This modest region of France doesn’t feature much in travel brochures, but it’s all the better for it. Stretching along the border with Switzerland, it encompasses some stunning gems, from the clock-making capital of Besançon to the wine-making region of Jura.
One of the draws of this magical region is the diversity of its outdoor spaces. Glittering lakes and picturesque rivers punctuate a landscape of forests, wide open countryside and epic mountains.
Make sure you’ve got a camera and some sturdy walking boots when you head to Jura National Park, you’ll need them to make the most of the best views. There are so many ways to explore the mountains including hiking, cycling, skiing and climbing. A popular past time is cross-country skiing in the winter, with more than 2,100 miles of trails to enjoy.
For exceptional views, drive up Grand Colombier and hike 20 minutes to the peak, or if you’re an experienced cyclist, you can take on the challenge on two wheels.
Reward yourself with a tour of the Jura wine region, where you can try and buy fine wines – Arbois is the wine capital and hosts an annual festival to celebrate the delicious drink. For something stronger, head for Pontarlier home of absinthe and beginning of the Route de Absinthe hiking trail.
Besides the great outdoors, Franche-Comté has some characterful towns and cities, including the regional capital Besançon. Here you’ll be charmed by cobbled streets and enthralled by the stunning views afforded from the ramparts of the 17th-century citadel. Explore the historic sites which include Saint Jean Cathedral, Quai Vauban, the Musée des Beaux Arts and the Museum of Time which celebrates the city’s watchmaking past. A pleasant stroll can be had along the river Doubs and the Loue river valley which lies to the south-east of Besançon.
Whether you’re into outdoor adventure or visiting charming cities, towns and villages, Franche-Comté won’t disappoint, and who better to explore with than friends and family? Take a look at our collection of large gites and villas in Franche-Comté and find your perfect base.