Porrentruy

Welcome to - Jurassic Parc !

Traces of dinosaurs dating from 150 million years have been discovered near Porrentruy during the construction of the A16 motorway. Spread over several searching sites, some 13,000 prints of theropods and sauropods have been found. The dinosaurs were living in herds on what used to be a beach by the Jurassic sea. Some prints indicate that some of them were more than 30 metres long. Some of theses prints are now visible on a path open to visitors.

The site is now easily reachable like most of Porrentruy as the new Bellfort-Montbeliard TGV station put the sleepy little town only three hours away from Paris and closer to Lyon, Lille, Frankfurt or London.

Belfort-Montbeliard TGV station put Porrentruy closer to Paris - © Ville de PorrentruyParis-Porrentruy  : 3 hours - © Ville de Porrentruy13  000 dinosaur prints were found - © Ville de Porrentruy
No previous stage
Population: 6,700
Commune of the Jura canton (Switzerland)Economy : civil services, trade, cantonal bank of Jura.
Specialities : damassine (plum liquor). Ajoie sausage, totche (pie).
Sport : HC Ajoie (ice-hockey).
Celebrities : Robert Caze, Auguste Viatte, Jean-Paul Pellaton (writers).
Festivals : Rock’Air (August), World of colours (June).
Labels : Wakker prize 1988. 

Timeline

  • Early Middle-Ages

    The town belongs to the counts of Alsace.
  • 968

    The land passes over tot the monks of Moutier-Grandval. A church is dedicated to St Germain.
  • 999

    Rudolph III of Burgundy gives the abbey to the prince bishops of Basel, who will rule the region until the French Revolution.
  • 1283

    Rudolph of Habsbourg liberates the town, occupied by Reginald of Burgundy, and grants the population a charter fixing their liberties.
  • 1527

    Driven away by the Reformation, the prince bishop of Basel makes Porrentruy his capital.
  • 1570-1608

    Prosperity in the reign of prince-bishop Jacques-Christophe Blarer of Wartensee.
  • 1792

    The last reigning prince is driven away by the French Revolution. Porrentruy becomes sub-prefecture of the Haut-Rhin department.
  • 1815

    Congress of Vienna. After the collapse of Napoleon’s empire, the former bishopric of Basel is integrated in the canton of Bern.
  • 1947

    Moeckli scandal. The high council of Bern rejects the nomination of Jurassian Georges Moeckli as Public Works Minister, claiming that such a high post cannot befall a Romand. Shocked Jura inhabitants launch a separatist movement.
  • 1974

    Creation of the canton of Jura. Seven districts chose to belong to the new canton, while three southern districts (Moutier, Cortelary and Le Neuveville) decide to stay in the canton of Bern.
  • 1978

    - The Swiss people and all the cantons accept the new canton in the Swiss Confederation. It consists in three districts (Delemont, Porrentruy and Franches-Montagnes).
  • 1994

    Creation of the Inter-Jurassian Assembly (AIJ) to solve the problem posed by the three Jura cantons still part of the canton of Bern.
No previous stage
Population: 6,700
Commune of the Jura canton (Switzerland)Economy : civil services, trade, cantonal bank of Jura.
Specialities : damassine (plum liquor). Ajoie sausage, totche (pie).
Sport : HC Ajoie (ice-hockey).
Celebrities : Robert Caze, Auguste Viatte, Jean-Paul Pellaton (writers).
Festivals : Rock’Air (August), World of colours (June).
Labels : Wakker prize 1988. 

Porrentruy and cycling

The Franco-Swiss stages sometimes carry a lot of weight in the race’s scenario when the Tour goes there. This was the case for example, in 2009 in Verbier, when Alberto Contador dealt a decisive blow to his rivals; or going back a bit further to Crans-Montana, the resort where Laurent Fignon maintained his advantage over Bernard Hinault in 1984. As it so happened, several weeks earlier, the title-holder had won a stage in Porrentruy, where the Tour de Romandie goes regularly. The first finish of the Romand Tour in town must have been a classic since it saw the victory of Hugo Koblet in front of Ferdi Kubler.

More recently a prologue won by Italy’s Marco Pinotti was organised there in 2010, whereas the finish of the last straight stage in 2006 favoured America’s Chris Horner.

Last year, a Tour de l’Avenir stage from Gerardmer finished in Porrentruy.

