We took a quick day trip to Saint-Ursanne, Switzerland in the Canton of Jura this past weekend. It was about an hour and a half drive from where we stayed the night near Freiburg in Germany and an easy drive from the border crossing at Basel. We realised a few weeks ago that we have been to 20 of the 26 Swiss Cantons so being people who like a challenge and to not leave things incomplete we set out to knock the other 6 off our list. We also had some Swiss Francs leftover from our recent trip to Lucerne and given the recent change in policy these had become quite a bit more valuable.
Jura is the newest of the Swiss Cantons (similar to the US States) and is on the border with France, making it one of the French speaking areas of the country. It is always fun to be driving along and the exit signs switch from Ausfahrt (German) to Sortie (French) with no warning!
Saint-Ursanne is a charming little town on the Doubs river that was mostly built in the 1600’s but dates back to the 600’s. We had lunch at a charming French restaurant with very friendly service. I’m pretty sure Rick Steves hasn’t made it here yet… (I’ll leave my beliefs about him and his “off the beaten path” tourist traps for another day) and suffice it to say this little town was all but deserted when we visited. It was perfect for a snowy January day! There is a neat historical walking tour around town with signs in French, German and English and there is plenty to see. The cloister and interior courtyard are beautiful as is the Church which was open for visitors. The center point of the town seemed to be the bridge over the River Doubs which was open only for pedestrian traffic and gave great views of the surround mountains and historic buildings.
I wouldn’t recommend Saint-Ursanne for those looking for the ultimate in excitement or who want something comparable to a visit to Paris, but for a day trip it was lovely and filled with history, great food and a fun place to walk around for our little family.