The routes

Pedestrina / 5 steps / 60 km
From Morteau (F) to La Chaux-de-Fonds (CH), dive into the history of watchmaking and its smuggling past.
Pedestrian / 5 steps / 77 km
Circular walk on the French-Swiss border starting from Maîche
VTT / 7 steps / 252 km
Discover the job of the custom's officer
3 steps / 3h to 5h / 45 km
From Saint-Ursanne to Saint-Hippolyte step into the shoes of a smuggler

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The Bricotte experience

On this 77km circular walk on the French-Swiss border starting from Maîche, follow the paths trodden by a Bricottière, a past master in the art of hiding small packages of contraband.

On the way, you will experience one of contraband's most famous crossing places (les Echelles de la Mort – the steps of death) and find out more about the history of the places you pass through.

5 days following in the footsteps of small-scale smuggling

This initiation trail combines history and ingenuity. Prepare to be amazed by the numerous tricks the bricottiers used in days gone by to smuggle their contraband across the border without getting caught.

In your role as a bricottière, you need to go to Switzerland to bring back food for your family and neighbours, who are struggling during a period of famine. Hone your concealment skills as you transport your goods, taking care not to get collared by the French customs officers.

Your initiation trail around the French-Swiss border area is the perfect opportunity to discover and marvel over numerous stunning views of the Doubs. You will follow real smugglers' trails and passages such as the Echelles de la Mort, Biaufond Lake and La Rasse.


L’itinéraire de la Bricotte est une boucle au départ de Maîche.
Rejoindre Maîche depuis la Suisse

Informations sur les horaires :
Gare de Saint-Ursanne (France)
   tél. : 0 800 802 479 (Suisse)
   tél. : 0 900 300 300


Balisage commun sur l’ensemble du sentier

En France
Régional GR® 5

En Suisse


Carte IGN
3623 OT - Maîche Gorges du Doubs
3523OT - Vallée du Dessoubre

Carte Swiss Topo
1104 - Saignelégier
1124 - Les Bois
1:25’000 - Franches-Montagnes - Jura Rando


Highlights of the route

The Cendrée viewpoint and the Echelles de la Mort, Biaufond Lake.

Technical data file

As you follow this 77km circular route, you will cross the border twice before returning to your starting point at Maîche (France). Free parking is available at Maîche.

The five steps which make up the route will take you to some of Franche-Comté's outstanding tourist sites such as the Echelles de la Mort, as well as showing you the treasures nature has to offer locally: Biaufond Lake, with its submerged frontier post and the Louisots glacial combe with its specific flora including yellow gentian.

On this path, you will also see buildings which speak to us of the region's cultural and historic past, such as the tacot (tourist train) line from Maîche to Morteau, La Rasse hamlet, with its watchmaking history, and Guillots tuyé (wood smoker) farm at Bonnétage.




31lpi211l044La Bricotte - Step 1
Pinpoint this step
Maiche (France)MM - Le bois de la Biche (France)LL
DISTANCE : 12.701Km   |   ASCENT : 358 m33   |   Walking time : 3h4533

During this first step on the Bricotte path, follow the remains of the old tacot line and admire the Vallée de la Mort from Cendrée viewpoint.

On the way, explore some of the emblematic sites and see how local history has influenced the villages and landscapes.

To discover on the way

. The remains of the tacot line
. Montalembert castle
. Coteau Saint-Michel

31lpi211l044La Bricotte - Step 2
Pinpoint this step
Le Bois de la Biche (France)LL - Les Bois (Suisse)LL
DISTANCE : 17.901Km   |   ASCENT : 784m77   |   Walking time : 6h1566

This second step on the Bricotte trail takes you to the Echelles de la Mort viewpoint. Walk down these steps charged with history. Stop for a rest at Biaufond Lake and drink in the magnificent scenery. In the past, people crossed the river in small boats here. Cross the border, then follow the farmers' paths beside the Doubs, as the Bricottiers used to do.

To discover on the way

. The Trois Evêchés border post (Biaufond Lake)
. Refrain factory
. Biaufond bridge

31lpi211l044La Bricotte - Step 3
Pinpoint this step
Les Bois (Suisse)LL - Maison-Monsieur (Suisse)MM
DISTANCE : 13.901Km   |   ASCENT : 309m33   |   Walking time : 4h3044

On your way, admire Cendrée viewpoint and Fournet Blancheroche village from Roche Guillaume viewpoint. As you make your way down towards the end of this step, why not stop off for a picnic at Pélard farm and admire the unusual architecture?The step finishes at Maison-Monsieur, a former river crossing point. Here, you can visit the Sonneurs' house or take a boat trip on the Doubs.

To discover on the way

. Cul des Prés Lake
. Maison-Monsieur and the Sonneurs' house
. Bichon viewpoint

31lpi211l044La Bricotte - Step 4
Pinpoint this step
Maison-Monsieur (Suisse)MM - Bonnétage (France)BB
DISTANCE : 16.801Km   |   ASCENT : 539m55   |   Walking time : 5h1055

You are now on your way back to France! The climb begins at La Rasse hamlet, which has a strong watchmaking tradition. You then cross Fournet-Blancheroche plateau, where you will notice a few blockhouses, vestiges of World War II. Don't miss the farms with the tuyés, chimneys typical of the Haut-Doubs.

To discover on the way

. Louisots glacial combe
. Guinots tuyé farm
. Philiberts viewpoint

31lpi211l044La Bricotte - Step 5
Pinpoint this step
Bonnétage (France)BB - Maîche (France)MM
DISTANCE : 16.101Km   |   ASCENT : 36233   |   Walking time : 5h0055

The last step of the route takes you past the Dolines, geological formations typical of limestone regions. These features of the landscape resemble the peat bogs you will also see, but are in a sense a gateway to a far more mystical world. Stop off at the Faux Verger viewpoint. It offers spectacular views of the Alps and is the perfect spot for birdwatching.

To discover on the way

. Le Faux Verger
. Doline
. Creugnots peat bog

Well for walking

Office de Tourisme du Pays Horloger

Bureau de Maiche +33 (0)3 81 64 11 88 |

Tourisme neuchâtelois

Bureau d’accueil de La Chaux-de-Fonds
+41 (0) 32 889 68 95 | Envoyez un mail

. Weather
Before you leave , check the weather forecast 
Tél. : 08 92 68 02 21 -  refreshed 3 times per day
. Book your accommodation
Contact accommodation to pre book your nights 
. Take ID with you d’identité
Do not forget to take your ID as you cross the border and can be controlled. 
. Préparer sa randonnée
Obtain an adequate equipment and be sure to stay hydrated during your hike

Plan : hiking shoes, backpack, rain gear , water bottle , sunscreen, hat, first aid kit, Swiss army knife , binoculars etc ...La time set for the steps is given for information only. This is an estimate based on an actual running time, which takes into account the length and height differences . Adjust your pace. Do not go too fast, take regular breaks and take time to marvel at the beauty of nature around you !

. Respect nature
You go hiking in a privileged environment. Help us preserve it, do not throw your garbage , do not fire and do not practice ceuillette on & rsquo; itinerary . & Nbsp; You grow in an environment of low mountain and pasture . Be sure to follow the herds and wildlife . Stay on marked trails , close the portals of the enclosure, and bypass the herds especially if young individuals composing them.

©Vincent Bourrut ©Edition EC ©Laurent Cheviet ©Laurent Cheviet