Dole travel guide

Cities and towns

About Dole

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

The former capital of the county of Burgundy, until Louis XIV brought it under French control, Dole is classed as a city of art and history thanks to its remarkable historical area and medieval streets. An excellent base for those who love the great outdoors, it sits in the Doubs valley where forests, vineyards, rivers and canals are all a part of the stunning countryside. Much of the historical area of town is in the Renaissance and Classical styles and is dominated by the outstanding Collégiale Notre Dame, a collegiate church built in the 16th century which underwent recent restoration work for its 500th birthday. Also, the Hôtel Dieu is a wonderful piece of civil architecture. Built in the 17th century as a charity hospital, it has a long magnificent balcony covered in interesting carvings and is now a library. Dole has some famous sons, in particular the scientist Louis Pasteur who was born in the town. You can visit the tanner's house he was born in which is now the Musée Pasteur de Dole. Established in 1923, the museum looks at both his scientific and artistic work. The writer Marcel Ayme also spent much of his childhood in Dole and it inspired several of his novels. In the Fine Arts Museum, housed inside the 18th century Officer's Pavilion, you'll find archaeological collections of prehistoric art up to the Merovingian era, sculptures and paintings from the seventeenth century onwards and some regional and contemporary art including scenes of conquest from the history of Franche Comté.

Enjoy the fresh air and lush greenery of the Doubs valley by getting out and about! With 13 themed hiking routes and the EuroVelo 6 cycle route passing through the valley from Dole to Basel in Switzerland, you can enjoy the countryside at your own pace. The forest of Chaux is an especial favourite for hikers as it sits between the areas of the Doubs valley and the wonderful Val d'Amour. With the river Doubs and Loue both around Dole, there is always something to do on the water whether it's fishing, swimming or kayaking in the river or boating on the canals. At the Prélot marina you can hire boats or just sit at one of the many restaurants and admire as they go in and out. Or, why not take a relaxing stroll through some of Dole's gardens such as the jardin Carmelites where nuns once came to pray and meditate, and the 18th century jardin St Course Mauris which is built on the ancient city walls? You can even enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Doubs valley from the sky in a hot air balloon! For those looking to keep the kids entertained, look no further than the Aquaparc Isis, a huge water park with flumes, waterslides and swimming pools that is a great, fun day out for all the family.

Dole has some excellent specialist food and wine shops as well as gifts shops so you'll be sure to find some souvenirs to take home with you. The Franche Comté region is known for its cheeses and some to try are Comté, a popular cheese with a nutty caramel flavour, Emmental Grand Cru, full of holes and with a fruity taste and Bleu de Gex, a mild tasting blue cheese made from cow's milk. Meats such as jambon de Luxeuil, a smoked ham that has ben soaked in red wine, and brési, a salted and smoked beef, are also local specialities. Sample some of the areas best dishes in Dole's restaurants such as Croute aux Morilles, morel mushrooms on toast, Morbiflette, a dish of potatoes and saucisse Morteau or bacon with melted Morbier cheese, and truite au vin jaune, trout cooked in yellow wine. Enjoy with some AOC status wines from the Jura wine region, including vin jaune which is made from dried grapes and very sweet, or some sparkling Le Crésant.

Why visit Dole?

  • Outdoor Activities
  • Collégiale Notre Dame
  • The Countryside
  • Food and Drink 

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Franche Comté
  • Department: Jura
  • Population: 25,000
  • Coordinates: 47.100278,5.490023

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

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,...

Containing many of Pasteur's personal souvenirs such as family portraits and a picture of the shepherd who Pasteur famously saved using his anti-rabies treatment, Louis Pasteur's house sits on the beautiful bank sof the...

A small museum where you can learn all about the wines of the Jura, the Musée de la Vigne et du Vin has a particular focus on the unusual Vin Jaune.

Places to visit nearby

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.

Dijon in Burgundy is the historic seat of the Dukes of Burgundy and has a rich medieval heritage.

Langres in Champagne Ardenne is a fortified town dating as far back as the 4th century.