Here, the waterfalls and springs take their source in the groundwater tables. Their flow increases dramatically under the impact of rainfall and melting snow, offering a truly spectacular sight! Not to mention the noise! Outside these periods of abundant flow, the cirque dries up and offers visitors a calmer, more hushed atmosphere.
In the heart of the Doubs Horloger Regional Nature Park, the Cirque de Consolation ticks all the boxes if it's a revitalising day out you're looking for. Prepare for a fabulous day in the great outdoors amid the majesty of nature, with spectacular settings and panoramic views, all in a lovely soothing atmosphere. For a refreshing experience and a sense of serenity by the waterfalls or in the forest, or for the thrill of the summits and challenging hiking trails, this is the place to be. Go on, you know you want to!
Tucked at the bottom of a steephead valley, a typical geological feature of the Jura Mountains, the Cirque de Consolation really is a world apart, a timeless and rejuvenating place. Amid the silence interrupted only by the sounds of nature, this spectacular green setting surrounded by sheer rock faces is absolutely teeming with life. It's magical!
Although it can be freely accessed, the Cirque de Consolation remains a rich and valuable natural space that must be preserved for the sake of future generations who will also benefit from its revitalising power.
With this in mind, a few simple rules should be scrupulously observed:
Stay on the waymarked paths in order to avoid harming the environment.
To preserve the site's tranquillity and integrity, it is forbidden to swim, light a fire or use a motor vehicle.
For your convenience, rubbish bins and toilets are available at the site. Please use them!
Amid the vegetation stand the Notre Dame de Consolation monastery and chapel, inviting you to pay them a visit and check out the programme of events hosted here through the year, including concerts, conferences, exhibitions and markets.
A walk to the Cirque!
The Cirque de Consolation is the ideal site for a family outing with children or a walk with friends who don't fancy a sporting challenge.
The walk takes you to the far end of the corrie where you'll see the Lançot waterfall and the incredibly high Tabourot waterfall. Along the way, just a hundred metres or so from the car park, you'll find an arboretum, a picnic area with tables, a monastery and a chapel... the promise of a fabulous day with the family in the great outdoors!
Added bonus for the kids: scattered around the arboretum are riddles which, along with a booklet on the plants and wildlilfe, make the outing even more fun.
The best time to visit the waterfalls
Take to the trails around the Cirque de Consolation!
Surrounded by more than 80 km of hiking paths, trail running routes and mountain bike itineraries, the Cirque de Consolation is a must for fans of outdoor activities! And the icing on the cake is that nature will reward your efforts with breathtaking views over the surrounding mountains and forest.
Not to be missed: the Roche du Prêtre and Sainte-Catherine hiking trails.
Caroline, a local lady, told us this secret about the Roche du Prêtre:
To make the most of the sunny days and colours of autumn, take a picnic to the Roche du Prêtre… A soothing place where nature stretches as far as the eye can see over the Dessoubre valley. If you're lucky and observant enough, you'll spot plenty of wildlife (chamois, peregrine falcon, etc.). An easy hike for the whole family, with a car park close by!
This fairly challenging itinerary is not recommended for children, or people who have a fear of heights. It is, however, well worth the effort for the spectacular panoramic view from the top, stretching as far as the eye can see over the Dessoubre valley and the monastery, tucked amid the greenery some 350 metres lower down.
If you're not that brave, no worries! The panoramic lookout point can also be reached by car. Remember to take a picnic which you'll enjoy while admiring the view from one of the picnic tables provided.Good to know before you leave...
7 km - 3 hours of walking
One-way itinerary (steps on the climb)
A few tricky sections
Good walking shoes and helmet recommended
This route is a little easier than the Roche du Prêtre trail but a few precautions should nevertheless be taken. The reward for your effort is just as fabulous when you reach the spectacular panoramic lookout point displaying nature in all her majesty.Good to know before you leave...
4 km - 2 hours
A few exposed ridge sections (not for the faint-hearted!)
Good walking shoes recommended
The Roche du Prêtre
The site is named after a 17th-century priest who died after falling here. His unexplained fall has been linked to the legend of a giant who lived in a cave at the bottom of the cliffs. It is said that the priest imprisoned the giant in his den, which led to the friends of the latter taking revenge by pushing the priest off the top of the rock.
The Doubs Horloger Regional Nature Park
The Doubs Horloger Regional Nature Park is the most recent addition to the parks of the Jura Mountains. It offers a whole host of authentic, revitalising and inspirational experiences for visitors to enjoy to their heart's content.
The park's geological and meteorological history have shaped the contrasting variety of landscapes here. The deep valleys, dizzying cliffs, rounded summits and vast plateaus are home to some unique and thriving fauna and flora.
The mountain climate led to the development of the Jura Mountains' iconic clock/watchmaking activity which has been added to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.
So go exploring and keep your eyes and ears wide open!Find out more about the regional nature park