Visiting lake shore villages in the French-speaking Romandie region of Switzerland feels like a little foreign holiday.
The lakes in Switzerland are a great draw for many people: whether for the picturesque views, fishing, boating or for enjoying nature. Lac de Neuchâtel is the largest lake lying entirely in Switzerland and is mainly within the French-speaking Romandie region. Away from towns like Neuchâtel and Yverdon-les-Bains, the shore is heavily lined with reedbeds: the flatter, more rolling landscape is as much a part of my image of Switzerland as the high peaks of the Alps.
Dotted along the shore line of the lakes – particularly on the more rural southern shore of Lac de Neuchâtel – are small villages and small towns, interspersed with camp-sites and marinas. There are plenty of jetties and quays, with attractive promenades at Estavayer-le-Lac, Chevroux, Delley-Portalban and Cudrefin. There is a very distinct character to these places: in the absence of a maritime seaside, they are a typically Swiss-tidy, francophone version of British fishing villages, where so much of the character of the town is based around a single industry and focused towards the lake. From the little parks next to the lake, French-looking orderly lines of trees, little fishermen’s bars and large boat yards, visiting this area for the day feels like a brief foreign holiday.