On the plateaus at the edge of the Val-de-Travers and near the border with France, the village of La Côte-aux-Fées has decided to set up the new Circuits des Fées for pedestrians and mountain bikers! Starting from the Hôtel de la Poste in the center of the village, you can discover the other mountain restaurants located in the area at the end of the forest paths and other municipal roads.
This Saturday the 19. June, these new marked routes are inaugurated. After the official part in front of the Hôtel de la Poste at 10:30, it's time to start walking or cycling! The great unknown spaces of this region on the back of the Chasseron welcome you. Mont-des-Verrières offers a view of the Grand Taureau mountain in France and the Cernets in Switzerland. On the descent to the Chalet des Prés, you can see the steep meadows of the ski slopes of Robella Val-de-Travers and you can make out the Jura ridges that you follow to the 360° panoramic summit of Chasseron. On the right side comes the Col des Etroits, which gives access to Sainte-Croix, the Mont des Cerfs, the Aiguilles de Baulmes and finally the long rock of Mont-d'Or.
The Circuits des Fées include no less than 3 routes. The northern route is described above. The southern route allows you to cross the Crêt des Bourquins area (where the cantonal borders of Vaud-Neuchâtel and France-Switzerland meet, passing the historical marker no. 182) and to explore the St-Olivier with the nearby Fées Cave, which can be visited on your own (bring a headlamp and follow the wire rope to the Nid d'Aigle, or just use the picnic area). The Tillau route leads to the hamlet of Les Places and crosses the French-Swiss border to reach Les Prises (F) and the Restaurant Tillau (F), a good restaurant in this part of the French Jura Mountains. Numerous other hiking and mountain biking routes are signposted on this side of the border, allowing you to reach Les Fourgs and then the Grand'Borne customs (bus to l'Auberson / Ste-Croix and connection at the end of the day for the return to La Côte-aux-Fées and Buttes).
– Northern route: 11,9 km loop, with an altitude difference of 332 m. On foot it takes about 3h10. By bike 1h45. – Southern route: 8.6 km loop, with an altitude difference of 219 m. On foot it takes about 2h15. By bike 1h. – Tillau route: one-way road over 5.4 km, incline 181 m, decline 52 m. On foot, it takes about 1h30. By bike 0h45. The Circuits des Fées are marked on foot with white signs. Signposted by mountain bike with burgundy signs. At the intersections, the white signs are marked with the green sign "Circuits des Fées" for pedestrians and mountain bikers. The mountain bike routes are signposted in a clockwise direction (we are in the land of the Piaget watchmaking company, which has its headquarters in La Côte-aux-Fées!).
Food and overnight stay
No less than 4 mountain restaurants welcome you along the route. At the start and finish of the Circuits des Fées is the Hôtel restaurant de la Poste, just in front of the stop of the regular postal bus from Buttes. In the direction of the hamlet of Les Places you will find the Au Pied de Cochon inn, which offers its homemade kidneys among other mountain specialties. After the Mont-des-Verrières, the Mont-Barres hut offers its cheese crust with cheese from the mountain pasture. On the other side of the mountain, the Chalet des Prés animates with its mountain dishes and numerous desserts (cream cones, meringues…).
For accommodations, there are rooms at the Hôtel Restaurant de la Poste, the BnB Jurabelle and the Colonie La Joie de vivre, all three in La Côte-aux-Fées; the Airbnb EssenceCiel and the Fondation des Colonies de vacances (Colonies Bellevue) in Mont-de-Buttes. In the municipality of Les Verrières, the Hôtel-de-Ville des Verrières and the Hôtel-Restaurant des Cernets, which has just reopened after renovation, are also worth mentioning.