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La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

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La Chaux-de-Fonds, SwitzerlandLa Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
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La Chaux-de-Fonds is the biggest city in Neuchâtel canton, on the northwestern part of Switzerland. It covers 55.66 sq km (21.49 sq mi) and has a population of 37,500 people (2011 estimate). The city is situated in the Jura mountains, at an altitude of 1000 m (3,281 ft) above sea level, just a few kilometers from the border with France.

The Grande Fontaine in La Chaux-de-FondsThe Grande Fontaine in La Chaux-de-Fonds
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La Chaux-de-Fonds is the third-largest city in the French-speaking Romandy region of Switzerland after Geneva and Lausanne. It is regarded as the cradle of the Swiss watchmaking industry. It was here that watch making - until then a cottage industry in neighboring Le Locle - grew into a mainstay of the Swiss economy.

A major fire in 1794 was a blessing in disguise for La Chaux-de-Fonds, as it allowed the city to rebuild itself in a grid pattern, taking advantage of the calamity to optimize itself for watch making. The town planning of La Chaux-de-Fonds is one of the reasons for it to be made a World Heritage Site, along with Le Locle.

La Chaux-le-Fonds has produced a number of famous people include the famous architect Le Corbusier (born as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret), who pioneered modern architecture and car maker Louis Chevrolet.

The International Museum of Watchmaking in La Chaux-de-FondsThe International Museum of Watchmaking in La Chaux-de-Fonds
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Visiting La Chaux-de-Fonds

While La Chaux-de-Fonds has a small airport called Les Eplatures, it may be more practical to take a train there from Geneva or Lausanne. Within the city itself, there is a trolleybus service.

Sights & Attractions in La Chaux-de-Fonds

  1. Musée International d'Horlogerie
    This museum of watchmaking was created through a donation from the Gallet watchmaking family in 1899. It showcases some 3,000 timepieces and provides a glimpse into the history of timekeeping.

The Old Armoury, La Chaux-de-FondsThe Old Armoury, La Chaux-de-Fonds
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