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Jura wine region video clip

Entirely surrounded by vineyards, the wine capital of the Jura, Arbois, is a small town which dates back to more than seven centuries. Its church towers, châteaux and old houses form an harmonious ensemble of brown roofs and ochre walls.
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), the famous bacteriologist, grew up in Arbois. Memories of him can be discovered through the town : his house, the school he attended, a bronze statue...

Arbois produces some excellent wines, such as the exceptionally heady and expensive "vin jaune"(yellow wine) which is matured for six years in oak barrels and can keep for up to a century, and the "vin de paille"(made from overripe grapes traditionally dried on straw, before being pressed).
Several winegrowers open their cellars and offer wine tasting.

Annual wine festivals take place in the area. The "Fête du Biou" is the major and oldest celebration. The wine-growers gather many bunches of grapes and bind them together to built an enormous bunch called the "Biou". It weights 80-100 kg (176-220 lb). On the first Sunday in September, they parade through town and after the procession, the "Biou" is hung in the church as an offering to St. Just, the patron Saint of Arbois.

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City Center

Place de la Liberte: 18th Century houses with their arcades and wrought-iron balconies line the main square. A 19th Century fountain with lions figures ornates the center.

Saint Just Church

The 12th-13th Century church stands on a spacious square along the Cuisance river and is noted for its bell tower overlooking the town from its 60 m (197 feet) height. It houses the biggest bell in the Jura.

Pasteur's Family Home Museum

The house was his father's tannery and was Pasteur's research laboratory from 1874 on. Home and furnishings are kept as they were at the time of the scientist's death, in 1895 (bedroom, laboratory with equipment, study and library).

River Bank

The Cuisance river snakes through Arbois before joining the Loue river. The water provided power for many establishments, including the tannery owned by Louis Pasteur's father. Today, the overhanging houses and stone bridges are a pretty sight along the river banks.

Chateau Pécauld

This medieval castle, part of the remains of the city walls, houses the Jura Wine Institute, a training and promotion center and a wine museum. An outdoor display illustrates the various activities of the winegrower. Inside, the castle offers exhibits on the history of local viticultural activity, and a visit of the cellars.
Wine harvesting in the traditional way takes place in mid-September.

Musée Sarret-de-Grozon

Museum located in an 18th Century mansion, with its original furniture and woodwork. Beautiful collections of paintings, china and silverware.

The old city walls

From the Pont des Capucins, bridge over the Cuisance river, the view extends to the hills, the old houses and the remains of the fortifications with its two old towers: Tour Gloriette (16th Century) and Tour Chaffin.

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Arc et Senans

The Royal Saltworks of the 18th Century is an example of Claude Nicholas Ledoux's neoclassical and unique industrial architecture. It has been included in UNESCO's list of the world's historical monuments. Part of the buildings now houses a cultural center, the Foundation Claude Nicolas Ledoux, which organizes a number of events.

Salins les Bains

The town lies along the pretty, narrow valley of the Furieuse river, beneath the fortresses of Belin and St. Andre, and Mont Poupet, offering one of the best panoramic view of the region.
This town takes its name from salt and the saltworks which historically was responsible for the town's vitality. Salins is the only salt mine open to the public, showing how salt water was once pumped out of the Jura soil. Today the salt waters of Salins are used exclusively for salt water cures in the local spas.
Fine earthenware is made by the local craftsmen.


Poligny is the capital of Comte cheese. A small town surrounded by rich farmland. The rock "Croix du Dan" towers over the town. The "Comte cheese House" houses a museum devoted to the famous regional product, the slow-maturing Comte cheese. It demonstrates how it is made, ripened, and the environment it needs. Good wines have been produced from the surrounding area for centuries. Poligny has a rich architectural heritage from past times.

Picturesque Villages

Some villages have lovely churches, castles, medieval vestiges, typical winegrowers' farmhouses. Pupillin (3 km from town) is one of the most famous local vineyards. In Montigny-les-Arsures (2 km to the north of town), Pasteur bought a vineyard where he conducted his famous experiments on fermentation in grapes.

Jura Wine Road

Jura wine road stretches from Salins-les-Bains to Saint Amour, along the foothills of the sunny vineyard-covered slopes of the Jura Massif and connects 80 km (50 miles) of burgs and wine-growing villages.

Reculee et Grottes des Planches

5 km from Arbois, a reculée, valley closed by rocky amphitheaters, was created by the erosive action of water and is peppered with caves and waterfalls. In the same area, Moidons and Baume-les-Messieurs caves are open to the public.
There is a superb view of the Reculee from the Belvedere du Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval, scenic point overlooking the valley floor from nearly 200 m (656 ft) up.
   Arbois Photo Gallery   Franche-Comte map