In the North there is the Vosges balloons. In the West, the Saône river that embraces Bourgogne. In the East, the Jura mountains precede Switzerland. Franche-Comté charms by the diversity of its landscapes: endless forests, lakes, myriad of ponds, wild gorges, deep chasms and caves, tumultuous rivers, impressive waterfalls…Sceneries spell one another between plains, plateaus and mountains. The region has a rich and exceptional natural heritage and is a primary destination for green tourism lovers wanting for unspoiled countryside.
To this natural richness must be added an interesting cultural heritage. Towns of Art and History like Dole and its old houses, Besançon and its citadel of Vauban, Belfort and its symbolic lion or Montbéliard and its Castle of the Dukes of Württemberg reflects the glorious past of the region.
Franche-Comté is full of local products and regional specialities. It is unthinkable to travel across the region without enjoying its cheeses of character, its well-structured wines, its cured meats, its cherries from Fougerolles… A flock of delicious specialities that would be able to satisfy the most greedy! Go off to discover a region full of surprises.
Labelled Small Town of Character, this old village still keeps nowadays its authentic and medieval look.
This monastic settlement, located in the village of Marast, was active from XIIth century until 1747.
This Small Town of Character is famous for its castle rebuilt in 1880 after the battle of Villersexel.
Built in the middle of XIIth century, it is nowadays the best preserved example of Middle Age military architecture in Franche-Comté.
Small Town of Character known for its castle, its old dungeon and its ancient houses adorned with turrets, gargoyles, dovecotes...
Built by Le Corbusier between 1950 and 1955, this is a listed historic monument and XXth century heritage building.
Belvoir Castle is a fortified castle from the XIIth century, dominating the Sancey valley. It was both object of fear and hope of protection for the local farmers.
12000 years ago, the glaciers have shaped this unique landscape: meadows, forests, streams, ponds... This fascinating area is nestled in the Ballons des Vosges Nature Park.
Grâce-Dieu is an old cistercian abbey built in 1139. The abbey is nowadays a monastery where the nuns live from their artisan production.
This open-air museum, covering no less than 37 acres of greenery, gathers up to fifteen typical houses from the XVIIth to XIXth century.
Montbéliard is not restricted to the factories of the car manufacturer Peugeot: medieval alleys, colorful houses, sumptuous townhouses...
Besançon, a town of art and history, and its famous fortified citadel by Vauban, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The caves of Poudrey in Etalans, offer a real journey into the centre of the earth! An exceptional natural site opens itself to you for a unique subterranean walk!
In a 30 acre landscaped park, discover the evolution of life on earth. A realistic return to the life of our ancestors in the wild and natural setting of before!
Discover this city at the border of Alsace. The fortifications and the citadel are a priceless heritage watched over by Bartholdi’s Lion, standing proudly on the rock.
Ornans, named "Little Venice Comtoise", is one of the most beautiful sites of Franche-Comté. It is also the birthplace of the painter and sculptor Gustave Courbet.
In the magnificent setting of a 150m high rocky theatre, the source of the Loue springs from an enormous cave. This site inspired no fewer than 14 paintings by Courbet.
Osselle Cave, a XIIIth century discovery, is one of the world's most amazing caves with its historic and prehistoric treasures...It is one of the first world tourist caves.
Founded in 1475, La Rochère is the oldest active glassworks in France. Discover the know-how of the glassmakers, performing their age-old gestures in front of you.
Cradle of French watchmaking, this little town located in the Jura mountains is also known for its gastronomic speciality: the Morteau sausage!
This city, located at an altitude of 837 m, is the second highest city in France. Its offers a wide range of outdoor activities and a majestic panorama view of the Alps.
The River Lison rises in beautiful verdant surroundings in Crouzet-Migette near Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne.
Overlooking the valley linking France to Switzerland, Joux castle offers fantastic evidence of the way fortifications have developed over the years.
Built in 1774, the former royal saltworks of Arc-et-Senans constitutes a remarkable example of the French industrial heritage. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Waterfall located at the border of Switzerland, in a beautiful wild and green environment. A 27-metre high waterfall, even more impressive after heavy rains.
This city has many references: wine capital of Jura, Small Town of Character, Star-spangled Capital of Gastronomy, Louis Pasteur country...
This village, designated one of France’s «most beautiful villages», produce the best yellow wines of the Jura under the AOC Chateau Chalon.
Take the road to Besançon, capital of Franche-Comté. Board the Vauban for a 1h15 cruise on the Doubs river. You will enjoy a breathtaking view of the fortifications of Vauban and the citadel, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Back on dry land, the « Petit Train » will show you the old Besançon through its winding alleys. About 20 km from Besançon, don’t miss the visit of the Osselle Cave, a historical monument as much as a geological phenomenon. Very close from there, the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, built in 1774, opens its doors to you. This factory dedicated to salt production gathers eleven buildings. It was several times saved from destruction after the shutdown of the industrial production in 1895. If you have time, follow the Jura border until the village of Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne to discover its old houses, its edge-tool factory and of course the Lison Source.
