From Basel to St-Ursanne. … continued from Grand Tour of Switzerland, day 2. Exchanging city and art for historic Swiss countryside today. Will this include famous Swiss cheese fondue? Let’s find out.
Mornings are for Kunstmuseum Basel
Our third day of the Grand Tour of Switzerland started with, what else when in Basel, Art! I could think of worse ways to start this sunny sunday.
Not only the Swiss have an on-time-reputation. We Dutchies were the first visitors to arrive at Kunstmuseum Basel. Eager to get in at 10 am. Sharp. The big reward of setting your alarm early on a Sunday morning, is an empty museum. Yours and yours alone. We can highly recommend such an early visit.
This place can be called something else, for sure. Overwhelming, both building and collection. The museum’s treasures include finest works of the Renaissance as well as the outstanding art of Picasso, Claude Monet, Paul Klee, Vincent van Gogh, Mark Rothko and many more.
In 2016, the Kunstmuseum Basel entered a new era. Last April, the museum celebrated the inauguration of its renovated main building and the new extension by Christ & Gantenbein architects, who are also responsible for the Swiss National Museum in Zürich. This new building is clearly a fresh highlight in the city’s architectural landscape.
The ensemble of the two buildings is located downtown Basel, and the Museum for Gegenwartskunst, the venue for contemporary art, is only a short walk away. With three houses, the Kunstmuseum Basel is presents an even larger and more diverse program of exhibitions now and in the future.
The spaces in the new building are huge and of impressive proportions. Being there all by ourselves, except for the guard, triggered some childhood memories. But instead of running around as fast as we could, we behaved properly and enjoyed the art in silence…
Lunch before heading to St-Ursanne
Processing this morning’s cultural feed is best done using some energy. We walked from the Kunstmuseum to Münsterplatz where restaurant Zum Isaak is located opposite the Cathedral.
Set in one of the stately houses of Basel’s old town. With two outdoor seating areas, it’s perfect for summertime people-watching. The choice is yours: a table facing The Munster, or the sunny- today really has a summer vibe – courtyard out in the back.
You can enjoy Zum Isaak for an Aperol Spritz, coffee break when wandering the streets or for a garden lunch or dinner with friends. We enjoyed the terrace but unfortunately not for long. We could have stayed and watch the city life pass by for hours but duty called. We had to rush back to the hotel, pick up our luggage and head straight to our first-class train coupé exchange Basel to St-Ursanne in the Jura. From city to countryside. A completely different atmosphere awaited us.
St-Ursanne, as Swiss as it gets
Hello, Swiss countryside. It has to be one of the prettiest little towns, and least visited one. This medieval St-Ursanne. Tucked away in the Jura Hills, very close to the French border, in a gorge carved by the river Doubs.
The old gateways are still here, along with all the necessary features for any self-respecting medieval town, an abbey church, cobbled streets and ancient fountains. Add coloured houses and Swiss flags everywhere to that for the full picture postcard.
This little village is called after St Ursinicus, an Irish monk who founded a monastery here in the 7th century we were told by our friendly guide who took us on a stroll.
We were impressed by the Abbey church and the adjacent very tranquil cloister. Could have stayed here much longer. Contemplating the Swiss way.
Not too surprisingly, being that close to the French border, that this village not only has a medieval character but also a French feel to it. Especially in summer with its terraces under the plane trees.
For dinner we were taken uphill to the Auberge de la Fontaine in Seleute about 10km from St. Ursanne, only open in July and August. A friendly lady welcomed us in a small but warm and cosy, local restaurant.
What else to eat here than a real Swiss cheese fondue in a lively setting with local families watching soccer on tv? Right.
After a lovely – but quite heavy – dish, it was time to head back to our B&B in St-Ursanne, for an early night. We need some rest to prepare for our canoe adventure along the river Doubs that awaits us tomorrow… Bon nuit!
Grand Tour of Switzerland - Day 1 Grand Tour of Switzerland - Day 2 Grand Tour of Switzerland - Day 3 Grand Tour of Switzerland - Day 4 Grand Tour of Switzerland - Day 5
This trip is an online influencers trip organised by MySwitzerland.com. We are here by invitation on behalf of Chapter Fifty and did not pay for any of the above-mentioned activities. Words, photos and opinions are my own.