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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: 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)

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.

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 attractions and places to visit

More information

Places to visit: towns and villages

ArboisA quiet town typical of the Jura, Arbois was once home to the laboratory of Louis Pasteur
Baume-les-MessieursStunning location for this pretty village dominated by a large abbey complex
BelfortAn important regional town, Belfort is overlooked by the massive walls of its fortified citadel
BesanconThere is a great deal to discover in Besancon, including a cathedral and an impressive Museum of Fine Arts
Chateau-ChalonStunning location for the jura village at Chateau-Chalon, a classified 'most beautiful village in France'
DoleDole is an interesting riverside town dominated by the magnificent Collegiale Church
LodsA small village in an idyllic riverside location, Lods is beautifully lit in summer evenings
Lons-le-SaunierThe bustling local town of Lons-le-Saunier is also home to the odlest dinosaur skeleton in France!
Loue River ValleySee the scenic highlights, walks and picnic spots along the pretty valley of the Loue river
Loue River Valley
Luxeuil-les-BainsThe popular Jura town of Luxeuil-les-Bains is best known for its impressive 13th century basilica
MontbeliardMontbeliard is an intersting town dominated by a large castle on a clifftop above the town centre
PontarlierThe high altitude town of Pontarlier is on the edge of the Jura mountains close to Switzerland
OrnansThe view of the houses along the riverfront in Ornans is one of the highlights of a visit to the Jura
Ronchamp ChapelWorld famous chapel designed by Le Corbusier to replace an earlier church that had been destroyed
Ronchamp Chapel
Salins-les-BainsSalins-les-Bains is a fascinating glimpse into this historically important salt industry
Saltworks of Arc-et-SenansThe Royal Saltworks is a fascinating 19th century industrial complex
Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans
VesoulWith an interesting historic centre, Vesoul also has easy access to popular Jura scenic attractions

Franche-Comté tourism and sightseeing

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.

Heritage Sites

Besancon citadelle (Vauban fortifications): Tourist guide

Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans: Tourist guide

Classified 'most beautiful villages'

Baume-les-Messieurs: Tourist guide

Chateau-Chalon: Tourist guide

Lods: Tourist guide

National Monuments

Astronomical clock of Besancon: Tourist guide

towns classified as Recommended Detours

Pontarlier: Tourist guide

Salins-les-Bains: Tourist guide

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

Besancon: Tourist guide

Dole: Tourist guide

Sites of Natural Beauty

Gouffre de Poudrey:

Lac de Lamoura:

Saut du Doubs:

Towns of Art and History

Arbois: Tourist guide

Besancon: Tourist guide

Dole: Tourist guide

Salins-les-Bains: Tourist guide

4* Towns in Bloom






Zoo or wildlife park

Citadelle de Besançon:


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

French version: Franche-Comte (Francais)