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Let’s go to admire the Chess-flowers

As a result of my move, I anticipated that I would miss several non-tangible things. Among these, I must mention the Dogtooth-violet found on Vuache, but also in the Geneva basin. It was while chatting with locals that I had learned of the existence here of the Chess-flowers, which I had only seen once in my life, but outside of Switzerland. This one grows, in Switzerland, almost only on the banks of the Doubs. Would I be lucky enough to see some to make up for the lack of Dogtooth-violet? The moment seemed favourable in any case, since the flowering period is between April and May. It was during this short hike that I was able to see some.

Below Les Brenets is a very large car park which can be used to take the Saut du Doubs boat. But you can also go in the other direction and reach the small valley in which the Rançonnière flows. Beyond the border post, a good path runs along the Goudebas, a now protected marshy area. Damp and moist meadows are indeed an ideal biotope for the Chess-flowers. Quickly, I was able to observe some of them. The first seemed to have bloomed recently. Further on, they gave the impression of having already “passed”.

To avoid having to go back and forth, I continued along the valley, which turns into a gorge just before reaching the Comboles. I had already been there when I crossed from Les Planchettes to Le Locle this fall. But this time, instead of following the trail to the power plant, I went up to La Caroline. On the back above La Caroline is the Jürgensen Tower which allows you to observe all the surroundings. This tower was built on the initiative of a Danish watchmaker, hence its name.

From the tower, a small path takes you to Les Brenets by initially crossing the steep slopes under Le Châtelard. A little further, one reaches a meadow and the first houses of Brenets. Do not miss going to have a look at the old pillory of Brenets which is behind the old church.

Itinerary: Parking des Pargots – Les Goudebas – Les Comboles – La Caroline – Jürgensen Tower – Les Brenets – Parking des Pargots
Distance: 5.5km
Altitude gain: 250m
Duration: 2 hours

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