La Vue des Alpes
Relais de la Vue-des-Alpes restaurant has what the name implies a view of the Alps - when the day is clear that is. Often the Alps are lost in a soft haze, but even so the countryside around this Neuchâtel to La Chaux-de-Fonds café mountain pass is beautiful. After having breakfast, lunch or dinner at this restaurant (think of it more as a café than a formal restaurant) you can walk one of the nearby trails through forest or pasture land where you may pass through a small herd of Swiss cows with the bells about their necks clanging.
The café itself is a hangout for locals, especially on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Truck drivers stop here before heading down the other side of the pass, tour buses stop from time to time giving their passengers a break, and people of Neuchâtel or other towns and villages come to have a coffee and croissant or lunch and go for a walk or hike. This is especially true on those days when fog blankets the villages in the valleys and lakeside because La Vue-des-Alpes is often blanketed in sunshine.
Dress here is always casual and the table service is lacking. You grab a tray, order your food at the counter and walk it to your table. Food includes spaghetti, fondue, sandwiches, beef or horse steak, french fries, croissants and various beverages including soft drinks, coffee, beer and wines.
On nice sunny days the café is nearly empty. Most people are eating on the café's terrace or at one of the picnic tables. Good place for kids. They can run around without bothering people too much, and run up the slopes or climb on the rocks.
During the winter skiers hit the gentle slopes just down from the restaurant. The slopes are easy and good for beginners or more experienced skiers who just want a little exercise. The ski tow is very short, but it is not expensive either. Kids often bring their toboggans to the café's parking lot and start their descent. In the immediate area are trails for cross-country skiing. One trail starts near the bottom of the ski lift. The other is just a minute driving as you pass the restaurant (if you are driving from Neuchâtel). If driving you can park your car in the parking lot off to the left if it isn't under a lot of snow.