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Places to visit Leisure, Sports, Festivals... Places to visit around Besancon Hotels, Restaurants, Camping...

General Information

Encircled by the Doubs river and set in exceptionally beautiful surroundings, Besancon is a city of art and history. It won the title of France's "greenest city". Once controlled by the Spanish, Besancon still displays extensive fortifications built by the well known architect Vauban.
Capital of Franche-Comte, Besancon is the economic and cultural pole of the region. In the 19th Century, the city became the center of France's clock and watch-making. It is now a major European center of the precision industries sector (microtechnology, robotics,...).
It has an important university, a Center of intensive language studies, drawing students from all over the world. Besancon has a rich cultural life and has always been a music loving city. From June to September, "Festiv'été" offers all kinds of festivals (music, theater, dance, exhibitions...).
The city has first-class sports facilities. There is something for everyone, hiking, golf, cycling, horseback riding, canoeing...


Loue Valley

The most interesting and picturesque part of the valley is located between the source of the Loue river and the town of Ornans. The water flows along a deep wooded gorge. The Loue, one of the most beautiful rivers in France, is a canoeing and fishing paradise. Scenic points offer splendid views over the area.


26 Km (16 miles) from Besancon, it is one of the most picturesque towns in Franche-Comte, built on stilts along the Loue river. The old downtown houses seem to huddle over the water. It is the birthplace of Gustave Courbet, French realist painter, and his native house is now a museum. The National Fishing and Water Habitat museum is a rich source of information and is home to a variety of exhibitions.

City center

Gustave Courbet's native house

Arc et Senans

Royal Saltworks, masterpiece of architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux is located 30 km (20 miles) from Besancon. It was built in 1775 for industrial purposes, in both neo-classical and surrealistic style. It is listed by UNESCO as a World Historical Monument.

Caves around Besancon

Located about 20 Km (12 miles) away, some attractive caves are open to the public: "Gouffre de Poudrey", "Grottes d'Osselle" and "Grotte de la Glacière"

Open Air Museum of Comtoise Houses

15 Km (10 miles) from Besancon, in Nancray, this open air museum illustrates how houses styles have evolved over the ages in this region. On view are 24 country homes, dismantled and rebuilt stone by stone, in their natural setting. The traditions of that region are reflected in the furniture and agricultural tools displayed.

Dino Zoo

Located in the village of Charbonnières-les-Sapins, 20 km (12 miles) from Besancon and 4 km (3 miles) from the Gouffre de Poudrey abyss. This 10 hectare park, in a splendid site, traces the evolution of animal life over 500 million years, with life size models of the brontosaurs and other dinosaur species. This prehistoric park is the only one of its kind in eastern France.

  • "Festiv'été" :
    • Jazz in Franche-Comte in early July
    • Summer festivals with theater, music, dance, exhibitions and a film festival
    • Music Festival and Young Conductors competition

  • Cruises on the Doubs river with "bateau-mouche" boat

  • Ski, with webs of trails in the northern Jura mountain range.

  • All kinds of individual and collective sports activities:
    • Water activities: swimming-pools, rowing
    • Aerial sports: flying, parachuting, gliding
    • Golf
    • Horseback riding
    • Karting
    • Hiking along the nature discovery trails

  • Entertainment: Casino, bowling

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