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: tourist sights and places to visit
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 and 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.
Doubs (central Franche-Comté)
See 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.
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.
General Franche-Comte information
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).
Map of Franche-Comte with highlights and places to visit
Places to visit
A quiet town typical of the Jura, Arbois was once home to the laboratory of Louis PasteurArbois
Stunning location for this pretty village dominated by a large abbey complexBaume-les-Messieurs
An important regional town, Belfort is overlooked by the massive walls of its fortified citadelBelfort
There is a great deal to discover in Besancon, including a cathedral and an impressive Museum of Fine ArtsBesancon
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 ChurchDole
A small village in an idyllic riverside location, Lods is beautifully lit in summer eveningsLods
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 riverLoue River Valley
The popular Jura town of Luxeuil-les-Bains is best known for its impressive 13th century basilicaLuxeuil-les-Bains
Montbeliard is an intersting town dominated by a large castle on a clifftop above the town centreMontbeliard
The high altitude town of Pontarlier is on the edge of the Jura mountains close to SwitzerlandPontarlier
The view of the houses along the riverfront in Ornans is one of the highlights of a visit to the JuraOrnans
World famous chapel designed by Le Corbusier to replace an earlier church that had been destroyedRonchamp Chapel
Salins-les-Bains is a fascinating glimpse into this historically important salt industrySalins-les-Bains
With an interesting historic centre, Vesoul also has easy access to popular Jura scenic attractionsVesoul
Highlights & tourist sites
Classified tourist sites to visit in Franche-Comte
Listed below are some of the main places and destinations in Franche-Comte that have received 'official' tourist classifications.
Besancon citadelle (Vauban fortifications) :
Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans :
Classified 'most beautiful villages'
Astronomical clock of Besancon :
towns classified as Recommended Detours
Regional Natural Parcs
Listed 'Remarkable Gardens'
Jardin à la Faulx :
Jardin des jeux du château d'Arlay :
Parc de l'Etang :
Roseraie du Chatelet :
Protected historical town centre
Sites of Natural Beauty
Gouffre de Poudrey :
Lac de Lamoura :
Saut du Doubs :
Towns of Art and History
4* Towns in Bloom
Zoo or wildlife park
Citadelle de Besançon :