Franche-Comte: tourism and sightseeing

Photo of Franche-Comte in France

Visit Franche-Comte, France

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

Visit Franche-Comté: tourism and travel guide


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'.

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.

Particular natural highlights of interest to visitors include the Parc Regional du Haut-Jura and the valley of the Loue River (passes through the Doubs and Jura departments).

Places to visit in Franche-Comte with reviews from France This Way

Below you can see a description of Franche-Comte and its highlights. For details of each place (town, village, attraction...) that we have reviewed see places to visit in Franche-Comte.

Franche-Comte travel guide and highlights

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 and Territoire de Belfort (north Franche-Comté)

Ronchamp ChapelThe 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.


Doubs (central Franche-Comté)

BesanconSee the town of Besancon, capital of the Franche-Comte region, and the Royal saltworks at Arc-et-Senans,

See also the town and castle at Montbeliard, and the town of Baume-les-Dames.

Visit the village at Ornans, then also visit Lods (a classified most beautiful village). The historical border town of Pontarlier is on the edge of the Jura mountain range.

See also the Doubs travel guide

Jura (south Franche-Comté)


Dole is an attractive town in the Jura department of the Franche-Comte region, known especially for the impressive Dole Collegiale.

Explore also the cluster of towns that includes Arbois, Poligny, and Salins-les-Bains, and the town of Moirans-en-Montagne, best known for its toy museum.

Two 'most beautiful villages' can be seen in the southern part of the region near Lons-le-Saunier at Baume-les-Messieurs, and Chateau-Chalon.

See also the Jura travel guide

Places to visit: towns and villages

ArboisA quiet town typical of the Jura, Arbois was once home to the laboratory of Louis Pasteur
See Arbois


Baume-les-MessieursStunning location for this pretty village dominated by a large abbey complex
See Baume-les-Messieurs


BelfortAn important regional town, Belfort is overlooked by the massive walls of its fortified citadel
See Belfort


BesanconThere is a great deal to discover in Besancon, including a cathedral and an impressive Museum of Fine Arts
See Besancon


Chateau-ChalonStunning location for the jura village at Chateau-Chalon, a classified 'most beautiful village in France'
See Chateau-Chalon


DoleDole is an interesting riverside town dominated by the magnificent Collegiale Church
See Dole


LodsA small village in an idyllic riverside location, Lods is beautifully lit in summer evenings
See Lods


Lons-le-SaunierThe bustling local town of Lons-le-Saunier is also home to the odlest dinosaur skeleton in France!
See Lons-le-Saunier


Loue River ValleySee the scenic highlights, walks and picnic spots along the pretty valley of the Loue river
See Loue River Valley


Luxeuil-les-BainsThe popular Jura town of Luxeuil-les-Bains is best known for its impressive 13th century basilica
See Luxeuil-les-Bains


MontbeliardMontbeliard is an interesting town dominated by a large castle on a clifftop above the town centre
See Montbeliard


PontarlierThe high altitude town of Pontarlier is on the edge of the Jura mountains close to Switzerland
See Pontarlier


OrnansThe view of the houses along the riverfront in Ornans is one of the highlights of a visit to the Jura
See Ornans


Ronchamp ChapelWorld famous chapel designed by Le Corbusier to replace an earlier church that had been destroyed
See Ronchamp Chapel


Salins-les-BainsSalins-les-Bains is a fascinating glimpse into this historically important salt industry
See Salins-les-Bains


Saltworks of Arc-et-SenansThe Royal Saltworks is a fascinating 19th century industrial complex
See Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans


VesoulWith an interesting historic centre, Vesoul also has easy access to popular Jura scenic attractions
See Vesoul

See also:

Map of Franche-Comte and places to visit


More information

See an index of places for each department: Haute-Saone communes, Doubs communes, Jura communes

French version: Franche-Comte (Francais)