Franche-Comté: a timeless region
Between the land, natural sites and heritage, the Franche-Comté region will satisfy the curiosity of all walks of life. With a range of activity options, the region is perfect for sporty and curious types: a guaranteed voyage of discovery!
Alain Bellefoy has run the INTER-HOTEL Eric Hôtel, a modern 2-star hotel situated in Dole in the Jura department, since 2002. After travelling and living in all four corners of the globe for several years, he returned to his native region to set up as a hotelier. "It is a very beautiful region: authentic and green with friendly people," he says before adding: "Dole is a beautiful town, particularly in the centre – and it is also classed as a 'city of art and history'. Dole is one of the great heritage sites in Franche-Comté. The collegial bell tower is the symbol of Dole and its building embodies the power of times gone by. Don't miss the old tanners' quarter home to Louis Pasteur during your strolls in the town centre; you can even visit the family home.
A voyage of discovery in Franche-Comté
If you wish to explore the Franche-Comté region, why not take the Hirondelles railway route that links Dole with Saint Claude over a distance of 75 miles? Throughout your journey, you will enjoy breathtaking views, ranging from forests to high Jura valleys.
South of Dole, the town of Lons le Saunier enjoys an ideal location with its close proximity to both Switzerland and Vosges regional nature reserve. Rouget de Lisle, officer, poet and the man behind "La Marseillaise", was a native of this town. But the real renown of Lons le Saunier lies in the Ledonia source, the name of which is derived from the "Lédonien" people, a saltwater source. It is the perfect location for a wellness stay in Franche-Comté. The region has very rich soil, with a particularly high concentration of rock salt, which enabled several saltworks to be developed, including those of Lons-le-Saunier and Arc-en Senans. Out of operation for many years, the latter is now a highly significant architectural structure and its buildings form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the Doubs department lies Besançon whose 17th-century citadel, designed by the famous architect Vauban, has become iconic. It is the leading tourist attraction in the Franche-Comte region. Don't miss the zoo and its insectarium and noctarium allowing visitors to observe a number of nocturnal mammals.
Beançon is also renowned for its quality of life and many green spaces. It has been named "greenest city in France" several times. A range of river walks are offered at the marina. Set off to discover time. Besançon is known for its clocks; explore the Time museum and the famous astronomical clock. Manage your time well!
Franche-Comté also contains the Territoire de Belfort department which sets itself apart through its cultural independence, as demonstrated by the historical influences in the village of Andelnans. Arbouans, located in close proximity to Montbéliard, is famous for its terroir. The town also has a specific architecture, directly inspired by the strong Germanic influences on the town. The Ducs de Wurtemberg castle dominates the town and is the source of strong local pride.
Venture out to the Près-La-Rose park and wander its labyrinth of plants. Nature and sport are the words. With 42% of the region woodland, Franche-Comté is the ideal location for outdoor sports that can be enjoyed by all ages and all walks of life: hiking, cycling or mountain biking, mountain climbing, canoeing-kayaking or speleology in the Poudrey chasm – the largest in France – where you will have the option to view a sound and light show when you reach the end of the route. Fly-fishing is also very popular with the people of Franche-Comté and tourists alike. You will be able to enjoy a number of natural sites such as the source of the Loue, the forests of Chaux and Chaillez or the thousand lakes plateau. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to walks in Franche-Comté.
One thing is certain, the time will fly by during your stay in Franche-Comté!