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Le Doubs is a small river that separates France from this corner of Switzerland.  It is about 45 minutes from where we live.  We crossed over the Jura mountains, went through La Chaux de Fonds and Le Locle, and pass through this gap in the mountain (Le Col des Roches) to reach Les Brenets.  There is a Swiss flag suspended above the gap and a tunnel.  Beyond the tunnel is the border which is one of many quiet checkpoints in the area.  Les Brenets sits on the Swiss bank of Le Doubs.

A small river cruise boat runs from Les Brenets to an outpost on the river at which point no boat can pass because of a waterfall further downstream.  At the outpost, we crossed a bridge to the French side and walked down a path to view the waterfall.  It is a small waterfall relative to the ones we saw in Iceland, but it is surrounded by forests that are dense, dark and cool.  There are hiking paths all over the place. The French side has several souvenir shops, a beer garden and a restaurant – much more commercial than the Swiss side.  If the price were not shown in euro, one would not know that a border has been crossed.  The Swiss side has a notice about customs but there are no custom house in sight.

The river is remarkable in two respects: it is bright green – due to algae I presume – you can not see the bottom, and it apparently freezes in winter, making it one of the largest skating surface in Switzerland.  This area of Switzerland is known as Little Siberia as it is consistently the coldest in this country during winter (if the alpine peaks are not counted).


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