Emigrating - some bases

Emigrate to "succeed"
Swiss emigration History
When the Swiss made America
The Red River Colony

The Junod and emigration

Africa - Rikatla, Pretoria
Argentina - San Carlos, Santa Fe
France - Goersdorf, Alsace
Italy - Naples
Ukrainia - Kiev

USA

Athens, Ohio
LaGrange Co, Indiana
Neuchatel, Kansas
Wisconsin... Missouri...?

Visiting our Region soon?

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Planning to visit our part of Switzerland soon ...?

Welcoming some of my distant cousins from Lignières since a few years, this page was created to assist plan a trip to our region for a more enjoyable and better prepared trip.

Let me know of other tips you would like to see on this page - using my e-mail address below. Thank You !

Visiting Lignières - our place of origin - is best the last week end of September : this is the time of "La désalpe" (here a choice of pictures from the past years) or when the cows come back to the village after spending 4 months on the top of the nearby Jura hills : a big feast takes place in our village on that Saturday. So if you can, schedule your trip around that week end... added to which our wine festival (here a link... in French) takes place that same week end (or the one after - it depends from one year to the other) in the city of Neuchâtel and is another great occasion to have a good time around !

Tips & Co
(includes personal comments that may not be shared by others)

Alps - Europe's water reservoir ! there are many great day trips to be enjoyed, 2 hours travel time from Neuchâtel. One of my favourite is the Berner Oberland and an absolute must : a trip on top of the Jungfrau. Try this link for more information or this link to the Jungfrau region hotels you may want to visit to book a place

Air conditioning is rare and mostly to be found in upper scale places. Really only needed in July / August.

Bern - our capital, first written about in 1191, so well preserved, is considered one of the world's heritage. Definitely worth a visit.

And if you are at the bear-pits around lunch time, try out the Altes Tramdepot Restaurant located just behind the tourist office at the bear-pits: a micro-brewery with good food at reasonable prices.

Car rental is the best way for you to get around and see as much as possible in the few days you will be here. American citizen usually get better deals than us when booking from abroad: I was told around US$ 85.- daily or so for a compact size with unlimited mileage and all insurances and taxes. Let me know if you have better deals!

Cheese Swiss speciality that can be taken back home, packed in air tight wrapping. We have very good family-owned dairies that will provide for example excellent Gruyères, Tilsit, Emmentaler, Appenzeller but also local speciality cheeses for you to take home.

Driving is on good roads, well sign posted. We do drive a bit more "abruptly" than what I experienced in the USA but far cooler than some southern or eastern Europeans. Expect some horns and flashes if you "drag your feet"... !
In tunnels (we have many of those around), for your safety and others, switch on your headlights. In fact, leaving your lights on even during the day is mandatory by law since January 1, 2014 in Switzerland.
Overtaking from the right on highways as well as "right turns on red" are not on in Switzerland ! So do get back in the right lane right after overtaking... and look for a green or flashing orange to turn right

Finding the place where your ancestors came from, or simply preparing your drive. Use this link, pre-set for the area of Lignières. Zoom in or out, navigate left or right...

Flying into Switzerland to visit Neuchâtel county is a shorter ride through Geneva airport (1h15) than Zürich airport (2h15). However the latter may have better connections from your part of the world. Flying from the USA through Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich, London or Paris will also offer good connections to Geneva.
Enjoy (on time) train rides if you travel light - but plan to rent a car at some point - especially for touring Neuchâtel county.
Be prepared to arrive pretty tired but make the point to try and stay awake as long as possible that arrival day (until 9-10 PM at least), to recover faster from jetlag the following days !

Fondue one of our typical dish is cheese fondue and you need to try it out once. We have lots of small off-tracks and mountain farmhouses that provide simple home made cooking - also offering cheese Fondue in a typical rural environment.

Genealogy and your Heritage is one of the main reasons to come over here. However I recommend that you prepare your trip ahead of time, have all the research done so that you can spend the time trying to connect with distant cousins rather than spend your time in archives.

I can recommend a good genealogist covering the State (canton) of Neuchâtel (and who I also use for my own research).

* for records 1875 and older, ask to order and view the related microfilms of your commune of origin, at your nearest mormon chapel.

