Hotel L'Aubier is not to far from where my wife used to go horseback riding. She has a bad back, so I went with her to the stables to saddle and bridle her horse. Mind you I don't know how to ride a horse, but I can saddle and bridle a horse like a pro - well, maybe not a pro, but good enough to make the horse and rider feel comfortable. My wife rode the horse trails through the forest, along the small windy country roads and across farmland for the next one or two hours. Near the stables I sat on a stone bench under a large tree and meditated on the Swiss alps biting the horizon with their razor teeth or watched the sailboats and ferries on Lake Neuchâtel in the foreground, white specks on a blue canvas. Sometimes I read a book under that tree or if I felt really ambitious swept out the horse barn using a stick broom. This was not my responsibility, but I liked the physical activity, the smell of horses and hay, and the beams of slanted sunlight reflecting off the airborne dust created by my broad sweeps of the broom.
When Jill returned from horseback riding she, still dressed in her riding pants and high black riding books, and I got into our car and drove five minutes to L'Aubier Hotel in the little rural community of Montezillon. You can't really call this a town or even a village for it is really just a small cluster of buildings on the Jura foothills, a few houses, a farm or two and the hotel.
Hotel L'Aubier has a small cafe and restaurant and a gift shop. We like checking out the gift shop first. The gifts are usually of good design, often colorful, and the kind of stuff you don't see everywhere. We rarely bought anything. Our apartment is small and we have enough filling it, but we like to please our eyes.
Afterwards we walked down the stairs to the cafe and restaurant. I mention both because you can come to Hotel L'Aubier for a simple cup of chocolate, coffee or cappuccino or you can come for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In the cold winter months you can sit around the fireplace, which stands in the middle of the room or have a seat by the windows and allow your eyes to breath in the green of the countryside, the blue of the lake and the white of the alps.
Jill doesn't ride Gingerbread any longer. The horse died. However, we still go for coffee at at Hotel L'Aubier. You may see us sitting in the corner on a rattan couch, talking and sipping our coffee. If I go alone, as I sometimes do, a book will be in front of my face.
The atmosphere of Hotel L'Aubier is calm and relaxing. The forty rooms are simple and attractive and have great views. To get to the hotel from Neuchâtel you drive about ten minutes heading in the direction of Rochefort and Pontarlier. You will be going uphill nearly the whole way on a two lane paved windy country highway, and soon pass through farmland . Keep an eye open for a small sign that says Montezillon. You will be making a right through a grove of trees onto a one lane paved road. It is easy to miss. If you reach France you've gone too far. Make a U turn and go back about forty minutes. If you did make the right as you were supposed to do the hotel is on the right about a one minute drive up the hill. You will see a small parking lot in front.