Les Passeurs du Risoud: stories of refugees on the French-Swiss border in 39-45
A splendid moment out of time in the Risoud forest (Vallée de Joux, Jura)
Join us for a moment out of time. The Risoud Forest is full of mystery and magic; to the west of the Vallée de Joux, straddling a thousand-year-old (now French-Swiss) border, this wild region witnessed daring and discreet passages during World War II. We'll meet actors and visit places of these events during this fascinating hike
Members of the intelligence services, the resistance and hundreds of refugees persecuted by the Nazi regime crossed this border clandestinely. These fleeing women, men and children were helped by colorful characters living on both sides of the border. They worked together to help without distinction of race or religion, and to allow the exchange of information essential to the fight against the Nazi terror.
This beautiful hike through a preserved natural environment is an invitation to meet history of this region and get to know the women and men who risked their lives on steep and snowy paths. Under fire from German soldiers while fleeing from Swiss customs officers, they saved hundreds of people and wrote some beautiful pages in the history of a courageous and united humanity.
Together, we will walk in their footsteps to discover the secret passages they used and the places where they met or hided, such as "La Gare du Nord" or the "Rendez-vous des sages". Like the fugitives of the time, we will "gamb" the border wall and try to decipher its thousand-year-old history suggested by the border markers engraved with dates and coats of arms more than 500 years old, and thus evoke the history of Europe, France and Switzerland.
We will introduce you to personalities such as Victoria Cordier who, thanks to their extraordinary history and courage, will give a unique character to this trip inspired by their actions.
A large place will be given to the magnificent natural environment in which we will evolve, and to the signs wild life. The beautiful Risoud forest is the largest in one piece in Europe and a supplier of wood for violin makers all over the world. It is home to the Lynx or the Wolf, predators of the Deer, Chamois and Roe Deer that can be found there in large numbers. The Capercaillie finds a precarious refuge there, not to mention the Woodpeckers, Owls and other Toats or Squirrels.
Details of the hike and program
Start: 9:30 am at the indicated meeting point
End: around 5pm, depending on the route
Lunch: award-winning cheese fondue will be served for lunch at one of the passeurs' meeting points, with biodynamic wine and fresh espresso coffee prepared in a Mocca
Contact us for a custom trip. The hike can take place over 2 days with an overnight stay in the house of one of the passeurs we will talk about. We can also organize a visit to a watchmaking company in the Vallée de Joux and talk about the watchmaking history of the region.
Rainproof backpack (approx. 25 liters)
Personal belongings and medication, telephone
(High) hiking shoes with profiled / Vibram soles
Warm hiking clothes, at least:
1st technical layer, e.g. wool (avoid cotton), also for legs in case of low temperatures or wind
2nd warm layer with fleece jacket plus down (puff) jacket
Long pants and hiking jacket
If not waterproof: provide additional protection against rain. Evt. umbrella
Sunglasses, sun cream, hat, possibly a pair of light gloves
1 liter of water minimum, 2 liters maximum, possibly a thermos
Snacks, dried fruit, etc.
Walking sticks, camera, binoculars (recommended)
From CHF 95.- pp.
Min 4, max 8 p.
Contact us for an overnight stay in the house of one of the Passeurs.
Optional lunch: world champion cheese fondue, tea, biodynamic wine from Domaine de la Colombe à Féchy, Italian espresso coffee, CHF 30.- pp., max 6 p.
Contact us for VIP minibus transfer to the meeting point (6 passengers).
The hike is confirmed as soon as the minimum number of participants is reached, and may be postponed in case of bad weather conditions.
Payment: on site at the end of the hike. 100% of the fees are due in case of cancellation 10 days before the beginning of the tour, and 50% for 30 days
Guiding services by a professional Mountain leader with Swiss federal diploma
Guide tea and snacks / cake
Presentation of the Passeurs theme during the hike
Explanations about the region, its nature and landscape
Explanation and discovery of the border markers and their coats of arms, with a card game
Observations of fauna, flora, geology. We will discuss various aspects related to the forest and its trees, its role in biodiversity and our relationship with it
Poles as per available stock
Was die Teilnehmer über diese Erfahrung sagen
I loved the hike "In the footsteps of the 39-45 smugglers"! For someone who isn't a great fan of walking, I found the route quite accessible and enjoyable. The guide's explanations of the historical context were fascinating, and I'll remember the fondue at the "Rendez-vous des sages" for a long time to come. A must for anyone who loves walking and history.
My 15-year-old son and I were lucky enough to discover the Risoud forest with Boudewijn, with its flora, fauna, geology and magnificent landscapes, but above all its long history as a cross-border region and in particular the very difficult period of the Nazi occupation in 1940-44. Boudewijn was a perfect guide who, through his speeches, his in-depth research and the many visual aids he had prepared, was able to fascinate us and introduce us to people who behaved heroically and other players in this part of history that everyone should know about. We were 'immersed' and it was a very moving experience to share with all the participants in this highly original walk. And the superb cheese fondue we shared in the middle of nature was a much-appreciated extra. I can't recommend this wonderful experience highly enough.
Dear Boudewijn, thank you very much for the good and informative tour. The stories about absinthe and the refugees of the 2nd World War in the Risoud forest were fascinating and took us back in time. And let's not forget the fine fondue at the end.
You'll get immeasurably more from any trek if you seek out local guide and qualified mountain leader, Boudewijn van Doorn of Peak2Peace.
His passion and knowledge about the area's geology, terrain, environment and wildlife make him an essential for any mountain-escapade at any time of year.
"Why would I need a Mountain Leader?" I asked myself. "I've been hiking since I was a kid, I'm fit and I know it all. So no need for a Mountain Leader!" I thought. And then I had the chance to experience a hike with Peak2Peace and my world changed.
Boudewijn takes you in a complete new journey across mountains and nature. He makes you see everything under a new light, he shares stories and information about wild life, geology, nature and history.
Thanks to him I discovered a new, different approach to hiking and learned new things and lots of little secrets.
So today I go out as much as I can with Boudewijn as Mountain Leader because each time he takes me on an incredible, immersive, new journey in full security.