How to get to the Areuse Gorge
Our hike in the “Gorges de l’Areuse” was a spur of the moment decision where we literally went from coffee and pj’s to camel backs and hiking gear in 5 minutes flat. We joined the caravan of our Leysinian friends and we were off towards Neuchâtel. We parked the car at the train station in Noiraigue located about 25 minutes from Neuchâtel (or an hour and 40 minutes from Leysin). From Noiraigue, we followed the yellow trail signs towards Boudry. This will take you straight through the gorge. Once to Boudry, we caught the train back to our car in Noiraigue.
Hiking in the Areuse Gorge
This hike took us a total of about 5 hours… but that included stopping for lunch at La Truite which we would highly recommend. They specialize in trout dishes (hence the name). Overall, this was a great family-friendly hike. They are a few bridges and stairs which would require some hand-holding of little ones, but it was not at all strenuous. And with all of the photo ops, there’s plenty of time to take a break if needed!
The Absinthe Route
It was only after returning home that I realized we were hiking on the tail-end of what’s now known as the Absinthe Route. This green fairy trail stretches the length of the Val-de-Travers from the Creux-Du-Van to Pontarlier, France. Not only did the valley provide a perfect smuggling alley to France during WWI, but it also produced the necessary herbs (including the elusive wormwood) which were necessary to produce the illegal drink. I’ve always found the ‘mystery’ of absinthe to be appealing from it’s famous consumers such as Van Gogh and Hemingway to it’s mythical mascot of la fee verte. Here is a New York Times article on this famous absinthe trail and you can read all you want to know about the route here on their official website.
FYI: Absinthe was banned in Switzerland in 1910 but as of 2005, the green fairy has been set free!
Does this not look like the perfect home for the green fairy?
Getting back to your car
From the Boudry station you’ll buy a ticket to Noiraigue and change trains in Auvernier. You can always check the times here on SBB’s website.
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