Must-see attractions in The Jura Mountains

  • A picture taken on July 10, 2008, in Besancon, eastern France shows the fortification of the town's citadel, which was added to the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO on July 7 2008. The fortification represents the "finest examples" of the work of Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban, a military engineer of King Louis XIV. The total number of World Heritage sites now reaches 878 sites in 145 countries.   AFP PHOTO JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)

    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…

  • Chapelle de Notre-Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France.

    Chapelle de Notre-Dame du Haut

    The Jura Mountains

    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…

  • Lion du Belfort

    The Jura Mountains

    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…

  • 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…

  • Chateau de Joux at sunset.

    Château de Joux

    The Jura Mountains

    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…

  • Arc-et-Senans, France - September 1, 2020: Front view of the southern facade of the former Guards building of the Royal Saltworks, with a neoclassical portico, only entrance to the site.

    Saline Royale

    The Jura Mountains

    These wondrously symmetrical early–Industrial Age saltworks were designed to be an 'ideal city' by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Though Ledoux's plans never came…

  • The Caves of Baume Interior.

    Grottes de Baume

    The Jura Mountains

    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…

  • Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology in Besançon, France.

    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…

  • The Augustinian abbey in Montbenoit, France.

    Abbaye de Montbenoît

    The Jura Mountains

    Montbenoît's Renaissance-style tower – emblazoned with a horseback knight – instantly impresses. Inside, explore the old abbey's double-columned…

  • BESANCONS, FRANCE/EUROPE - SEPTEMBER 13: Astronomical Clock in Cathedral of St Jean in Besancon France on September 13, 2015; Shutterstock ID 323711300; full: digital; gl: 65050; netsuite: pot; your: Barbara Di Castro

    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…

  • The black gate 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…

  • Parc Naturel Régional du Haut-Jura

    The Jura Mountains

    Rippling along the border between Switzerland and France is this 1780-sq-km regional natural park, a peaceful, under-explored slice of the Jura Mountains…

  • 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…

  • Grande Saline

    The Jura Mountains

    The salty history of the Jura is well-explained in the town of Salins-les-Bains, which derives its very name from the salt trade. Step inside the Grande…

  • Parc Polaire

    The Jura Mountains

    Get close to scampering chamois, Greenland huskies and wild horses on two-hour guided walking tours around this nature park in Chaux-Neuve, 25km southwest…

  • Musée Pasteur

    The Jura Mountains

    Louis Pasteur (1822–95), who developed the first rabies vaccine and, of course, pasteurisation, spent his first three years in Dole. His childhood home in…

  • Musée de l’Aventure Peugeot

    The Jura Mountains

    Nineteenth-century industry is paid homage in aptly vintage style, within this museum 14km south of Belfort. Before Peugeot was a household name, the…

  • 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…

  • Maison du Parc du Haut-Jura

    The Jura Mountains

    Part-museum, part-tourist office, the Maison du Parc is an excellent place to learn about the Jura's flora and fauna, as well as browse old-fangled skis…

  • Abbaye Impériale

    The Jura Mountains

    Baume-les-Messieurs' abandoned Benedictine Abbaye Impériale has an exquisite polychrome Flemish altarpiece dating from the 16th century (the time when the…

  • 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…

  • Maison de Louis Pasteur

    The Jura Mountains

    Louis Pasteur's laboratory and workshops have been preserved at his familial house, which still sports its 19th-century fixtures and fittings. Digital …

  • FRAC Franche-Comté


    Behind the chequerboard timber façade of this riverside gallery are ever-changing contemporary art exhibitions. The distinctive building, FRAC's home…

  • Cascades des Tufs

    The Jura Mountains

    Near the Grottes de Baume, the Tufs waterfalls slosh dramatically over limestone boulders into the Dard River. There are picturesque walking trails nearby.

  • Musée de la Vigne et du Vin du Jura

    The Jura Mountains

    The history behind the Jura's prized vin jaune (barrel-matured wine with a distinctive yellow hue) is told at this understated museum, between the turrets…

  • 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…

  • Église de la Madeleine


    This 18th-century neoclassical church towers over place Jouffroy, at the foot of the Battant district.

More destinations you need to see