The Franche-Comté region in the East of France shares 250 kilometers of its frontier with Switzerland. The region boasts diverse landscapes and large open spaces thanks to the wealth of the Vosges Massif, Jura mountains and its many lakes and forests.
Nature at its best
Franche-Comté is a pure nature destination which offers all sorts of outdoor activities in both the winter and summer months. The main natural sites of the include the Saut du Doubs, the Hérisson Waterfalls, the Loue Hot springs, the Remote of Baume-les-Messieurs, and the Poudrey Chasm. In the Regional Natural Park of Ballons des Vosges, the Ballon of Alsace offers numerous sporting and relaxation activities.
The region is also renowned for its wellness and fitness centres (such as Luxueil and Salins-les-Bains near the Grande Saline – classified a National Heritage Site by UNESCO)
A unique cultural heritage
The region Franche-Comté has a rich cultural heritage with three main sites registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Besançon, the capital of the region, nestled in a bend of the Doubs river, is a splendid town, which was fortified by Vauban. The Small Comtoises Towns of Character also charm with their rich historical heritage. In the Belfort Territory, the Bartholdi Lion reigns over Belfort and its Citadel, also fortified by Vauban. This military architect’s talents can be observed in the Citadel of Besançon too, which encloses a splendid Zoological Garden . Situated atop a promontory, the Castle of Joux is another example of an impregnable fortress. Other Unesco sites include the Royal Salt Works at Arc-et-Senans and the famous Ronchamp Chapel.
Other places worthy of a visit: Dôle (Little Venice, the hometown of Pasteur), Lons-le-Saunier (birthplace of Rouget de Lisle – the auther of La Marseillaise – and the house of “La Vache qui rit” – “The Laughing Cow”), Ornans (a mecca for fishing tourism, and location of the house where Gustave Courbet was born), Vesoul (with the lake of Vesoul-Vaivre)
More than comté cheese
The Franche-Comté region will not fail to titillate the palate. The Haut-Doubs offers specialties of cured meats and sausages, smoked with pines and junipers; the delicious Morteau Sausage or the Montbéliard, or smoked ham from Haut-Doubs, which is a star of the High Gastronomic Fair of Pontarlier. Whether AOC (locally registered produce) or not, the Comtois cheeses (hard cheeses in the main) possess a strong flavor and character: Comté, Morbier, Emmental, Mont-d'or, Gex Blue, and Cancoillotte, made from whey, garlic and white wine.
The Arbois Vineyard produces three typical grape varieties found in the Jura: the Poulsard, the Trousseau and the Savagnin. The vin Jaune and the vin de Paille contribute much to the region’s reputation for excellent wines.
Music, amusements & more
The Franche-Comté has something for everyone. The Isis Aqua Park and the Dino Zoo enchant and thrill families. Car fanatics flock to the Museum of the Peugeot Adventure.
The fame of the Belfort Eurockéennes music festival has spread throughout France. The International Festival of Music of Besançon - Franche-Comté and Bancs Publics figure among the other important musical events. In the Jura, éviDanse will sweep you up into its artistic vortex.
Go and explore the Franche-Comté region, which harbors a rich treasure-trove of history, culture and beauty in the shadow of its mountains.