Southwest of Besançon
Southwest of Besançon is wine and cheese country, home of the Route des Vins du Jura, the golden elixir, vin jaune, and sweet, nutty Comté cheese. It's also strongly identified with the scientific pioneer Louis Pasteur, who was born in Dole, raised in Arbois, and who taught in Besançon itself. It's a peaceful region of vineyards, rolling dairy farms, and old stone villages.
Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Jura
To experience the Jura in all of its upland beauty, head to the Haut-Jura Regional Park, whose 1780 sq km – in the départements of Ain, Doubs and Jura – stretch from Chapelle-des-Bois southward almost to the western tip of Lake Geneva. The park's prime sports hub, in both winter (skiing) and summer, is Les Rousses.
Métabief vies with Les Rousses for the honour of Jura’s leading cross-country ski resort. Winter and summer lifts take you almost to the top of Mont d’Or (1463m), the area's highest peak, where a fantastic 180-degree panorama stretches over the foggy Swiss plain to Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) and all the way from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc.
Envisaged by its designer, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, as the ‘ideal city’, the 18th-century Saline Royale in Arc-et-Senans, 35km southwest of Besançon, is a symmetrical showpiece of early Industrial-Age town planning. Although his urban dream was never fully realised, Ledoux’ semicircular Royal Saltworks won Unesco World Heritage listing in 1982.