The old town of Berne is decorated with the colors of the Swiss Confederation for the national holiday on August 1 (Photo: LC)

Switzerland is easily accessible from all over France, whether by air, rail or road. The density of the rail and motorway networks within the country facilitates travel. For MICE organizers, cities and cantons generally offer a dedicated team to answer all logistical and organizational questions. These structures generally propose itineraries, ideas and can coordinate the reception of visitors… The circuit around the theme of watchmaking and time implies short travel times from one city to another – generally one hour by road or train. An ideal loop is to start in Lausanne, then in the cantons of Fribourg, Bern, Neuchâtel, Biel and finally Solothurn with the possibility of taking the Lyria train or the plane from the Euroairport of Basel-Mulhouse.

Getting there

The train is the most durable and fastest solution from Paris, Dijon, Lyon, Marseille or Alsace. From Paris, the TGV Lyria offers six daily trains to Lausanne with a stop in Dijon. Alternatively, you can get to Lausanne via Geneva, which is served by eight daily trains from Paris. There is also a TGV Lyria

from Marseille via Aix and Lyon to Geneva. Finally, Paris-Basel via Dijon, Belfort and Mulhouse is connected by Lyria six times a day. From Basel, there are numerous trains to Bern, Biel or Lausanne. Finally, from Alsace or the Rhône-Alpes region, TER trains also serve Switzerland (Strasbourg-Basel; Annecy/Annemasse-Geneva-Lausanne; Besançon-La Chaux-de-Fonds) Lyria provides quick access from Paris and several regional capitals to Switzerland (Photo: LC)

Air France

, Easyjet and Swiss are the main airlines serving Switzerland from France.

  • Air France offers flights from CDG to Geneva, Mulhouse/Basel and Zurich.
  • Easyjet connects Corsica, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Lille, Nantes, Nice, Paris CDG and Orly, Rennes and Toulouse to Geneva. Connections are offered from Corsica, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice and Toulouse to Basel/Mulhouse.
  • Swiss connects Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Paris CDG and since this spring Nantes to Zurich. There is also a Nice-Geneva connection.
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Getting around

Many cities offer a discounted public transportation and activity card. It is usually given free of charge to travelers staying at least one night in a hotel. This is the case in Berne, Lausanne or Neuchâtel. The conditions of use

sation vary from city to city.

The walled city of Fribourg along the Sarine River (Photo: LC)

Staying in

Switzerland The Swiss hotel industry has a reputation for quality but also for high prices. Don’t hesitate to check out the special “package deals” offered by some city tourist offices or even the Swiss National Tourist Office (https://www.myswitzerland.com/fr-ch/) or transport companies.

Lausanne – The capital of Vaud has its mythical 1900s palaces such as the Beau-Rivage Palace (https://www.brp.ch/accueil- +41 21 613 33 33) facing Lake Geneva or the Royal Savoy Hotel (https://royalsavoylausanne.com – +41 21 614 88 88), between Lake Geneva and the city center. Cheaper alternatives are the Ibis Style Lausanne Center Mad House (https://all.accor.com – +41 21 340 69 99) in the Flon district or the Swiss Wine by Fassbind, an elegant boutique hotel in the heart of the city (https://byfassbind.com/hotel/swiss-wine – +41 21 320 21 41).

Bern – There is the iconic Bellevue Palace, the prestigious Bernese address which, for more than 150 years, has welcomed the official guests of the Confederation (https://www.bellevue-palace.ch/en – +41 31 320 45 45). Antique facade and contemporary look for the Best Western Plus, with a terrace overlooking the old town (https://www.hotelbern.ch/en/ – +41 31 329 22 22). Ibis Bern Expo, a few minutes walk from the exhibition center and easily accessible by public transport (https://all.accor.com – +41 31 335 12 00).

