Easy cycling route with many opportunities to visit and swim.

Lac de Joux is the largest lake in the Jura arc and a paradise for open-air leisure activities. In summer, its altitude of 1000 metres above sea level ensures pleasant freshness and the water invites you to bathe with temperatures of up to 24 °C. The outflow from the lake is underground, and the water only reappears in the Grotte de l'Orbe near Vallorbe. There are small scheduled boats in summer. The secluded high valley is not only known for its watchmaking industry, but also for Vacherin Mont d'Or, the creamy soft cheese wrapped in a ribbon of spruce bark. But we don't buy it until after the bike tour.

We start the tour around the lake in Le Pont at its north-eastern tip and first explore the hilly western shore on Jura route no. 7. On small roads we go high above the lake to Le Lieu and then steeply down through the forest to the shore. The idyllic route takes us to the lido and finally to the small town of Le Sentier, where we can stock up on provisions or stop for a bite to eat. Alternative: If you have a reasonably robust bike and want a special kind of nature experience, take mountain bike route no. 3 to Le Lieu before Les Charbonnières. This runs between the road and the lake up into the lakeside forest and along an idyllic nature trail, always with enchanting views of the lake.

Despite repeated crises, watchmaking is the characteristic industry in the village of Le Sentier near the French border. In the rugged region of the Vallée de Joux, farmers are often also watchmakers. They have been making clocks and measuring instruments for several centuries and specialise in "movements with complications". In the museum "L'Espace Horloger" you can delve into the history of chronographs and repeater watches and learn about the production of luxury watches today. In neighbouring Le Brassus, the noble brand Audemars Piguet has its own museum.

For the way back, we circumnavigate Lac de Joux at the southern tip, called Tête du Lac, where the Orbe flows into the lake coming from France, and drive along the road on the less hilly eastern shore via Les Bioux to L'Abbaye. Here, at the latest, it is high time for a swim in the cool water.

Now it is only a few kilometres to the starting point of Le Pont with its pretty promenade, where a few restaurants and cafés tempt us to stop for a bite to eat. Here we let our eyes wander once more over the wonderful lake before it is time to return - don't forget the Vacherin Mont d'Or!

Realised by Roland Baumgartner

Pictures: Vallée de Joux Tourisme


Regional train from Lausanne via Cossonay, or from Vallorbe to Le Pont. By car via Vallorbe or over the Col du Mollendruz.

Another tip:
Mountain bike routes on Mont Risoux, Mont Tendre or the scenic Dent de Vaulion.