own university. It has a good college of commerce (Ecole Superiore de Neuchâtel) where also quite a few of the better off families from the Swiss German part send their kids to college for higher education in French.
Culturally Neuchâtel has quite a few things to offer: Every September after the vine harvest „la Fête des Vendanges“ is celebrated and attracts 100’000 visitors. Beginning of June a four days open air festival (pop, rock, hiphop and electro) attracts quite a crowd.
Neuchâtel is only about a 40’ car drive or train ride from Berne.