Highlights: Basel, Mariastein Abbey
Overview of the entire Route 7 (Jura Route: Basel–Nyon)
The Jura Route (about 280km, from Basel to Lac Léman) runs along the eastern Swiss border with France, and mostly at an altitudek of about 1,000m (min 300m, max 1,300m). It has a varied and peaceful landscape with meadows, forests, rivers and isolated medieval villages (of note St-Ursanne). The contemplative ride is then interrupted at La Chaux-de-Fonds, a bustling town and capital of the Swiss watchmaking business. The only lake of the Route is Lac de Joux at the foot of the Jura.
SwitzerlandMobility.ch (veloland.ch/en/routes/route-07.html) divides Route 7 into 6 Sections for a total of 280km.
Route 7: Section 1 (Basel 266m–Courgenay 543m)
Stats from SwitzerlandMobility.ch (veloland.ch/en/routes/etappe-01600.html): 56km, height difference Basel–Courgenay 840m (560m in opposite direction). Their site has the full profile.
I biked this Section in the opposite direction because Basel has many more trains for my return home.
From Courgenay to Mariastein, the Route was completely immersed in nature and mostly on a hilly forested road. Best was the part along the border-stream La Lucelle, where I even spotted a flying stork!! Here, the road crisscrosses back and forth between the Swiss and the French border, but it has very low traffic and is very peaceful. Because of the forest, there were almost no panoramic views of the Jura.
From Mariastein to Basel the road becomes busier and the landscape progressively more urban.
Mariastein (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariastein_Abbey) is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Switzerland, known as early as the 14th century. The Abbey church/basilica (completely restored) is from the 17th century and is run by the Benedictine brotherhood.
It is an imposing landmark over the little village. Another touristic site is the Chapel of Grace (15th century), underground just below the Abbey church.
Basel (myswitzerland.com/en-ch/basel.html) (basel.com/en/Sightseeing)
(also crossed by 3:01, 2:09, and European bike routes #5 & 6)
Basel is Switzerland’s number one cultural getaway and definitely a must-see city in this country. I spent the little time I had, biking through the gorgeous and meticulously kept Old Town and some of the historic landmarks: 1) Basler Cathedral (late Romanesque-Gothic) made of red sandstone walls and its large square; 2) The large market square next to the Cathedral ; 3)The Spalentor (15th century), the best among the 3 remaining city gate. 4) Here is also the oldest bridge on the Rhine between Lake Constance and the North Sea (The Mittlere Brücke); 5) Tinguely Fountain with its machine-sculptures (made of black iron) spouting water in various directions like in a dance.
Unfortunately, I missed the Marktplatz (market place) with the City Hall (Rathaus, 14th century), because I got lost navigating the meandering streets of the old town. But this is supposed to be one of the highlights of Basel, with its red stones and beautiful decorations.
Here are the links to the Introduction and other sections of Route 7:
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