Au Bateau

Launched in 1912 and retired in 1969 the old side wheel paddle steamer Neuchâtel became the restaurant Au Bateau - but no more. After a few years the restaurant closed its doors or I suppose you would say, battened its hatches. Now the boat is just an old ferry floating in Neuchâtel's harbor. But not for long perhaps. To bring the ferry up to tip-top sailing shape for lake voyages would take 15 to 20 million Swiss francs. An organization has now been formed to raise the funds.

The Neuchâtel is a beautiful reminder of Swiss days of old when the paddle wheelers hissed, and churned white water pass their hulls. You could see and hear them coming from afar by the tall plumes of black smoke rising from their stacks, and the shriek of white steam sounding from their whistles. Steam locomotives of the lakes is what they were. They will remind us of of the time when life was a little slower and more glamorous. "The Neuchâtel's sister ship, the Fribourg, was built in 1913 and retired about four years earlier in 1965. The Neuchâtel is docked at one of the pier's at Neuchâtel's port, which is just on the other side of the main post office.