Exploring Le Noirmont and Porrentruy
In the Jura
Exploring Porrentruy and Le Noirmont in the Jura
You may have read that some weeks ago we visited the Neuchâtel region of Switzerland and whilst we were in the Jura region we continued our trip taking in Le Noirmont and the beautiful town of Porrentruy. Here are some of our recommendations on things to do and places to visit if you are in this beautiful and very historic area of Switzerland.
We began first by visiting Le Noirmont to see the Fromagerie des Franches Montagnes and to find out more about a very special cheese which you are sure to have seen on a cheese board in Switzerland – Tête de Moine!
Cheese Making at Fromagerie des Franches Montagnes Le Noirmont
Tête de Moine Cheese AOP
The Fromagerie in Noirmont is the perfect place to go if you have any interest at all in cheese. The Tête de Moine cheese they produce here dates back to before the Swiss Confederation (1291) was in existence. Tête de Moine AOP cheese was invented by the monks of Bellelay at least a century before Switzerland had even come together as a country. So precious was this cheese considered, that historical documents show it was even used as a means of payment. The cheese was given its current name of “Tête de Moine” in the 18th century.
We watched an interesting film about cheesemaking and had a tour of the facilities at Fromagerie des Franches Montagnes where you can see the cheese maturing in a protected environment behind large glass windows. Below you can see the “cheese robot” in operation turning the cheese to help it mature correctly.
Afterwards you can purchase your very own cheese tasting selection if you wish. In addition to Tête Des Moines they make other local cheeses here and you can enjoy the tasting tray outside in the open air with wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. They also have a large selection of cheese and other local dairy products that you can buy in their shop.
Fromagerie des Franches Montagnes SA
Address: Rue de l’Avenir 2, CH-2340 Le Noirmont
2 Michelin Star Cuisine at Maison Wenger au Noirmont
Chef Jérémy Desbraux at Maison Wenger
We stayed overnight at Maison Wenger (formerly Hotel de La Gare) in the small town of Le Noirmont. Chef Jérémy Desbraux together with Anaëlle Roze have recently taken over the hotel and restaurant from Georges Wenger and have managed to maintain its 2 Michelin star status. Maison Wenger is well known as a fabulous gourmet destination and people travel from far and wide to enjoy its wonderful cuisine, so we were super excited!
Dinner here really was the gourmet highlight of our visit to the region. The food in Maison Wenger’s 17 Gault Millau points, 2 Michelin Star restaurant was was simply amazing! The wonderful menu offered the most superb seasonal and locally sourced dishes.
We went for the Surprise Menu and it was absolutely fantastic. Each course was bursting with flavour and was very well balanced.
The desserts were amazing and the raspberry soufflé was just so light, creamy and fluffy it was simply wonderful!
We had a really amazing dinner here and we highly recommend it. It definitely lived up to our expectations and was a meal we will remember this for a very long time.
You can also stay overnight at Maison Wenger and they have 5 rooms, including 2 junior suites.
Each room is themed and decorated in a quite original and totally unique style. And in the morning do not miss breakfast as it is really delicious with lots of both hot and cold options served at your table.
Address: Rue de la Gare 2, 2340 Le Noirmont
Tel: 032 957 66 33
Please note that due to the Covid restrictions in the Jura area, at the time of writing Maison Wenger is closed until 15th November – but please check the website for the latest information,
Damassine Liqueur at Ô Vergers d’Ajoie
If you fancy a trip to Porrentruy you may wish to visit Switzerland’s only Museum of Distillation. The “Ô Vergers d’Ajoie” tells the story of distillation in Switzerland and you can also find out all about (and taste!) their famous liqueur. Called “Damassine AOP ” this fruit liqueur is made of small damson fruit and is a speciality of the Jura region. The museum explains the history of distilling in Switzerland and there are lots of original stills on display. I found the film and the little tour fascinating.
The Damassine liqueur really smooth – but it is also very strong! Afterwards do stop by in the grocery area as they have a great selection of wonderful fresh and organic fruit and vegetables and a delicatessen with some delicious local specialities.
Ô Vergers d’Ajoie, Musée suisse des fruits et de la distillation
Address: Combe Bruequelin 27, 2900 Porrentruy
Porrentruy An Historic Town
Porrentruy is a beautiful city and is steeped in history and rich in culture.
It has its own castle medieval castle, which served as the residence of the prince bishops of Basel from 1527-1792. In addition it has long been regarded as the cultural centre of the Jura region. Porrentruy is the second largest city in Canton Jura and its Old Town is architecturally stunning with examples of burgher houses in the Aaroque, Gothic and Neoclassical style.
Another fun fact is that the city with its almost sixty churches and chapels, has the largest concentration of stained glass across a relatively small area in Europe.
It’s a brilliant way of sightseeing, learning all about Porrentruy and having fun at the same time.
Equipped with a badge from the Tourism Office, you explore various places around the old part of the town, including the castle and the prison and other historical monuments. You do the tour on foot and you need to check for clues which are hidden in a variety of locations.
There are light and sound productions illustrating historic events at some of the places and it’s a really fun way to learn about the history and the cultural heritage of the city! It’s perfect for families too.
You can do the tour on your own as we did, or if you prefer you can also book to go with a guide. If you have the Jura Pass you get 20% off the first ticket on the Circuit Secret.
There are a number of interesting museumsin Porrentruy- take a look here.
There is so much to explore in Porrentruy and Le Noirmont that it makes for a great weekend break or short holiday. The good news is that is if you spend at least one night in a hotel or guest accommodation facility in the zone covered by the “Vagabond tariff “(Canton of Jura, Moutier & Tramelan ), you get a free JURA-PASS. The JUAR-PASS is valid for the entire public transport network within this area.
In addition you can enjoy free trips on the Jura train from La Large-Journée to La Chaux-de-Fonds (though public transport within La Chaux-de-Fonds is not included). The JURA-PASS is valid for the duration of your stay up to a maximum of 15 days. You should receive the Jura Pass upon arrival at your hotel or guest accommodation and it is valid from check-in until midnight on your day of departure.
There are also a number of offers and discounts on numerous activities in the region with the JURA-PASS. If you stay for 2 nights or more you even get a voucher for a free trail ride on horseback. Click for details. Find out all about the Jura Pass here.
It was my first time in this region and there are so many hidden gems to be discovered in Porrentruy and the food scene in Le Noirmont with the local cheese and Maison Wenger was simply wonderful. So when you next fancy a break, why not consider discovering this beautiful region of Switzerland.
For more ideas on things to do in Le Noirmont visit the website here.
For more information on Porrentruy visit the website here.
This is a sponsored article but all opinions are my own
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