Separated into lush green valley and the rocky Jura mountains, Franche Comte is a great place for outdoor pursuits such as climbing, cycling and water sports on the many lakes, as well as being renowned for its wines and many cheeses.

This region has two very different faces - the high valley of the Saône with its miles of rolling countryside, and to the east, the rugged Jura mountain range renowned for cross-country skiing and eye-catching scenery. Stunning waterfalls and caves can be found in the Doubs valley and Baume les Messieurs, while the surrounding woods and lakes are ideal for hiking and fishing.

Charming local wine villages such as Arbois offer rustic simplicity, while the region's capital, Besançon is a fortress town known mostly for its watch-making. The Musée du Temps here charting the history of these timepieces is well worth a look.

Visit Ronchamps for the extraordinary work of architect Le Corbusier - the chapel of Notre Dame du Haut is a fine example. And while in Franche Comté, make a point of sampling kirsch (a wonderful cherry tasting liqueur) and visiting Château-Châlon, where the Jura wines are produced.

Top places to visit

Arbois in Franche Comté is the capital of the renowned Jura wines and is the perfect base for exploring the stunning natural environment of mountains, gorges, caves and waterfalls in the area.

Montbéliard in Franche Comté was once the property of the dukes of Württemberg, sitting in peaceful countryside on the Swiss border, and is the home of Peugeot cars.

Dole in Franche Comté is a pretty town with an historical centre that is set in the beautiful countryside of the Doubs valley.

Top things to do

Located on an outcrop of rock, the Château de Montbéliard, also known as the Château des ducs de Württemberg, surveys the town of Montbéliard.

The Fine Arts Museum in Dole contains local and regional archaeological exhibits as well as collections of French and foreign paintings from the 15th to the 19th century.

France's second largest forest stretches across over 20,000 hectares between the Doubs and Loue rivers to the east of Dole. Rich in wildlife, with a good population of deer and wild boar as well as foxes, badgers and weasels,...

A beautiful historic house near the town hall, the Beurnier-Rossel mansion houses the the Museum of Art and History in Montbéliard. Providing a snapshot of what life was like for the urban bourgeoisie in the 18th and 19th...