Every week we say we’ll try and get our weekend outing organised well in advance, and almost every weekend we are still scouting the internet the night before to try and find somewhere to go.
This weekend it was getting late and we still hadn’t decided where to go on Sunday so I went to bed leaving Jean to make the executive decision that we should try Gorges de l’Areuse in canton of Neuchâtel.
So the following morning, we packed a picnic and off we set. Jean had read that there were various places to park the car in order to reach the gorges and we chose to start at Champs de Moulin (Hôtel de la truite - it's a private parking so make sure to at least have a drink there) which is a charming village where we discovered cows strolling around freely with bells jingling. We set off following the river which led us into the forest and from the minute we stepped under the trees it was clear that this was going to be a special experience.
As you descend further into the gorges the views are breathtaking. There are lots of bridges which give you an extraordinary view of the waterfalls and incredible rock formations around you. It’s nicely shady and honestly every turn, every set of steps and each bridge yields another spectacular sight.
We pressed on, mainly downhill with the aim of reaching Boudry which took about 2 hours. By this point Jude was starting to complain and my back was beginning to hurt from carrying 10kilos of jiggling, hair pulling Alba on my back so we decided to eat our picnic and plan the return journey.
We had two options (well three if you include calling a taxi which was my favourite option at that point!): we either went back the way we came which would have involved lots of climbing up steep steps, or walking back along the road to join the path running alongside the gorges.
We opted for the latter. It was a bit of a steep walk back to the gorge road and we were happy to find the shade of the forest again. We managed to improve Jude’s spirits by talking about his impending birthday, school and stories of childhood mischief with my siblings and he did us proud by managing the whole trek with only a small amount of serious dissent.
The path we took did take us back into the gorge again so we didn’t completely avoid all those steps but eventually we arrived back at Champs de Moulin and collapsed at a table of the busy restaurant for a drink before dragging our feet back to the car.
It’s a glorious, shady walk through beautiful scenery and there are plenty of places to stop for picnics or pause and take a break.
Without the added weight of the children I think we would have found it quite easily manageable and it’s fair to say the route along the river isn’t pushchair friendly with lots of deep steps narrow routes and gnarly roots everywhere but the road path was easier.
Just important to check carefully where is takes you before setting out. We wouldn’t recommend trying this walk in the rain or when it’s wet underfoot as the path was just mud in lots of places and the wooden steps would be slippery. Jude did a great job but I’d have been worried about a smaller child walking it as a lot of the bridges were open and the fences around the more dangerous parts weren’t always terribly stable.
In summary we would wholeheartedly recommend this experience. Just try and do it before winter really sets in :-)
Parking : Yes - Hôtel de la Truite
Toilets : No
Baby Change Facilities : No
Accessibility : Not suitable for pushchairs