 

Tour de l’Avenir 2011 - © A.S.O.
No previous stage
Population: 6,700
Commune of the Jura canton (Switzerland)Economy : civil services, trade, cantonal bank of Jura.
Specialities : damassine (plum liquor). Ajoie sausage, totche (pie).
Sport : HC Ajoie (ice-hockey).
Celebrities : Robert Caze, Auguste Viatte, Jean-Paul Pellaton (writers).
Festivals : Rock’Air (August), World of colours (June).
Labels : Wakker prize 1988. 

What to see

The castle

The Porrentruy castle, former residence of the princes bishops of Basel is an imposing building formed with constructions dating from the 13th to the 18th century. The older part is the main tower, now isolated, known as the Refous Tower. A few remains of the 14th century walls subsist in the northern and western parts. A chapel belonged to the Gothic elements in the courtyard but it was demolished in the 19th century.

The sumptuous furniture from 1460 was destroyed by fire a century later. New building were built by Jean and Nicolas Frick in the reign of prince-bishop Jacques-Christophe Blarer of Wartensee. The north wing was also built in 1588-91. It is remarkable in its clarity and unity. The Treasure Tower stands to the south of the yard. The Rooster Tower, from the early 17th century, drew its name from the blazon of the Blarer family. Renovations were undertaken in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The castle became a pensioner’s home in 1837 then an orphanage and an agriculture school. Bought by the State in 1932, it was turned into barracks before becoming the headquarters of the prefecture in 1961. Since 1979, the castle is home to several cantonal administrations.

Town Hall 

The elegant building in the heart of town was the work of Pierre-Francois Paris (1761-64) combining French and German influences. The facade and its three levels is made of cut stone. The central part and the two lateral parts are surrounded by plate walls. The building is topped by a picturesque balustrade. The central part sticks out discreetly and is prolonged by a pediment crowned with a cupola and a slender campanile sheltering a 1455 bell. The public clock, mentioned as early as 1413, is the work of a Neuchatel craftsman. Its clockwork, placed under the roof, date from 1760, shortly before the building. 

Market Hall

Surrounded by the houses of the town centre, the market hall is one of Porrentruy’s places of interest. In 1766, prince-bishop Simon-Nicolas of Montjoie had the place rebuilt and since the castle was not big enough, had a room constructed on top of it to host foreign visitors. The hall was restored between

Castle of Porrentruy - © Ville de PorrentruyTown hall - © Ville de PorrentruyHotel-Dieu - © Ville de PorrentruyPorrentruy from the castle - © Ville de Porrentruy
No previous stage
Population: 6,700
Commune of the Jura canton (Switzerland)Economy : civil services, trade, cantonal bank of Jura.
Specialities : damassine (plum liquor). Ajoie sausage, totche (pie).
Sport : HC Ajoie (ice-hockey).
Celebrities : Robert Caze, Auguste Viatte, Jean-Paul Pellaton (writers).
Festivals : Rock’Air (August), World of colours (June).
Labels : Wakker prize 1988. 

The legend of the Boar

The arms of Porrentruy represent a boar, which became the symbol of the city thanks to a legend that deserves to be told. The boar, a symbol of boldness and courage, has often featured on the arms of cities. And it is a common animal in the Porrentruy region, in which hunters keep tracking him in the winter.

The legend is more lyrical: “In the old days, a singular beast (a boar), running flat out, its tail in the air and its mouth wide open, crossed the city walls as if they were a modest enclosure.”

The story tells the many events which followed and which led to the killing of the beast by an axe thrown from a window by a brave citizen. The boar finally collapsed in front of the Town Hall. The event led the municipal authorities to the conclusion that the walls ware probably not high enough and they voted to have them “pushed to a more imposing height”. The boar had acted as a revelatory and the town council also decided to make the animal the mascot of the city of Porrentruy. The flags and official documents from then bore the picture of the furious boar that, one day, saved the town from future invasions.  

Porrentruy blazonThe boar of Porrentruy - © Ville de Porrentruy
No previous stage
Population: 6,700
Commune of the Jura canton (Switzerland)Economy : civil services, trade, cantonal bank of Jura.
Specialities : damassine (plum liquor). Ajoie sausage, totche (pie).
Sport : HC Ajoie (ice-hockey).
Celebrities : Robert Caze, Auguste Viatte, Jean-Paul Pellaton (writers).
Festivals : Rock’Air (August), World of colours (June).
Labels : Wakker prize 1988. 
video08/07/2012 

The towns 2012 : visit Porrentruy

Jersey wearers after the stage 5

Classifications after the stage 5

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