Doubs travel guide

Photo of Doubs

Visit Doubs (Burgundy-Franche-Comté, France)

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The Doubs department, in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France, is perhaps not the best known part of France but should be better known - it has lovely scenery, interesting historic towns, several important monuments and picturesque villages.

Doubs, Franche-Comté tourism

Although the carefully preserved natural environment with forests, mountains and rivers will be the highlight of your visit, be sure to also take the time to discover some of the many other places of interest, towns and villages in Doubs.

We consider the Doubs department in three categories below: natural environment, sites of interest, and towns and villages. But of course a historic castle can be in a beautiful setting and a town can contain a fascinating historic monument so there is a great deal of overlap between the three, as you will discover when you visit!

Although we mention the principal attractions there are numerous others that you will discover as you explore, especially if you like exploring a scenery of steep forested hills, lakes and rivers. Be sure to visit the tourist office close to where you are staying for local walks and highlights.

Natural environment and outdoor activities

The first thing you will notice is how green the Doubs department is! The entire department has unspoiled countryside, with the flatter regions to the west and more forests and mountains, lakes and rivers to the east. Most visitors find this scenery the main attraction, and we suggest you bring your walking shoes! Among the particular highlights there are some that are particularly noteworthy:

view across the Consolation Valley
  • On the border with Switzerland at Villers-le-Lac you can see the waterfall known as the Saut de Doubs.
  • The Doubs river valley between the lakes of Saint-Point and Remoray has many scenic highlights and several popular river beaches both on the lakes themselves and at Montperreux, Labergement-Sainte-Marie and Les Grangettes. Remoreay is a protected Natural Reserve.
  • Saint-Point Lake and the resort of Malbuisson, near Pontarlier at an altitude of almost 1000 metres, is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts, with mountain biking, kayaking and winter skiing among the popular activities
  • The scenery of the Cirque de Consolation, best seen from the 'belvédère de la Roche du Prêtre', in Consolation-Maisonnettes near the border with Switzerland, is just one of numerous belvederes (viewpoints) through the mountains along the south-east border which Doubs shares with Switzerland.
  • Cave enthusiasts will find several impressive cave systems open to the public including the Grotte de la Glacière, the Gouffre de Poudrey and the Grotte d'Osselle.
  • Another scenic highlight is to follow the Corniche de Goumois, on the Swiss border south of Montbeliard
  • The scenery along the Loue River Valley.
  • Your children will enjoy a visit to the dramatically named 'Ladders of Death'(Echelles de la Mort') at Charquemont, once used by smugglers to cross the border between France and Switzerland.
  • Alpine skiing is available in the Jura mountains at Métabief.

Historic monuments

Chateau de Joux
  • The most famous monument in Doubs is the citadel that dominates the town of Besancon
  • The Royal Salt Works of Arc-et-Senans, once the French centre for salt production, is now an important UNESCO listed site
  • The Chateau de Joux, built and modified over the course of the last nine centuries, has both medieval and 18th century parts and is in a dramatic position on a rocky promontory above La Cluse-et-Mijoux (near Pontarlier).
  • The Chateau de Montbeliard, in the centre of the town of Montbeliard, is also very imposing and has architectural elements spanning several hundred years
  • The 18th century castle and French style gardens at Vaire-le-Grand and the ruined Chateau de Montfaucon, both east of Besancon
  • The gardens of the Chateau de Cléron, next to the Loue River (summer only)

The most visited tourist attraction in Doubs is the Dino-Zoo at Charbonnières-les-Sapins where about a hundred recreations of dinosaurs and prehistoric men can be seen along a course that leads through a large wooded park. More entertaining than you might imagine, see Dino-Zoo (French only) for details.

Towns and villages in Doubs

The village of Lods, in a scenic riverside position, is officially listed among the 'most beautiful villages in France'. Other towns and villages of interest in Doubs include:

Chateau de Cleron
  • In Besancon, principal town in the Doubs, you can see the citadel, cathedral, palaces and museums...
  • The town of Montbeliard with its castle and pleasant town centre
  • The picturesque riverside centre of Ornans
  • The centre of Saint-Hippolyte, south of Montbeliard on the confluence of the Dessoubre and Doubs Rivers
  • The town of Pontarlier is close to several Doubs highlights
  • The unspoiled traditional village of Mouthier-Haute-Pierre, in the Loue River Valley
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French version: Doubs (Francais)