Fancy a refreshing experience on the water's edge in the Jura Mountains?

How about exploring Besançon and the banks of the Doubs on foot or by bike, then following the river to the famous Saut du Doubs waterfall? Along the way, you'll be able to admire the picture-perfect scenery of the Haut-Doubs, and the superb traditional farms of Franche-Comté!

Coline PONNELLE / BFC Tourisme
Day 1 - morning: walk or bike ride

Besançon alongside the Doubs

What's so special about Besançon? It is a town of greenery surrounded by 6 hills and set on a bend of the river Doubs. We recommend exploring the gardens, parks and tree-lined riverbanks either on foot or by bike!

It's time to set off on a peaceful exploration of the great outdoors to discover the pretty little areas of greenery along the banks of the river including Gare d'Eau and Parc Micaud. Keep your eyes peeled because there are lots of birds here such as colonies of cormorants, goosanders or the discreet kingfisher.

Explore the hills of Besançon

A walk along the Doubs
M.COQUARD et E.DETREZ Bestjobers / Bourgogne-Franche-Comte Tourisme

Opt for a 4.6 km walk along the Doubs in Besançon. The town seems so peaceful and rural from the riverbanks. With the Citadel serving as the backdrop, the scenery is like being inside a painting.

Find out more about this walk

A bike ride along the Doubs

Another option is to explore by bike! There's a short section of the Eurovélo 6 that runs alongside the river. We recommend the Boucle Cyclo 5 (cycle loop trail), a fantastic 21.5 km cycle route along the peaceful towpath.

Find out more about this cycle route


Day 1 - afternoon: the must-sees!

The monuments of Besançon

What should you visit first while you're in Besançon? Here are two places that you absolutely must visit while you're staying in the capital of Franche-Comté!

Besançon Citadel

First things first, head to the Citadel. This Vauban fortification is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and it is a surprising place.

Tour of the ramparts, Musée Comtois, zoo, Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation and so much more. You'll need half a day to explore this place!

Find out more about the Citadel

Le Musée du Temps

Another unmissable place is the Musée du Temps, a museum set inside the Palais Granvelle.

On your visit, you'll be able to admire the town's fascinating clock-making heritage. Expect to see watches, clocks and some other exceptional items!

Find out more about the museum
Did you know? Besançon is the two-tone town!

Most of the buildings in the centre of Besançon were built from Chailluz blue stone. This ochre and beige mottled stone with blue-grey markings is extracted from Chailluz forest. For some brief background information, it was declared compulsory in 1569 to build using this stone in Besançon as part of an effort to put an end to the fires burning down buildings made from wood.

Day 2 - morning: a walk or boat trip

The Saut du Doubs: the wonder of the Pays Horloger!

For your second day, head to the heart of the Grand Site National des Bassins and to the Saut du Doubs waterfall. You can go on a boat trip through the spectacular natural environment and the highlight of this trip will undoubtedly be the impressive 27-metre-high waterfall.

If you prefer to stay on dry land, you can! There is also a footpath up to the waterfall. Whichever you choose, you are guaranteed a change of scenery!

Find out more about the Saut du Doubs

Traditional farms of Franche-Comté: totems of the Haut-Doubs

You have most probably heard of these traditional farms, known as the 'fermes comtoises' in French. So how about coming to find out more about these famous, impressive buildings?

If you are looking for a farm to visit, come to the Ferme-Musée de Grand’Combe-Châteleu! When you arrive, venture inside the traditional 18th century farm and journey back in time to life in the olden days.

Find out more about the Ferme-Musée Grand’Combe-Châteleu 

A wonderful journey back in time!

Our recommendations for some great farms to stay at

To get the ultimate experience, we recommend staying at a 'ferme comtoise'. But not just any old farm! We have selected some of the best ones just for you: 

Our visits and recommendations on the map

Other experiences along the water's edge

En résumé