By : Emma. via Instagram

Porrentruy and its hidden places

Varieux reservoir, Porrentruy's secret circuit
My twin sister and I were looking for an adventure and a nice trip for the weekend. We wanted to discover the Jura because we knew so little about this part of Switzerland. The "Circuit Secret" of Porrentruy was the ideal activity, since it combined two of our favourites things: history and hidden places.
Kim & Emma
Kim & Emma ©twinsofswitzerland


After picking up our special key at the tourist office, we headed to the castle of Porrentruy, our small plan in hand. What a lovely discovery to see these medieval streets, these pavement roads and a flowery bridge! We entered the castle through a heavy door and wooden stairs. The creaking of the steps and the stone walls set the scene. We wandered through the corridors to the chapel with its magnificent moulded ceiling. There, we watched a humorous video that tells the history of the castle (a paper version is also available for hard of hearing persons). We resumed our tour and got up in the courtyard. From there, the sight of the city was already stunning. But the highlight of the show had to be earned: it was located at the top of the Réfous tower where you can enjoy a 360° panorama. Don't miss the detour to the "prison square" to visit the dungeons…
Castle courtyard, Porrentruy's secret circuit
Castle courtyard, Porrentruy's secret circuit ©twinsofswitzerland


We left the castle for the Varieux reservoir. It is a bit further away, but it is one of the most impressive places of the tour. The door embedded in a small hill invited us in an enormous, vaulted room. A poetic movie illustrates the history of the reservoir and its importance for the town of Porrentruy. This gigantic underground cathedral is a must-see!
Varieux reservoir, Porrentruy secret circuit
Varieux reservoir, Porrentruy secret circuit ©twinsofswitzerland


Heading back to the tour, we strolled through the streets of Porrentruy and visited the alleyway, where they used to put pigs and onto the latrines opened. Its width was calculated to allow these animals that are unable to move backward to turn around!
The venelles or the piggy alley, Porrentruy's secret circuit
The venelles or the piggy alley, Porrentruy's secret circuit ©twinsofswitzerland


The Circuit Secret of Porrentruy would be incomplete without a visit of the Hôtel-Dieu and its ancient cool box. At the bottom of the well, which was used to store goods with blocks of ice, you can now see the mythical "Vouivre du Jura": a cross between a bird and a snake, she is the guardian of hidden treasures.
Hotel-Dieu and its cooler, Porrentruy's secret circuit
Hotel-Dieu and its cooler, Porrentruy's secret circuit ©twinsofswitzerland


From the courtyard, you also access LePIRE (meaning "Le Palais Incongru des Raretés Étonnantes"), the Plonk et Replonk museum, for free. These famous and humorous artists of the Jura take us in their absurd universe where every object tells an incongruous and twisted story.
The Plonk & Replonk museum, Porrentruy's secret circuit
The Plonk & Replonk museum, Porrentruy's secret circuit ©twinsofswitzerland


After this touch of humour, our stroll ends at the Fondation horlogère. The Watchmaking Foundation is an important pillar for the Jura arc. This foundation's mission is to recall the history of watchmaking through archive documents, books, watches and clocks. It houses the last station of the Circuit Secret. Thanks to an ingenious mechanism, a wall projection is activated. It tells the history of Porrentruy, from the dinosaurs to the present day. A crank can be turned to scroll through different stories about Porrentruy. We almost feel like we can master time!

It is on this historical note that our adventure on the Secret Tour of Porrentruy ends. My twin sister and I left the Jura delighted... and eager to return!
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Urban visits | The Porrentruy Circuit Secret is a special way of visiting the old town. Book your tickets and set off to discover hidden places!