Part of the reason for our trip to Zurich was to go and visit the workshops of two high end, independent watchmakers, Greubel Forsey and Kari Voutilainen. This meant we would need to have an over night stay close to La Chaux-de-Fonds and Môtiers. Consulting Google we decided our base would be Neuchâtel and our accomodation the Beau Rivage Hotel. As we were being picked up and driven from Zurich to go to La Chaux-de-Fonds and then to Neuchâtel, it would only be a short return train trip for us to Môtiers.
The Beau Rivage Hotel is located on the edge of Lake Neuchâtel (AKA lac de Neuchâtel in French and Neuenburgersee in German) with views of the Lake and the Alps in the distance. Originally a grand town house of great elegance built in 1862, during the first part of the 20th century it was home to a famous restaurant, the building was entirely renovated in 1993 to become the first 5-star hotel of the Three Lakes region. The Beau Rivage is a member of Relais & Chateau and is rated as 5 étoiles Supérieure, Gault Millau rating 14, and is in Guide Michelin.
After a full day visiting Greubel Forsey and touring the magnificent Musée d’Horlogerie du Locle, housed in the historic Château des Monts at Le Locle, we arrived at the Beau Rivage, checked in, freshened up and had a walk around the town. With Neuchâtel being in the heart of Switzerland’s watchmaking mecca it was not surprising to find watch references around town. Beautiful old buildings abound and the views of the lake and alps are spectacular. Someone was even water skiing which got me a bit jealous.
After our walk we went to dine in the hotel’s Restaurant O Terroirs. As the evening was spectacularly mild we were given the choice of dining on the lake side veranda or inside. Of course we decided outside would be nicer. Watching the sunset over Lake Neuchâtel while the dying rays of the sun tint the majestic Swiss Alps in shades of pink and grey while having a wonderful meal is truly a memory I won’t forget. Thanks to Greubel Forsey for our diner.
First up was an amuse bouche of crab, tomato and avocado….
Mr. CA4G had an entree of seared foie gras…..
I enjoyed a “cigar” of egg plant filled with goat curd, on a lemon sponge, olive oil ice cream…..
For mains Mr. CA4G had lamb three ways, cutlet, loin, merguez sausage, with cous cous, while I opted for duck meat balls, proscuitto, potato crisps, artichokes……
Having had dessert at lunch we opted for cheese, all local to the region….
As we were finishing our meal, the clouds rolled in, and a spectacular sound and light show(storm) rolled across the lake.
The next morning was light but drizzly. We had a lovely buffet breakfast in the hotel and caught our first Swiss cab to the station. Now my French isn’t the best and I do know how to ask for “two return tickets to Môtiers” unfortunately I don’t know the French for “which platform”. Luckily for us a young Swiss man spoke good English and was able to direct us. The train to Môtiers takes about 40 minutes from Neuchâtel, passing through lush green fields and mountains, stopping at several lovely little towns. Arriving at Môtiers, we were met at the station by Kari Voutilainen and walked to his house a short way from the station. Not knowing much about Môtiers, we were surprised to find it was (and still is) a town with a history of Absinth production, apart from watch production. After a leisurely tour through Kari’s Atelier looking at his watches and production, he took us to lunch in the local cafe/hall/beer house. Unfortunately no photos, but we had the special of the day which was Chilli con carne( I know you, go all the way to Switzerland to have chilli con carne, but it was GOOD), followed by creme brulee. Seriously good, must be all that fabulous Swiss cream and free range eggs.
Saying good bye to Môtiers, we headed back to Neuchâtel to catch our train to Zurich. As the train wound its way through the country side we saw many vineyards that produce some great Swiss wines.
Thanks for dropping in!! Look out for my Zurich report.
Beau Rivage Hotel
1, Esplanade du Mont-Blanc, CH-2000 Neuchâtel
T +41 32 723 15 15