Hotel de la Gare in Courgenay
The Hotel de la Gare in Courgenay was awarded special mention for "the evocative restoration of the building and its interior and the continued use of the building as it was meant to be used."
On March 30, 1877, shortly after the rail line was extended from Delemont to Porrentruy, the Hotel de la Gare in Courgenay was called into existence. Then in 1909, the building's owner, Gustave Montavon, built a rather large annex to be used for entertainment purposes. It was amply used by his daughter who has gone into Swiss lore as Gilberte de Courgenay, famous for entertaining the Swiss troops who would be stationed here. Her exploits were held fast in a movie produced in the early Fifties. In 1956 the building finally received a modest kitchen.
After several years, during which the hotel lay abandoned, the Klaerly and Moritz Schmidli Foundation breathed new life into the building. Under the supervision of historic preservationists and using regional workers, it was restored in keeping with the building's original plans. Special pains were given to the restaurant and the large entertainment hall once used by Gilberte de Courgenay.
But the renovators did not stop with the building but also extended the restoration to the building's environment. They planted horse chestnut trees, created a garden, and redid the sidewalk. The result is evocative of the traditional train station restaurants of yore. The foundation also acquired the neighboring building, housing the Hotel du Mont Terrible.
The restoration has had quite an echo: it is considered to be quite exceptional. The historic rooms on the main floor make one feel as if Gilberte de Courgenay had just left for a moment and will be back any moment.