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Biel/Bienne – A few meters from the train station, the Art Deco Hotel Elite has been recently renovated offering a contemporary atmosphere with an art deco touch. Large meeting rooms, roof top and an amazing fitness area (https://elite-biel.com/fr/ – +41 32 328 77 77). The Mercure Plaza Biel is a modern hotel in the city center with meeting rooms and a fitness center (https://all.accor.com – +41 32 328 68 68 ).

Fribourg – Behind a superb 17th century building, the Hotel de la Rose offers contemporary and elegant comfort a few meters from the cathedral and the old town. Meeting rooms and terrace (https://www.hoteldelarose.ch/fr/page/hotel.1.html – +41 26 351 01 01). Opposite the train station, the Alpha Hotel is a lovely, modern and bright three-star hotel (http://www.alpha-hotel.ch – +41 26 232 72 72).

Neuchâtel – Honor to the Relais et Château neuchatelois, the Beau-Rivage. Located along the lake, this Belle Epoque palace embodies traditional Swiss luxury with its spa and Gault et Millau-rated restaurant (https://www.beau-rivage-hotel.ch/fr/ – +41 32 723 15 15). More contemporary in style and located right on Neuchâtel’s marina in the heart of the city, the Best Western Premier Hotel Beaulac is the city’s largest establishment and offers conference rooms, a restaurant, a sushi bar and a terrace with a view of the port (https://www.bestwestern.com – +41 32 723 11 11). Since 2020, a renowned hotel school has become a hotel ideally located for business travelers, the Neuchâtel City Hotel in

Halfway between train station and old town. Contemporary design and meeting rooms (https://neuchatelcityhotel.com – +41 3 27 22 11 11).

Solothurn – Staying where Bonaparte almost slept is definitely a must at La Couronne Hotel. The boutique hotel gracefully mixes classic French and contemporary style. Seminars and meetings are possible in this historic establishment (https://lacouronne-solothurn.ch/fr/ – +41 32 625 10 10). In a historic building built in 1735 by a French architect, the Hotel an der Aare is right on the river and within walking distance of the cathedral and the train station. A charming and intimate establishment (http://www.hotelaare.ch/fr/htel/service/ – +41 32 626 24 00).

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Meetings

Swiss cities are particularly well equipped to host congresses and conferences. In addition to the traditional exhibition centers or convention centers, many more unusual places (museums, open-air spaces, art galleries, old factories) are transformed for a MICE event. The convention offices of the tourist offices offer logistical support and advice for organizers and are full of good ideas.

Switzerland – https://meetings.myswitzerland.com/fr-ch/ or international toll-free number: 00 800 1002 0030

Lausanne – https://www.lausanne-tourisme.ch/fr/business/ or coma@lausanne-tourisme.ch

Bern – https://www.bern.com/fr/business or https://www.bern.com/fr/business/services

Biel/Bienne – https://mice.j3l.ch/fr/biel-bienne-seeland/congres.html

or daniel.grosskinsky@biel-seeland.ch Fribourg – https://www.fribourg-meeting.ch/fr or contact@fribourg-meeting.ch

Neuchâtel – https://mice.j3l.ch/fr/neuchatel/congres.html or www.neuchatelcongres.ch

The stones of Hauterive give this golden hue to the houses of Neuchâtel (Photo: LC)

Around time and watchmaking

Information to organize a tour on the theme of time and watchmaking or to find contacts

Switzerland https://www.myswitzerland.com/fr-ch/decouvrir/ete-automne/ete/histoires/la-vallee-des-horlogers/

Neuchâtel/La Chaux-de-Fonds/Bienne : https://www.j3l.ch/fr/Z10403/horlogerie-horlogerie or https://explorewatch.swiss/

Biel Cité du Temps : https://www.citedutemps.com/fr/

Everything you need to know about Swiss watches, the site of the Federation of the Swiss Watchmaking Industry is full of information, figures and interesting links : https://www.fhs.swiss/fre/homepage.html

The astronomical clock of Solothurn (Photo: LC)