Noiraigue lies at the eastern end of the Val de Travers. Scenic highlights of the area include the naturally-formed Creux du Van amphitheatre in the largest nature conservation area in Canton Neuchâtel.
Noiraigue is derived from the French for «black water». The first written mention of the Latin place name «nigra aqua» was in 998. The name is said to derive from the marshlands in the drainage area of the karst source in the Vallée des Ponts, which often give the Noiraigue waters a dark tinge.
This village at an altitude of 729 metres in the valley basin of the Areuse River is an ideal starting point for hikes and cycling tours along the banks of the Areuse. The river’s scenic highlights include impressive torrents and the romantic ravine with its bridges, steps and pathways and the unique «Saut-de-Brot» bridge between Noiraigue and Champ du Moulin.
The immense, breathtaking horseshoe-shaped rock face of the Creux du Van marks the intersection of the rolling Jura landscape and rugged cliff in the form of a natural rock amphitheatre. Covering an area of 15.5 square kilometres, it is the largest nature conservation area in Canton Neuchâtel and the ridge awards spectacular views over Lake Neuchâtel. Guided hiking tours with information on the history of the earth, geological formation of the Jura Mountains, the Val de Travers, the Areuse Gorge, the Creux du Van and local flora and fauna are available.
The Ferme Robert, a mountain farmhouse dating from 1750, lies on the path to the Creux du Van. This is where woodman David Robert killed the last Jura bear in 1770. There are traces of the bear’s claws etched into the northern façade.
- Creux du Van nature conservation area with abundance of flora and fauna
- Areuse Gorge
- «Via Ferrata» (closed between January 1 and July 31); a hike with sections for climbers (climbing gear can be hired locally)