Finally, don't forget a visit to Swiss Roots, created in Spring 2006 to reach out to people of Swiss heritage and also those with an affinity to Switzerland. Through programs that foster an active dialogue between Switzerland and the USA and showcasing the best in Swiss innovation, culture, history, education and business—Swiss Roots aims to communicate with its target audience in online and offline exchanges.

Hotels are usually not a problem to find, from the small family owned, clean but simple to the deluxe version. The Neuchâtel Tourist office link below have many recommendations that you may want to choose from. I know a few and can guide your choice as best as I can : most foreign tour operators don't know or have difficulties with our smaller hotels (communication, language, distance, etc). Count around CHF 100.- to CHF 150.- per person including breakfast and taxes, over CHF 400.- if you stay in luxury places.

But for those of you Junod members from Lignières, you may prefer to stay at the Hôtel du Chasseral - located on top of the hills (4800 feet) right above Lignières, with a magnificient vew over the Alps (CHF 160.- for two) or Hôtel du Cheval-Blanc in Nods (CHF 145.- for two), the next door village (North East from Lignières) - where the Junod came from before settling in Lignières.

Information / News we read in Switzerland ? Try this Swissinfo.org site which also has links to Swiss music, Swiss Wheather forecast and also other interesting articles.

Language is French in our county but many understand German and or English in tourist areas and cities - less so in the countryside and remote valleys.

Lunch time is a privileged moment where the family meets and eats together, sharing the events of the morning. Try it : it's great ! For this, expect many places and stores to be closed during lunch time... greeting you back with a smile as of 1.30 or 2 PM again. This great tradition is unfortunately losing grounds.

Neuchâtel Tourism office has a lot to offer, from accomodations to great ideas to spend your days. Check their English web page here.

Pedestrians have the right of way on their yellow stripes : not giving the right of way to someone who seems to want to cross the road in front of you is a serious offence if caught : your could loose your driving license!

Restaurants provide local and international cuisine. I will gladly provide tips but for now, just note that in your village of origin - Lignières - Alban, the owner recently renovated his "Hôtel de la Commune", serving tasteful dishes (14 points at Gault & Millau) in what used to be a stable.

Eat in the place where your ancestors also came for a drink or see Justice being served!

You cann't miss the place, look at this picture : at the end of the main street, with the clock tower : it's there ! And if you ask nicely, he may have the time to show you the old "jail" and the magnificient carpentry work of the roof (not a single nail!).
Alban took over the restaurant from his dad in 2005 and soon received awards.

My second pick : Restaurant "L'Escarbot" down the hills from Lignières... in the old medieval village of Le Landeron: make sure and book early !

Speed traps are frequent and getting more and more unoticed: watch out on speed limits !

Stores are normally closed Saturday from about 4.30 or 5 PM and Sunday. Most of them are closed on Monday mornings; those which open then are closed Wednesday afternoon. The trend is for some selected groceries to be opened late in the evening or on Sunday morning, with railway station stores opened 7 days a week. Ask your hotel or guest for specifics. Learn more about our mentality here.

Swiss Army Knives are a nice souvenir (to be packed in your suitcase). You'll find plenty of those in town, at all prices. The only true Swiss army knife is the simple silver plated one with a red Swiss flag and without cork screw... and we never had "Swiss army watches" or other types of fancy knives as soldier...
Here is the site of one of the two most known factories that manufactures these - not far from us.

Tips are included in most bills. Tip the cab driver (a couple of francs or so), round the bill by a few percentage point (2% or 3%- or leaving a few coins - if you were particularly happy in a restaurant and as a token of appreciation : prices are "all inclusive" (even Sales tax is mostly included)

Tourism try this comprehensive site MySwitzerland.com to get more insight on planning and trip and visiting Switzerland. For Neuchatel State, don't miss our dynamic Tourism office web page !

Trains ride in any directions every hour (and often every half an hour) and are known to be on time. If your budget allows it, book First class instead of second class. It is a bit more expensive but it will provide you with less packed carriages and a more enjoyable comfort.

And for those of you who are especially contemplating using the rail on several days, rail passes (Eurail or Swissrail) are available for purchase in advance in the U.S. at very favorable rates. For details on train timetable and (local) cost, select this link.

Weather Forecast including temperatures for Switzerland can be found under this link ... and finally, here is a selection of Webcams placed in Neuchâtel State.