Take the road to visit the Poudrey Chasm, a gigantic cave situated 70 meters under the ground. Nearby, the Dino Zoo welcomes you to enter the lost world of dinosaurs. Take at least half a day for this visit; thrills and change of scenery guaranteed! A few kilometers from there, explore the Loue Valley, native land of Gustave Courbet. A 40 km car itinerary amongst the « Small Towns of Character » will bring you from Ornans (where you can visit the Courbet Museum) to the Source of the Loue. On your way back, don’t forget to stop by Epenouse to discover the traditions of the artisanal cheese dairy Lietchi.
Take the road to Pontarlier, second highest city in France. You will have the opportunity to visit the Pierre Guy Distillery, founded in 1890 and made famous by the « Pontarlier Absinthe ». On the road to Metabief, you cannot miss the impressive Joux Castle, dominating the landscape (guided tour is possible). Stop by the Saint-Point lake to admire the scenery. Once in Metabief, the Park « Métabief Aventures » offers a wide range of activities for young and old: tree top adventure course, treasure hunts, archery, inflatable games… You can also access a summer sledge run by the Telesiege Berche. If you have the opportunity, board the Coni’fer for an unusual and retro ride on an old Franco-Swiss railway. It connects Metabief to Pontarlier, crossing the pastures and forests of the Haut-Doubs region. Count 1H45 round trip.
Discover the Saut du Doubs, an impressive waterfall located in Villers-le-Lac. The visit lasts approximatively 2h15. Then cross the border to discover La Chaux-de-Fonds, the cradle of Swiss watchmaking. If you go until Neuchâtel, stop by « la Vue des Alpes », a road pass offering at an altitude of 1 283 meters an exceptional panorama on the Alps. On your way back, stop by Morteau to taste its famous sausage and visit the Watch Museum. On the road to Bonnal, recharge your batteries at the « Cirque de Consolation »: a wilderness protected park, paradise for hikers and nature lovers seeking nature and spirituality.
Here are some unmissable adresses around Morteau for foodies :
- La ferme musée du Montagnon, offering traditional salt meats and regional products
- Le Tuyé du Papy Gaby, one of the most impressive « tuyé » in the Haut-Doubs region, where you will learn the different fabrication steps of the famous smoked
- Les Routes du Comté, all around the Jura mountains. Discover the secrets of the farms, fruitières and ageing cellars...
NB: Careful, you won’t be able to do everything in one day!
Discover Luxeuil-les-Bains, the well-being capital! This thermal city is without a doubt one of the most beautiful city in Haute-Saône. A few kilometers north, you will have the opportunity to visit Fougerolles, known for its kirsch and cherries. Don’t miss the Ecomusée du Pays de la Cerise, which traces the history and the techniques of cherry distillation and culture. Then take the road to the east to explore the Plateau of the Thousand Ponds, stretching on 200 km2 from Faucogney à Lure. A fascinating landscape, giving it the name of « Small Finland ». If you still have time, make a stop in Ronchamp to check out the Chapel built by Le Corbusier in 1950 and listed as UNESCO World Heritage.
Take the road to Belfort to discover its heritage treasures: its famous lion, its citadel, its old Vauban city…
A little further north, head toward « La Route des Crêtes », covering 73 km from Cernay to Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines. By foot, bicycle or car, this itinerary characterized by beautiful landscapes must be enjoyed at your own pace and according to your needs. On the road to the « Grand Ballon », peak of the Vosges Mountains, stop by the French-German Mémorial of Hartmannswillerkopf. Nicknamed by the French troops « the man-eating mountain », this site illustrates the terrible conflicts of the great war.
Continue in the direction of the Haut Koenigsbourg Castle, an unmissable monument dominating the Alsace plain. Very close from there, the « Montagne des Singes » and the « Volerie des Aigles » open their doors to you in Kintzheim. Loose yourself during this surprising promenade among 200 free Barbary Macaques, and admire in open-air the biggest raptors of the world.
If you have time, it would be a pity not to stop in Colmar, in the heart of Alsace. Half-timbered houses, canals, flowery center…a city full of charm where you can discover the joy of Alsace lifestyle!
From Arbois to Château-Chalon, passing through Pupillin, Poligny, l'Etoile, les Coteaux Lédoniens, les Coteaux de la Haute-Seille… Extended on more than 80 km, the Jura vineyards offer breathtaking landscapes. You will have the opportunity to get in contact with welcoming professionals and to taste the 7 AOC Jura Wines: Crémant, Macvin, Côtes du Jura, Château-Chalon, l’Etoile, Arbois and Marc du Jura. Careful: drink-driving is dangerous!