The Jura Mountains 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 Chapel in The Jura Mountains

Chapelle de Notre-Dame du Haut

Bringing to mind a ship's sail or a lighthouse summoning the faithful, modernist Chapelle Notre-Dame (1955) roosts hilltop above the small town of Ronchamp, 20km west of Belfort. Visionary architect Le Corbusier was…
Top Choice Monument in Belfort

Lion du Belfort

Belfort's icon is a monumental lion statue that sits astride the citadel, scowling down on the town. Created by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, best known for designing the Statue of Liberty, the red sandstone lion – al…
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…
Castle in The Jura Mountains

Château de Joux

Clinging to a limestone outcrop, Château de Joux, 10km north of Métabief, used to guard the route between Switzerland and France. Its foundations date to 1034, though medieval towers and Vauban-era walls have fortif…
Architecture in Arc-et-Senans

Saline Royale

These wondrously symmetrical early–Industrial Age saltworks were designed to be an 'ideal city' by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Though Ledoux's plans never came to fruition, the 18th-century saltworks and its outbuildings…
Cave in Baume-les-Messieurs

Grottes de Baume

The 30-million-year-old Grottes de Baume are secreted away in the cliffs 2km south of Baume-les-Messieurs. On guided tours, visitors can weave their way along 2.5km of passageways, with stalactites dangling above an…
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…
Abbey in The Jura Mountains

Abbaye de Montbenoît

Montbenoît's Renaissance-style tower – emblazoned with a horseback knight – instantly impresses. Inside, explore the old abbey's double-columned cloisters and a 12th-century church, whose wooden stalls bear ornate c…
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…