Between France and Switzerland, between plains and mountains, Franche-Comté has some interesting towns and villages - and some impressive scenery with vineyards and lakes, forests and mountains, as scenic backdrop
Franche-Comte is found to the east of France and borders onto Switzerland. As you head towards the east of the region you start to leave the rolling countryside and smaller peaks of the Jura mountains, cross the high plateaux, and enter the Alps 'proper'.
There are four French departments in Franche-Comté: Haute-Saone to the north, Territoire-de-Belfort in the north-east, Doubs in the centre of the region and Jura to the south.
Haute-Saone / Territoire de Belfort (north Franche-Comté)
The most important towns here are Belfort itself, and Vesoul, capital of the Haute-Saone department.
The Chapelle de Notre-Dame-du-Haut, at Ronchamp, 20km north-west of Belfort, is one of Le Corbusiers most famous buildings and a big attraction for his followers.
The towns of Gray and Luxeuil-les-Bains are also to visit, and a trip the the beautiful village of Pesmes is recommended.
Much of the countryside is an unspoiled mix of forests and open country, interspersed with lakes and rivers, and it is for 'the great outdoors' that most visitors come to the region - a couple of natural highlights include the Parc Regional du Haut-Jura and the valley of the Loue River (passes through the Doubs and Jura departments).
Places to Visit
Selected places to visit in Franche-Comte
A quiet town typical of the Jura, Arbois was once home to the laboratory of Louis Pasteur Arbois
Stunning location for this pretty village dominated by a large abbey complex Baume-les-Messieurs
An important regional town, Belfort is overlooked by the massive walls of its fortified citadel Belfort
There is a great deal to discover in Besancon, including a cathedral and an impressive Museum of Fine Arts Besancon
Stunning location for the jura village at Chateau-Chalon, a classified 'most beautiful village in France' Chateau-Chalon
Dole is an interesting riverside town dominated by the magnificent Collegiale Church Dole
A small village in an idyllic riverside location, Lods is beautifully lit in summer evenings Lods
The bustling local town of Lons-le-Saunier is also home to the odlest dinosaur skeleton in France! Lons-le-Saunier
See the scenic highlights, walks and picnic spots along the pretty valley of the Loue river Loue River Valley
The popular Jura town of Luxeuil-les-Bains is best known for its impressive 13th century basilica Luxeuil-les-Bains
Montbeliard is an intersting town dominated by a large castle on a clifftop above the town centre Montbeliard
The high altitude town of Pontarlier is on the edge of the Jura mountains close to Switzerland Pontarlier
The view of the houses along the riverfront in Ornans is one of the highlights of a visit to the Jura Ornans
World famous chapel designed by Le Corbusier to replace an earlier church that had been destroyed Ronchamp Chapel
Salins-les-Bains is a fascinating glimpse into this historically important salt industry Salins-les-Bains