Trying to find that one spot with the perfect blend of classical European architecture, culture, shopping, and of course great cycling? Try the small town of Solothurn, Switzerland’s most pristine Baroque city.

Modern Solothurn is a small yet lively regional center featuring a bustling Marktplatz, trendy shopping, several chocolatiers, a Museum of Fine Arts, and numerous cafes with outdoor seating on the city’s labyrinthine cobble-stoned and traffic-free streets. Due to its proximity to both France and Italy, the town has no shortage of fine food, if you’re craving a wonderful Italian dining experience (and not pizza!) with traditional Swiss gemütlichkeit don’t miss La Cantinetta Bindella. If you’re looking for something a little more eclectic, the Salzhaus is a locals’ favorite as is Baseltor.

From the 16th through the 18th centuries, Solothurn was home to the French Kings’ ambassadors to Switzerland, and the Baroque architecture of the period reflects this. Despite its rather diminutive stature, Solothurn is considered Switzerland’s finest Baroque city, while { Worthy of Note: the buildings outside the medieval wall give the town the atmosphere of a mini-Paris. }the buildings outside the medieval wall give the town the atmosphere of a mini-Paris. True to its heritage, Solothurn boasts an incredible assortment of Catholic churches, including St. Ursus cathedral, regarded as one of the most important Baroque / neo-classical buildings in all of Switzerland.

As the 11th canton of the Swiss Confederation, the number 11 features prominently in Solothurn’s identity. “Öufi,” Swiss German for “eleven” (“elf” in high German), gives its name to the city’s homegrown beer, the number of historical fountains, churches and chapels, and towers. St. Ursus features eleven altars, eleven bells, and 3 groups of eleven steps leading up to its giant façade,

which was donated by King Louis the XIV. There’s even a well-known clock in town whose face bears figures only up to 11. Spinal Tap would be at home here.

For cyclists visiting the region, there are over 600 km of paved riding trails emanating from the city center to keep you safe from regional traffic. But once you’re into the Jura Mountains, you’ll find glass-smooth roads with barely any traffic. Located on the alluvial plains of the Aar, and being so close to the Jura means riding in the region offers everything from endlessly flat roads to mountainous climbs. If mountain biking is more your thing, there’s an abundant off-road trail network with something for everyone, from beginners to hardcore adrenaline junkies.

Just what you’d expect being so near to the home of BMC—who knows—you may even catch sight of some test riders.