France for visitors

Franche-Comté and the Jura mountains
France > East

Franche-Compté
Map of Franche-Compté

The Jura mountains – gentle in the west, precipitous in the east, with wide, high forested plateaux in between – cover most of the old county of Franche-Comté, once part of the realms of the Grand Dukes of Burgundy, but properly French only since the late seventeenth century. Within its four départements – the Territoire de Belfort, the Haute-Saône, the Doubs and, largest of all, the Jura – the towns, especially the capital Besançon, are beautiful and tranquil, with the River Doubs flowing through, and the villages, such as Baume-les-Messieurs and Château Chalon, are some of the prettiest in France. Otherwise, what there is to see is countryside – hundreds of square kilometres of woodland, lake and pasture that are hard to reach without a car – but are best explored once you're there on foot or by bicycle. There are several GR footpaths in the area, including the marathon GR5 from the Netherlands to the Mediterranean, and the GR9, which snakes its way through the Parc Régional du Haut-Jura. One of the best things about this part of France in summer is that it sees a lot fewer visitors than its neighbouring regions.


Pages in section ‘East’: Belfort, Besancon, Doubs Valley, Ronchamp, Montbeliard, Pontarlier, Ornans, Arc-et-Senans, Salins-les-Bains, Dole, Lons-le-Saunier, Central Plateau, Skiing.

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