Fribourg | Swiss Tour 2020
Updated: Jan 16
We discovered this wonderful city and the medieval charm to its Old Town and we really fell in love with Fribourg!
We parked the car easily in the central car park and set off to pick up our tickets for the day. We met with lovely Elise at the Tourist office who has put together a great programme for us and hurried off to the first activity on our agenda.
Just outside the tourist office is the tourist train which you can hop on and off around the city. We plugged in the headphones we had been given and settled in to enjoy the ride. Fribourg is set in a valley with upper and lower parts to the city and the train was a really practical way for us to get the lie of the land. We rose above the city to enjoy the view below us over the river and the ramparts and we loved learning about the history of the notable buildings. Jude was really interested in the ancient prison and Alba was jumping with excitement as we past some donkeys.
The journey was just so beautiful, and Fribourg is a place where vibrant city and green countryside seem somehow intertwined. I really enjoyed learning about the architecture and the beautiful fountains which dotted the route. We got off the train in the centre of town where it was a short walk to the market.
We have lived in a very small village for the last four years and had almost forgotten the joy of a bustling Saturday market so it was great for us to get stuck in and explore this exciting part of the city. We have to keep an eye on Alba in such situations as the combination of lots of things she would like to eat, plus people to watch and dogs to chase means that she has a tendency to drift off! Jude was happy to soak up the sights and smells of the market and we took our time strolling around.
The next part of our visit was the Espace Jean Tinguely Niki de Saint Phalle which was a short walk from the market. It was a real treat for the children especially the largest structure called "Retable de l'abondance et du mercantilisme" which is made of things found at the rubbish dump including and old tricycle, soft toys and all you can see on the picture below. It’s a real feat of engineering with lights and lots of moving parts to look at. Elio was mesmerised by it and we had to pull Jude and Alba away when it was time to leave. Alba also really loved the golden horse sculpture and we spent quite a while examining that. It’s a great way to introduce the subject of waste to the children who were shocked that all these items had been thrown away.
By this time, tummies were rumbling and we headed to the restaurant for lunch. The café du tunnel where we had a reservation is located in the heart of the market and we were given a table outside where we could enjoy the band playing opposite us. During the time we visited it was the fête du Benichons and we decided to try the special menu for the occasion which included a delicious slow cooked ham and sausage dish with cabbage and potatoes, followed by meringues and cream.
The children enjoyed their lunch and we felt well fortified for the next part of our trip which was the urban golf around the city. We were given our clubs and balls at the restaurant and set off downhill to begin the course. The walk was lovely, if a little steep, down a cobbled street with steps to one side but you can also take the funicular to go up and down the hill. We found the first hole and enjoyed watching each other’s attempts to get the ball in the hole...Alba was a bit too violent and Jude was a bit too gentle but we got there in the end :-).
The golf course is well designed and takes you through some lovely parts of the city and along by the river. We stopped to explore the impressive ramparts as we past and Jude and Jean climbed the steps to discover the view from the top. The sun was still shining as we meandered around the course and it was a really great way of discovering the city without exhausting the children too much as they enjoyed looking out for the next hole and it really kept them moving. We definitely recommend this activity with children.
We enjoy country life these days but I found myself thinking that I could happily live in Fribourg as it really combines the best of both worlds with all the shops and amenities you expect in a city, rich with history and culture, and also the feeling of still being only a few steps away from the green spaces of the countryside.
We were kicking ourselves for not having visited sooner but it’s firmly on the list for another visit.
We rather ran out of time but have a list of things we would like to try on another visit including the museum of Marionettes, the St-Nicholas Cathedral and the outdoor swimming pool in the summer months.
A truly beautiful place to visit.
Fribourg Tourisme et Région
Place Jean-Tinguely 1
Here is the very useful city-map: https://static.mycity.travel/manage/uploads/7/37/60536/1/plan-a3.pdf
Visit Fribourg in 1 day ! The Fribourg City Card is a card that gives you access to the medieval city of Fribourg at a low price! Fribourg and its tourist attractions are to discover without moderation. Visit Fribourg in 1 day or 2, depending on the length of your stay!
Day card 1 day Winter (01.11 - 31.03) Adults15.- CHF / Children (6 - 16)5.- CHF
Day card 2 days Winter (01.11 - 31.03) Adults25.- CHF / Children (6 - 16)10.- CHF
The holder of Fribourg City Card will benefit of plenty of activities, such as entrances in museums, a little train ride or playing the Urban golf for a reasonable price. It is definitely worth to buy the card! List of the free services for each cardholder: - Free access on the Frimobil network zone 10 - Funicular: unlimited access - Free access on the little train (from April to October) - 1 ride on the mini train of the Chemin de fer du Gottéron (Sommer) - 1 game of bowling - 1 game of Urban Golf - 1 admission to the tower of the Cathedral (from April to October) - 1 admission to the Motta swimming pool (from Mai to September) - 1 admission to the Levant swimming pool - 1 admission to the Art and History Museum - 1 admission to the Espace Jean Tinguely - Niki de Saint Phalle - 1 admission to the Fri-Art Contemporary Museum - 1 admission to the Gutenberg Museum - 1 admission to Chemins de fer du Kaeserberg - 1 admission to the Bible + Orient Museum - 1 admission to the Sensler Museum (Tavel) - 1 admission to the Chemins de fer du Kaeserberg - 1 admission to the Swiss Puppets Museum Open to all and free of charge: - Natural History Museum - Botanical Garden - Cantonal and University Library - Fountain challenge