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Franche-Comté A-Z

Highlights of Franche-Comté at a glance

A - Arbois, Absinth, Arc-et -Senans

Arbois, centre of  wine in the Jura Jura wine from Arbois, Comte cheese and Bleu de Gex, photo burgundytoday.com

Arbois, (above) centre of the wine trade, Vin Jaune and Vin de Paille, home of Louis Pasteur
Absinth, an anise alcoholic spirit which turns cloudy when water is added, made in Pontarlier
Arc-et-Senans
, for salt factory and architect Ledoux's futuristic town with museum

B - Besançon, Belfort and Bertolli, Ballon d'Alsace, Baume-les-Messieurs

Porte Noire Besancon, photo Besancon.fr Ballon d'Alsace, photo CRT Franche-Comte Laurent Cheviet

Besançon, administrative centre dominated by Vauban's Citadelle, (left) Roman Porte Noire
Belfort and Bertolli's lion sculpture which sits under the fortress protecting the town
Ballon d'Alsace in the Ballon des Vosges (right) regional natural park popular with hikers
Baume-les -Messieurs, one of the most beautiful villages in France, tucked away in the Jura

C - Comté Cheese,  Château Chalon, Courbet, Cows bells, Cycling

Comte Cheese at Alain Hess, Beaune, Burgundy Obertino maker of cow bells, photo burgundytoday.com

Comté Cheese, produced in abundance, with a strong nutty flavour (left)
Château Chalon, perched high on the cliff overlooking the vineyards of the Jura
Courbet, 19thC painter born in Ornans where a museum commemorates his life and work
Cows and cow bells. artisans make the cow bells (right) for the Montbéliard cows
Cycling, plentiful information on routes from tourist offices throughout the region

D - Dole, Doubs

Dole, photo CRT Franche-Comte Sandrine Baverel River Doubs at Dole, photo CRT Franche-Comte Michel Joly

Dole, (left) attractive medieval town on the River Doubs
Doubs river runs through the region from north-east at Mouthe to south-west, joining the Saône.

E - Eurovelo 6, Eurockéennes

Eurovelo 6 cycle route from Chalon-sur-Saône through Besançon to Mulhouse along the Doubs
Eurockéennes rock festival at Malsucy lake area- first weekend in July

F - Fondue, Forests, Flowers, Forts

Vauban Citadel at Belfort, photo burgundytoday.com Road up to the Ballon d'Alsace, photo burgundytoday.com

Fondue made with local cheese and kirsch, a traditional dish of the region
Forests in abundance. 40% of the Jura is wooded with conifers and deciduous trees (right)
Flowers, wild flowers  jostle  for space in the pastures- orchids and cowslips, clover and  gentians Forts designed by Marshall Vauban in 17thC at Belfort and Besançon kept invaders at bay (left)

G - Gex cheese, Grape varieties, Grotte d'Osselle

Grotte d'Osselle Franche Comte, photo CRT Franche-Comte Julie Thiebaud Vineyards of the Jura at Arbois, photo CRT Franche-Comte

Gex cheese, delicious soft blue cheese made in the Jura mountains
Grape varieties,  Chardonnay, Savagnin, Poulsard, Pinot Noir and Trousseau

Grotte d'Osselle, (left) near Besançon, spectacular limestone cave formation

H - Hotels, Hiking, Victor Hugo, Haut Jura Natural Park

Hiking at Ballon d'Alsace photo CRT Franche-Comte Horse-drawn rides at Auberge Le Sillet Longcochon Franche-Comte

Hotels, and b&b accommodation in town and country
Hiking, well signposted routes and plentiful information from tourist offices
Victor Hugo,
birthplace of poet, novelist, and dramatist in Besançon, now a museum
Haut Jura, protected Natural Park for nature lovers and winter sporting enthusiasts

J - Jura

Jura, a départément of Franche-Comte and a mountain range forming border with Switzerland

K - Kites and Peregrine Falcons, Kirsch

Kites and Peregrine Falcons, just two of the species found. A great area for birdwatchers
Kirsch, alcoholic spirit made from cherries, used in fondue and good with fruit

L - Lons-le-Saunier, Ledoix, Lac de Vouglans, Les Fourgs

Cycling Les Fouges, photo CRT Franche-Comte Michel Joly Les Fourgs photo CRt Franche-Comte

Lons-le-Saunier, main town and administrative hub of the Jura department
Ledoix, visionary architect of Arc-et-Senans
Lac de Vouglans, a stunning reservoir popular with tourists and water sports enthusiasts
Les Fourgs, Doubs, an area of outstanding beauty in summer and winter

M - Morbier, Mont d'Or, Montbéliard cows, Macvin, Métabief

Montbeliard cows Franche Comte Alpine skiiing in Franche-Comte, photo CRT Franche Comte.org, Sandrine Baverel

Morbier, cheese has a layer of ash running through the centre
Mont d'Or, Vacherin du Haut-Doubs, a soft cheese produced during the winter months
Montbéliard cows, milk from the distinctive brown and white cattle used in the cheese production
Macvin, a wine fortified with Marc du Jura
Métabief, ski resort in the Jura Mountains offering a wide variety of snow activities

O

Ornans, (below left) pretty town on the River Loue, made famous by artist Gustav Courbet

Ornans, Franche-Comte, photo burgundytoday.com Ronchamp, Corbusier chapel, Franche-Comte, photo burgundytoday.com

P - Pontarlier, Poligny, Pasteur, Percée du Vin Jaune

Pontarlier, for absinth manufacture and winter sports
Poligny, centre of Comté cheese
Pasteur, Louis Pasteur's home in Arbois, open to visitors
Percée du Vin Jaune, annual celebration of the wine in Lons-le-Saunier, beginning of February

R - Ronchamp

Ronchamp, Le Corbusier's chapel La Colline Notre-Dame du Haut, a masterpiece of architecture

S - Skiing, Sausage, Salins-les-Bains, Source of the Loue

Sausage from Franche-Comté at Besancon market, photo burgundytoday.com Salt mine at Salins-les Bains, photo burgundytoday.com

Skiing, Cross-country, alpine, dog-sledding... great winter sports across the region
Sausage, from Morteau and Montbéliard, famous throughout France
Salins-les-Bains, see where salt was mined for 1200 years
Source of the Loue, between Pontarlier and Ornans, walk down to the source

T - Trout, Timepieces

Trout, perch, tench and pike abound in the lakes, rivers and canals
Timepieces, a history of clock and watchmaking with a dedicated museum in Besançon

U - UNESCO Heritage Sites

Arc-et-Senans, a salt factory but also a social experiment in town planning by architect Ledoux
Salins-les-Bains, visit the salt mine which produced 'white gold'
Citadelle de Besançon, (below left) one of Vauban's strategic fortresses now housing museums
Le Grand Lac de Clairvaux, a Neolithic site in the Jura, one of the prehistoric sites in the Alps

Citadelle Vauban in Besancon Franche-Comte Cascades du Herisson photo CRT Franche-Comte, Michel Joly

V - Vin Jaune, Vin de Paille, Vauban, Vesoul

Vin Jaune, dry white wine, deep yellow in colour, unique in the region
Vin de Paille, a sweet wine made from grapes, part-dried to concentrated the sugars
Vauban, military strategist, born in Burgundy, who designed fortresses all over France
Vesoul, administrative centre of the Haute-Saône department

W - Waterfalls, Waterways

Waterfalls, Cascades du Hérisson, (above right) one of the impressive sights with hiking routes
Waterways, canals, the Doubs and Saône rivers, plus many local waterways for boating pursuits

See also: About Franche-Comté