A week or so ago, as my husband was watching the Tour du France, I kept seeing this beautiful village and passing landscape as the riders got closer to the days finish line. By the end of the race, I was mesmerized by the quaint charming little town this stage ended in. Come to find out, it wasn’t even in France! No this lovely village is in Switzerland and is known as Porrentruy.
Located in Northwest Switzerland, in a little pocket of land surrounded by France at the bottom of the Jura mountains, this village of approximately 6,800 people has over time wandered back and forth between being part of France and Switzerland. Even though tools and other objects dating back to the Mesolithic, Bronze and Iron ages have been found here, the first actual settlement wasn’t established until 1140.
- The city is shadowed by a medieval castle that dates back to the 13th century and was once the home of the Bishop of Basel (1527-1792). The Refous Tower is the oldest building standing on the castle grounds today. The tower was built in 1271 and offers fantastic views to anyone willing to climb up!
- A portion of the medieval city gate still stands tall even if it was built in 1563.
- Besides the many baroque buildings in the old town, there are also grand medieval fountains. The Fountain of the Samaritan was built in 1563 and is a stunning fountain depicting a scene from the bible. The Standard Bearer’s Fountain, built in 1518, was the first fountain to have a figure on top. Look closely and you will see the symbol of the city at the bottom, the wild boar.
- The 200 year old Botanical Gardens display many types of plants including those found in the Jura region. In one building you will even find carnivorous plants!
- The Hotel Dieu dates back to 1761 when it was a hospital for the needy. It remained a functioning hospital until 1956 when it became a museum. Inside this wonderful Baroque building are exhibits detailing the history and culture of both Porrentruy and Switzerland, an old Apotheke and watchmakers display.
- Porrentruy is home to a Gothic basilica, St. Peter’s Church, that was built from 1321-1333. The interior of St. Peter’s is very beautiful and houses splendid relics and a Gothic altar.
I have never been to the Jura region but I’ve now decided there is more of Switzerland I need to explore!
Porrentruy definitely caught my eye!