La Brévine

Switzerland's deep freezer


An ice sculpture cut by local artists with chainsaws from the frozen Taillères lake.

The temperature in the area is measured near the Bied brook right next to the church for the national weather service, MeteoSwiss.

Ice skating on Lake Taillères.

The village of La Brévine before nightfall. It is situated at 1,043 metres above sea level in the valley of the same name. The region is close to the French border.

Shop window mannequin outside the second-hand shop Alaska (left). Reading the temperature in La Brévine (right) might send a chill down your spine.

Next stop: Journée du froid (Day of the cold snap). A bus takes passengers to the village party to celebrate the 25-year temperature record.

A television crew has set up its camera in front of the legendary thermometer which can record temperatures down to -50°C on the village square (left); the smoke billowing from a chimney promises that it's warmer indoors!

Dawn at a chilly -20°C in the Brévine valley.

In the centre of La Brévine with snow and temperatures of around -20°C.

The local cusine is known for its hearty food (left). The last course at the Cold Snap Party in the local school gym is a fondue. The cheese is kept in a pot made of bread. (right).

Shortly after sunrise at -20°C.

Claude Chédel and Ivan König offer rides through the valley in a horse-drawn sleigh.

A disco ball left over from the Cold Snap Party (left); Claude Chédel (right) has been a great fan of Russia since he was a teenager.

When a cold wind sweeps through Les Taillères at -14°C.




La Brévine is officially the coldest place in Switzerland. In 1987 temperatures in the village dropped to -41.8 Celsius. This chilly record has inspired locals in the remote region to market the image of 'Swiss Siberia'.

A local association founded last year wants to draw city dwellers to the Brévine Valley - a sparsely populated region close to the French border. The area in the Jura hills offers a bit of solitude and unspoilt nature which is increasingly rare in Switzerland. With the air at an icy -30°C, visitors are offered the chance to soak outside in a hot tub and taste a special local spirit destilled from gentian flowers. (All pictures: Tom Wüthrich)

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