Attractions

Top Choice Citadel in Besançon

Citadelle de Besançon

Dominating the city from Mt St-Etienne, more than 100 vertical metres above the old town, the 17th-century Citadelle de Besançon – designed by Vauban for Louis XIV – commands sweeping views of the city and the serpe…
Top Choice Museum in Besançon

Musée du Temps

Literal and figurative interpretations of time are woven together at the Musée du Temps, which places allegorical paintings about the passage of time next to 18th-century wall clocks and early astronomical equipment…
Museum in Besançon

Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie

France's oldest public museum, founded in 1694, is famous for its stellar collection of local Gallo-Roman archaeology; its Cabinet des Dessins, with some 6000 drawings from the 15th to 20th centuries, including mast…
Monument in Besançon

Horloge Astronomique

The base of 18th-century Cathédrale St-Jean's bell tower houses an incredible astronomical clock, powered by 11 weights, that has run the church's bells since its installation in 1860. The ornate gadget has 30,000 m…
Ruins in Besançon

Porte Noire

Erected in AD 175 in honour of Marcus Aurelius, this 16.5m-high Roman triumphal arch stands very near where the columns of a Roman theatre and the vestiges of an aqueduct (all still visible) were discovered in the l…
Museum in Besançon

Maison Natale de Victor Hugo

This spiffy museum gives an engaging account of the life and works of Besançon's best-known literary son, Victor Hugo, famous for masterpieces such as Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre D…
Cathedral in Besançon

Cathédrale St-Jean

The earliest parts of Besançon's cathedral date to 1127. Though heavily modified in ensuing centuries, following a 13th-century fire and the collapse of its bell tower in 1724, Romanesque capitals still sit atop its…
Historic Building in Besançon

Hôtel de Ville

Dating in its earliest parts from the late 14th century and later decorated with Italian Renaissance-style flourishes, Besançon's town hall was gutted by fire after an arson attack in 2015. Restoration work was due …
Museum in Besançon

FRAC Franche-Comté

Behind the chequerboard timber façade of this riverside gallery are ever-changing contemporary art exhibitions. The distinctive building, FRAC's home since 2013, was designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
Park in Besançon

Parc Micaud

Created in the 19th century, this leafy promenade is the ideal spot to stroll by the Doubs River and it's popular with local cyclists. It's a good place for a picnic with views towards the distant citadel.