What if, for once, we explore a region starting with its basement? In the mountains of the Jura, water, omnipresent, has shaped a unique relief where underground caves unfold, to visit for their incredible natural scenography!
On the surface, between mountains, waterfalls and lakes, the magnificent landscapes of the Jura can be enjoyed in every way, whether skiing, hiking or cycling. And on cultural visits: in the valleys, there are also cities, castles and abbeys of character…
Highlights of your stay in the Jura Mountains
Do you know what a “remote” is? To understand everything about this geological phenomenon, go to Baume-les-Messieurs. This village, one of the most beautiful in France, is set between cliffs at the bottom of one of the low slopes of the limestone plateau. One can admire the superb architectural complex formed by the Abbey of Saint-Pierre, some of which include the church, are typical of the Jura Romanesque style.
And you slip into the side of the cliffs for an extraordinary journey under the ground: at a depth of 120 meters, the cave extends over 2,500 meters, offering the spectacle of its immense halls – 80 meters high for some! - its concretions, and an impressive cascade from one of its openings.
In the Jura, the five senses are in turmoil, including the winter when you warm up with the specialties. Château-Chalon is famous for its yellow wine, the “king of wines and wine of kings”. But it is also a superb village perched on a cliff with stunning views of the vineyard.
The neighbouring village of Arlay is considered the capital of the «straw wine», a liquorice wine of the terroir. One finds a rich patrimony: cities mansions with mullioned windows, church Saint-Vincent, crowned with a superb Comtois bell tower, and an unusual castle: its park of eight hectares created in 1773 in the spirit of romanticism of the time, integrates the vestiges of the ancient medieval fortress. Inside, you can visit the beautifully appointed royal apartments and the large 17th century cellar where the wines of the estate are still aged. In the old Dole, a magnificent Renaissance building dominates the Tanners canal: the Hôtel-Dieu is one of the jewels of the heritage of the «small Jurassian Venice» with the basilica Notre-Dame. And in Orgelet, fortified church, mansions and former Bernardine convent reinforce the cachet of this town nestled at the foot of Mont Orgier.
Le Jura: lake region
The Jura mountains are also a region of lakes like Lake Vouglans, the 3rd artificial lake in France that stretches for 35 kilometres along its emerald waters conducive to aquatic pleasures with three harbours and three developed beaches. And in the Hedgehog Valley, the eponymous river turns into a torrent that forms 31 jumps and seven waterfalls on a 3.7-kilometer journey. Do not miss especially the Saut de l'Eventail and the Grand Saut: the waterfalls reach 65 meters high!
Taste the delights of the Jura
At the bottom of the Jura mountains, culinary specialties are the mirror of rural life. Starting with cheeses: Gex blue, the origin of which goes back to the arrival of Savoyard monks, a county whose ripening often takes between 8 and 24 months. As for Morteau’s sausage, made from pork, it was traditionally smoked in the "tufts", farms built around a fireplace. It is sometimes tasted with potatoes sprinkled with cancoillotte, delicious cheese with fondue. In the Bresse region, butter and cream benefit from controlled appellations, just like poultry, that can be accompanied by a tasty crust with morels, mushroom stew with cream and toast.
Between sport and relaxation in the Jura mountains
Winter and summer, the Jura mountains are a paradise for nature activities. Skiing in the heart of the Haut Jura Regional Nature Park in the Rousses resort with views of Mont-Blanc, exploring the Prémanon cross-country ski area in the middle of the forests or biking around the village of Cornod… So many tracks to follow for athletes! To be enjoyed with a relaxing break in the thermal baths of Salins-les-Bains, whose naturally salty waters are rich in trace elements or an oenological break in Arbois where between winemakers' houses and mansions, The tasting cellars invite you to taste this AOC-classified wine.