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The Jura Mountains

Brooding landscapes and inspiring hikes define the sparsely populated Jura Mountains. Extending along the Franco–Swiss border from Lake Geneva northeast to Belfort, these sub-alpine mountains lent their name to the Jurassic period in geology, when they formed. Rising highest is Crêt de la Neige (1720m), in the southwest of the Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Jura.

In summer, fruitières (dairies) and vineyards unbolt their doors to sell prized regional produce like Comté cheese and unmistakable vin jaune (regional gold-coloured wine) to a mostly French influx of hikers and bikers. Winter attracts cross-country skiers to Les Rousses and Métabief, while the best limber up in the regional park for the Transjurassienne, France's toughest cross-country ski race.

Cultural sights, mostly overlooked by foreign tourists, provide opportunities to catch your breath: the citadels of Belfort and Besançon, modernist architecture in Arc-et-Senans and Ronchamp, and legacies of home-grown luminaries like Victor Hugo and biologist Louis Pasteur.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Jura Mountains.