Loue River valley, Doubs: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Loue River valley (Franche-Comte region)

Visit Loue River valley (Franche-Comte, France)

The Loue River valley runs through the Franche-Comte region of eastern France to the south-east of Besancon. After emerging dramatically from the bottom of a cliff* near Ouhans the Loue river flows for about 130 kilometres through the attractive countryside of hills and valleys of the region.

It is above all the Loue valley between the Ouhans and Ornans that is most popular with visitors, where the fast moving river covers a distance of around 20 kilometres and loses more than 200 metres in altitude.

Source of the Loue river at Ounans

The course of the Loue Valley

The river flow roughly east to west, from Mouthier-Haute-Pierre and Ouhans (just north of Pontarlier) to its confluence with the Doubs river just south of Dole. There is a pleasant walk that descends the valley from the source of the river.

Particularly notable along the course of the Loue are the 'Gorges de la Loue' - a canyon carved by millions of years of erosion by the river.

The pretty towns of Ornans and Lods are among those that are on the banks of the Loue River, while other villages you will come across in the valley are Vuillafans (with a picturesque 15th century bridge) and Montgeysoye (13th century church) and Ouhans, Scey-en-Veray and Cleron Castle.

Other villages are high on the cliffs above the valley, offering magnificent panoramas of the valley.

Chateau Cleron on the Loue river near Pontarlier

The Loue valley is now a popular tourist destination, especially for canoeing (the best way to enjoy the scenery), and is also said to be one of the best rivers in France for fly-fishing.

* In reality the Loue river is a part of the Doubs river that passes underground before re-emerging at Ounans.

This source was discovered only when there was a fire at the pernod factory on the Doubs in the early 20th century - and a few days later absinthe was found in the Loue!

Gustave Courbet in the Loue valley

The renowned 19th century realist painter Gustave Courbet painted several paintings in the Loue Valley, and the sites where these were painted can be visited by following the 'Sentiers de Courbet'.

The best known of these is the 'Ruisseau du Puits Noir', and any tourist office along the route can give you a complete list and map of the seven locations.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Doubs guide and the Franche-Comte guide.

See also:

Map of Loue River valley and places nearby

Visit near Loue River valley with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Doubs

Address: Vallée de la Loue, Franche-Comte, France || GPS: latitude 46.9992, longitude 6.29417

Plan your visit to Loue River valley, Doubs

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Lods: most beautiful village (6 km)
  • Pontarlier: recommended detour (11 km)
  • Défilé d'Entre-Roches: site of natural beauty (13 km)
  • Gouffre de Poudrey: site of natural beauty (17 km)
  • Gorges de Remonot: site of natural beauty (20 km)
  • Forêt de la Joux: site of natural beauty (29 km)
  • Citadelle de Besançon: zoo or wildlife park (33 km)
  • Besancon citadelle (Vauban fortifications): heritage site (33 km)
  • Besancon: secteur sauvegarde (33 km)
  • Astronomical clock of Besancon: national monument (35 km)

The French version of this page is at Loue River valley (Francais)