Greengrocer and Weighing Fruit, Place des Halles

Farmers, fish mongers and cheese makers have been selling their wares from the town's market square centuries ago, and today they still do. Merchants weigh, and sell their produce, most of it grown in the immediate area, and townspeople nudge by one another choosing ripe tomatoes from this stall, onion and radishes from another.

Some of the foods are imported. Broccoli is often imported from Spain, and zucchini from Morocco, especially during the winter. Olives and bottles of oil may come from Italy, Greece or southern France as may the bottle of wine that will go with the evening meal.

Fruit and Vegetable Stall

Mixed Vegetables

Open markets like these are one of the many reasons we moved to Switzerland. We gladly left the huge supermarkets with their sprawling parking lots for an intimate cobble-stoned town square with stalls piled with fresh produce, cheeses displayed and ready to cut, tables of local wines and bottles of fresh local fruit and fruit syrups.

Isn't this the way life is supposed to be lived, mixing with fellow townspeople, inquiring a farmer the prices of his radishes, a fishmonger what he suggests your dinner, and all out in the fresh crisp air in winter and the warm breezes of summer?

Bass Player, Neuchâtel.

Boulangerie A.R. Knecht

After shopping you can sit at one of the outdoor tables of the Boulangerie A. R. Knecht, drink a bowl of coffee, munch a pain chocolat (a bread roll or croissant baked around a bit of chocolate) and watch a sight that as gone on in this square for many generations.

The activity of the market place is the first thing that grabs your attention, but check out the exceptional architecture ringing the square. Many of the buildings date from the 1500s to 1700s. The building with the audacious tower is fine architecture with exceptional reliefs. At one time grain merchants sold their goods on the bottom floor while cloth merchants bargained on the floor above. Today each floor houses a restaurant.

Alphorn Musician