Starting in the village of Courchavon, you can take a 5-km circular path to discover a special regional plum from the Jura: the Damasson Rouge. Along the Chemin de Damas, when you reach Mormont, I recommend stopping at the Gîte la Bergerie — either for something to eat or for an overnight stay.
Damasson Rouge Plums
According to the local legend, the Crusaders brought back these fragrant little plums from Damascus (Damas in French) to what is now the Jura canton. Today, these trees grow along the Chemin de Damas. You’ll find them at places like the Gîte La Bergerie, where they’re also available for sale (when in season) along with products made from the fruit.
Damasson rouge plums are used by distillers to make Damassine, an eau-de-vie. This alcoholic beverage earned an appellation d’origine protégée (AOP) designation in 2010. You can learn about Damassine at Ô Vergers d’Ajoie, the Swiss museum of fruit and distilling, in nearby Porrentruy. This museum also has an excellent market, which sells the plums grown at its on-site orchard.
Chemin de Damas
The Chemin de Damas has a number of sites for you to take in along the path. In addition to admiring the plum trees, you can see ruins of the Châtel-Vouhay and the ancient church tower on the hillside above Courchavon. The highlight for me was my family’s visit to the Gîte La Bergerie.
Gîte la Bergerie
As you enter the village of Mormont, you will arrive at the Gîte La Bergerie. A gîte is a holiday home, oftentimes in a more rural setting. The Amstutz family manages La Bergerie, set in the Ajoie region of the Jura. There are 12 double rooms on the property, as well as overnight accommodations for larger groups. This property is also part of “Les chemins du bio,” a program that offers multiple day hiking itineraries with overnight accommodations at local organic farms.
My family and I were warmly greeted when we arrived by Mr. Amstutz and his colleagues. Even though they were busy getting ready for another event, they prepared a small snack for us to enjoy at a picnic table under a willow tree. This included a planchette with slices of Totché (a savory cream cake from the Jura) and Saucisse à la damassine.
For more information:
Courchavon is about 1 hour and 5 minutes by train from the bilingual city of Bienne / Biel. You can check the SBB website for current train times.
- Gîte La Bergerie, Famille Amstutz, Mormont 61, 2922 Courchavon, +41 (0)32 466 58 73, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sur le Chemin de Damas, Jura Tourisme
- Ô Vergers d’Ajoie, Combe Bruequelin 27, 2900 Porrentruy, +41 (0)32 466 80 03