|Porrentruy and around|
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In the heart of the Ajoie region – the bulge of Canton Jura that sticks out into France – is the rather attractive town of PORRENTRUY. Its graceful old centre is filled with eighteenth-century buildings, while a total of nine schools and colleges lend the cobbled streets a vivacity lacking in towns twice the size. Walking 500m west from the train station brings you onto the main Grand-Rue, dotted with medieval fountains and lined with ornate facades, including the tourist office housed in the old hospital at no. 5 (Mon–Fri 9am–noon & 2–6pm, July & Aug also Sat 10am–1pm; 032/466 59 59). Following the street down to the river leaves you a few metres west of the fourteenth-century Porte de France and at the foot of the impressive château towering above. Its mighty Tour Refouss (daily 9–11.45am & 1.30–6pm; free) gives an expansive view.
HotelDe La Poste, 15 Rue Malvoisins (032/466 18 27), is a tidy little hotel in the Old Town with pleasant, quiet rooms. The same street has many pavement cafés, including jolly Aux Deux Clefs at no. 7 and the Monkey Bar opposite, which serves inexpensive crêpes (Fr.5–10). Au Faucon, 15 Rue des Annonciades, is a lively student bar, with DJs and bands in the cellar. Don’t miss Guillaume Tell, 36 Grand-Rue, a combination bistro (with terrific fondues) and patisserie: they make fresh cheesecake every Friday morning, which is as good a reason as any for spending Thursday night in Porrentruy. In November, the huge Marché de St-Martin is an excuse for scoffing vast quantities of the local pork saucisse d’Ajoie at stand-up stalls, along with plenty of local Tête-de-Moine cheese and Damassine to wash it down.
Of the places to stay, the Demi-Lune (032/461 35 31, fax 461 37 87) and Hotel du Boeuf (032/461 31 49, fax 461 38 92; b) are both clean and serviceable. If you’re in the area at the right time, don’t miss St-Ursanne’s fantastic Fête Médiévale, on a weekend in early July, with everyone in costume, medieval foods and beers on offer, minstrels and musicians, dancers, acrobats, jugglers and fire-eaters, and, to top it all, a grand Gregorian mass on Sunday morning.
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