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Weekend in Bern
Weekend in BernPedestrian, Public Transport, 6 km, 2 days
Halfway between Basel and Lausanne, the Swiss capital seduces with its beauty, lifestyle and comprehensive middle age feel that has earned it UNESCO world heritage site status. But Berne also offers 6kms of Arcade, 11 historic fountains, a bear pit, a swimming pool in the river Aar and the Paul Klee Centre designed by Renzo Piano ...Customise this route and add it to My travel book
This centre, which opened in 2005, houses the world's most extensive collection of works by Paul Klee (1879-1940), including 4 000 oil paintings, watercolours and drawings, amounting to 40% of the artist's total output. The architecture alone – by Renzo Piano – is worth visiting. Some 200 works of art are permanently exhibited on the bright and spacious ground floor. The centre is more than a mere museum: with its temporary shows, concert hall, creative workshops and a library, it is a genuine multi-disciplinary cultural centre.
The old town of Berne, which should be explored on foot, has retained a very picturesque Middle Ages character. Its streets, some of which are pedestrianised, lined with arcades, punctuated with fountains and beautiful old houses, provide an occasion for a pleasant stroll.
This tower was the West Gate of the town in the medieval era, and has a chime which operates four minutes before each hour. The many small painted characters, including bear cubs, which march to the sound of the Jester, make it one of the best loved attractions in the city.
In the extension of Marktgasse, this more popular artery has also preserved all of its old character. You will see several attractive fountains, including that of Zähringen and that of Samson, together with the house (at No. 49) where the physicist Albert Einstein lived from 1902 to 1909, which you can visit.
Lined with attractive shops, florists' stalls and 17 and 18C houses, this elegant artery is the centre of intense activity. Note in particular the fountain of Anna Seiler and that of the Marksman.
This building, called a cathedral, is in fact a collegiate the construction of which, begun in 1421, was completed only in 1893 with the erection of the tower, the highest in the country (100m). The tympanum of the main door, made by E. Küng, is a remarkable illustration of the Last Judgement. After climbing 270 steps inside, you can reach the tower where you can enjoy a magnificent panorama over the city.
This huge garden, developed in terraces which go down as far as the river, adorned with fountains and water features, lets you admire a large variety of Alpine plants and, in the greenhouse, exotic plants.
Since the early 16C, the bears of Bern have been a popular attraction and are visited by tourists and residents of the city, who come every day, armed with treats. The bears have the run of the vast park alongside the River Aare, as well as their own bear pit, which is considered a historic monument.