The Jura region is named after the Jura mountains, a small mountain range just north of the Alps, which also gave its name to the Jurassic period. Together with the Doubs and Territoire de Belfort departments, the landscape is made up of forests and lakes, valleys and high peaks, rivers and waterfalls, gorges and caves, and lush green plains. The area also has a rich architectural heritage, with the historic towns of Besaçon and Belfort being particular highlights.
There’s plenty to keep you busy in this region, including many outdoor activities such as hiking, horse-riding and cycling; skiing in the mountains; fly fishing and kayaking in the rivers; and a variety of watersports on the lakes. Or you could just relax and let the sound of rushing water soothe your mind at one of the spas in the area.
In the historic city of Belfort, explore the massive and impenetrable Belfort Citadel, and admire the view from the terrace at the highest point. The other symbol of the city is the giant red sandstone Lion of Belfort. This colossal statue is 22 metres long and 11 metres high and was made in 1880 to celebrate the city’s heroic resistance to the Prussians during the siege of Belfort.
The Citadel of Besançon perches spectacularly on a ridge above the rest of the town, and houses several museums within it, including the Zoological Gardens of the Citadel. Explore the beautiful medieval historic centre which is encircled by a loop of the river. Besançon was the hometown of Victor Hugo as well as the Lumière brothers, who were to invent cinema. The city is also known for its watchmaking tradition. The Museum of Time documents this interesting story, with a collection of beautiful old clocks and watches on display.
Some fine wines are produced in the Jura and Doubs, including Chardonnay, Crément and Arbois. Several well-known cheeses are made in this region, such as the famous cheese with holes in, emmental, as well as the hard comté cheese, and the softer Vacherin Mont d’Or. Several delicious smoked sausages come from this region too: try the saucisse de Morteau or Montbéliard.
Station to station