Located 25 mi/40 km west of Bern, Neuchatel is truly a sparkling little city—its buildings of yellow sandstone glitter in the sun. It's also the cantonal seat, situated at the foot of the Jura Mountains on one of the largest lakes in Switzerland. The city is acclaimed academically because of its outstanding prep schools and university. It's also said that the purest French spoken in Switzerland is spoken in Neuchatel.

At the Art and History Museum, ask if you can see the androids—three mechanical puppets built in 1774 that are so fascinating, they were invited to perform in the courts of 18th- and 19th-century Europe. In tiny towns clustered throughout the canton, Swiss clocks and watches are made.

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