St. Ursanne

Saint-Ursanne, Switzerland

There’s something dark and offbeat about the Jura, Switzerland’s 26th and youngest canton. Located in a distant corner of the deep, wooded Doubs River Valley bordering France, the town of St. Ursanne embodies some of the canton’s surprising remoteness and offers a glimpse of a medieval village untouched by modernity. According to legend, the village, perched on the banks of the Doubs River, was founded by the 7th-century Irish monk Ursicinus, who was banished from Burgundy and became a hermit here. Arriving visitors will first have to cross the four-arched Doubs Bridge before getting to see the town’s medieval edifices, including 14th-century half-timber burgher houses and a 12th-century collegiate church. Climb the 190 steps to access the St. Ursicinus hermitage or a go on short, signposted hike to some castle ruins and the Doubs Nature Park.

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