You probably arrived at the Vallée de Joux by car, by train or maybe even by bike or on foot!
Train lines arrived from Vallorbe into the Vallée as of 1886. Their construction had been decided by the ice company of Le Pont which had its quarters near the lake of Brenet in 1879. They considered that such heavy and bulky charge should not be transported by carriers and horses from Vallorbe to Croy because these transports used to ruin the streets. Using the rail seemed much more adapted. This project was soon taken up by a company called the Railway Le Pont-Vallorbe. The line was built within two years, starting in 1884. It brought with it the digging of the tunnel of Les Epoisats.
A navigation company was founded in 1889 which made it possible, though irregularly, to get to the other side of the Vallée with a little steamer called ‘Caprice’. At the same time, a stagecoach service went both ways within the valley.
The rail line Le Pont - Les Brassus, a direct extension of the line Le Pont-Vallorbe, was inaugurated in 1899. The line Vallorbe-Le Brassus offered a widely appreciated service of the area, even though one must also state that they often found themselves in deficit position due to the high maintenance cost linked to mobile and fixed material exposed to tough mountain climate.
Soon after this last leg became operational, the stagecoach service on the west bank of the river was discontinued. It continued its service on the other side of the riverbank which wasn’t connected to the railway yet. It was replaced by the services of the car transport company of the Vallée de Joux (AVJ) as of 1920.
The street was nevertheless of first priority. You can get to the valley through the Mollendruz pass from Mount-la-Ville, through the one from Pétra-Félix, from Vaulion?–?and the two streets join on this site. You can also reach it by going through the pass of Mont d’Orzeires, starting from Vallorbe and passing through a border passage called Poteau (pole) as well as the important French village of Mouthe along the villages of Charbonnière or Séchey.
At the far west of the valley, a road leads to Bois-d’Amont – Les Rousses to the Vallée, whereas a direct way to the plains from Les Brassus can be taken through the pass of Marchairuz. This road was built in the middle of the 18th century. For many years, it was closed during winter because of heavy snowfall on its higher parts, but now, it is open all year.
Let us note that the junction with Vallorbe used to be reached through the street of Les Epoisats which follows the base of the Dent de Vaulion. You can see a segment of this old street during your Romantic walkway. The landmarks that bordered the street can still be seen when ascending the church.
The difficulty to maintain such a network of transports during the winter, streets and rail alike, must have been considerable. But with enough determination, they always managed to disengage the way. We must note nevertheless that in the beginning of 1907 and due to enormous snowfall, the train was blocked for four days in Les Brassus, from 2nd to 6th February. Many pictures witness of these exceptional days during which the number of workers equipped with a shovel was simply amazing.
Nowadays, our trains and buses offer efficient services in all situations.
One of the ‘visitors’ of that time, in the beginning of the 20th century, wrote the following in a moving and grateful letter he sent to his hosts :
The Vallée de Joux, sojourn of good days !
The Vallée de Joux is formed by three municipalities : Le Lieu – L’Abbaye — Le Chenit.
The village Le Pont, as well as the villages of L’Abbaye and Bioux, band together as the municipality of L’Abbaye whose creation dates back to 1571, the time it detached itself from the mother municipality Le Lieu. The three villages make up the municipality of L’Abbaye, but have this particularity: they each have their own administration with a board as executive power led by its head, the president of the village, and a general council as legislative power.
Coat of Arms of L’Abbaye
Coat of Arms of Le Pont
Coat of Arms of Les Bioux
The village of Le Pont has its own church, mountains, three cottages and many forests. The school also used to be within its legal competences.
This particular administration, assimilated with a split from the commune on legal grounds in 1710, the time of a debate on fractioning the general commune into three entirely independent entities. This project was only partially carried out with the structure of these three administrations in each village at the time.
The split of the pastures, until then dealt with by the commune, was arranged only 50 years later, on the 5th of September 1768. This had provoked numerous discussions and the organisation of a major legal arsenal. The issue stirred up a lot of noise, to the point that later on, it was this date that was considered as the founding date of these three villages, which in reality had taken place half a century earlier.
Each one has its own coat of arms except for the village of L’Abbaye whose coat of arms is the same as the general commune one.