A 4-day circuit in Franche-Comté between Dole and Lons-le-Saunier, here is what this tour offers you. Substantial built heritage, forests of centuries-old trees, the tasting of Jura wines and numerous visits to fascinate your children. It’s a beautiful trip between mountains, pretty villages and Jura vineyards.
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It’s in Dole that your tour of the Jura begins. The pride of its inhabitants and of the region, Dole stands out for its prestigious past as the regional capital, endowed with a Parliament and the authority to mint coins. The richness of its heritage bears witness to this ancient glory.
Begin by visiting the old town nestled around Notre-Dame. Its streets are narrow and winding, its houses, from the 15th to the 18th century, each one tight against the next, offer interesting details: emblazoned gates, round, square or hexagonal turrets…
Next, take the road to the Chaux Forest, the second largest forest in France and take the opportunity to visit La Vieille-Loye, the only village in the forest.
Between the Loue and Chaux Forests sits the royal saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, built in the 18th century by the visionary architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. The impressive complex remains one of the flagships of industrial architecture in France, registered as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Not to be missed!
Next, head to Salins-les-Bains to spend the night.
MyTripTailor Advice: A boat ride along the Loue is great for the children. Surrounded by rivers and forests, the Dolois region is ideal for outdoor activities.
Sitting at the bottom of a deep valley, in the shadow of Fort Belin and Fort St-André, Salins-les-Bains’ treasure is hidden a few dozen metres underground. It’s here, in fact, that the brine was drawn to extract the white gold. Today, the Grande Saline is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site and the city has become a pleasant spa town.
After the Grande Saline, head to the Salt museum and, if you have time before heading back to the car, go to admire the Saint-Anatoile Church, one of the best examples of 13th century Cistercian Burgundy Gothic in Franche-Comté.
Before arriving in Champagnole, take the Route des Sapins. It offers, for over 40km between Champagnole and Levier, a wonderful route through the Fresse, Chapois, La Joux and Levier forests.
Overnight in Champagnole.
MyTripTailor Advice: Give the children a visit with a difference to the Saline, “The White Gold Rush” (during school holidays) . Weather permitting, take them to gaze at the spectacle of the gliders and paragliders at Mont Poupet.
A strategic point in the heart of a particularly rich tourist region, Champagnole is a favourite starting point for excursions in the Vallée de l’Ain, the Forest of the Joux or the beautiful Lakes region.
Start with a visit of the Archaeological Museum and then take the Mont Rivel trail before exploring the surrounding area: the Cascade du Hérisson and the Villa Palladian de Syam. Astonishing in the Jura landscape, the villa was built in 1818 by Emmanuel Jobez, a master of ironworks and Italian architecture. Its square plan, accentuated by ionic pillars, rendered the same colour, the central rotunda and the Pompeii style decoration, all in the style of an Italian villa. Majestic!
It’s now time to take the road to Lons-le-Saunier where you will spend the night.
MyTripTailor Advice: Don’t miss the impressive Billaude waterfall and the fascinating Langouette gorges.
A spa town and the capital of Jura, Lons is a small town full of character. The development of its important artistic, historical and archaeological heritage, along with its proximity to the vineyards, offers fantastic prospects. It’s also the birthplace of Rouget de Lisle and… the Laughing Cow!
Don’t miss the majestic theatre, the Rue du Commerce and its arcades; The collection of earthenware, tin and copper pots from the Hotel-Dieu pharmacy; the small well of the Puits-Salé and in late afternoon the caves of creux de Revigny.
Before you reach Dole to complete your tour, a small trip to the Arbois vineyard is a must to taste the inimitable vin jaune (in moderation, you have a few miles to go!)
MyTripTailor Advice: Something for the children: Maison de la Vache qui Rit (the House of the Laughing Cow) of course!
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