The rolling, wooded, limestone mountains of the Jura form a natural border with Switzerland. A fascinating region that retains its rich, rustic charm; glorious gorges, fairytale forests, serene lakes and plunging valley waterfalls at pratically every turn.
The Besançon Citadel
Vauban's 17th century masterpiece, the Besançon Citadel, it is considered to be one of the best in France. The walls of the citadel lie 100 metres above the old town positioned very near to the River Doubs. The walls are up to 20 metres high and 5 to 6 metres thick. It offers visitors spectacular views over the old town of Besançon and it's surrounding area.
During May to September you can hire kayaks along the river. Enjoy the mountains and undulating plateaus which stretch across this region, a great way to get tranquillity away from the crowds.
A music & wine tasting event happening on the 3rd weekend in July in Arbois, the capital of Jura, famous for its gastronomy.
Local to the Jura region, Comte cheese is made from unpasteurised cows milk and has the highest production of all French cheese, over 40,000 tonnes a year!
“It’s easy to understand why the Gallic gentry made the Loire valley their playground. No less epic but with a mountain backdrop, the Jura is surprisingly popular and has many loyal followers.”
With Bourgogne to the west and Lorraine to the north, in France's eastern Franche-Comté, the rolling, wooded, limestone mountains of the Jura form a natural border with Switzerland and have been a huge attraction to hikers, skiers and outdoor adventurers for centuries. And it's easy to see why.
What to eat and drink in Jura
Sample Jura's specialities in a host of splendid eateries dotted in and around the mountains. They will almost all have Jura's robust chicken dishes on the menu, like Coq au Vin Jaune (melt-in-the mouth morsels, soaked in the wonderful sherry-like 'yellow wine'.) The region is also famous for its salted beef, cured ham, hearty hot pots, pork saucisse and fabulous fondue. There's a board-full of classic cheeses to behold too, such as Gruyere, Comté and Morbier. And who could resist a slab of Papet Jurassien (orange mountain tart) or Tarte au Goumeau to round off the feast? Let's not forget the accompanying wines - every list is positively groaning with AOC (premium-quality) specialities, such as Crémant du Jura, Macvin du Jura and sweet Vin de Paille.
What to see and do in Jura
Jura is home to one of the world's most spectacular mountain locations, so you can expect to see a breathtaking variety of awe-inspiring, achingly beautiful features left to us by Mother Nature. The rock-splitting Herisson Falls, for example, (31 in all, including the 60m Grande Cascade) are high on most visitors' agendas, as indeed are the Gouffre de Poudrey caves (complete with sight and sound show). You might want to visit the lakes of Ilay, Vouglans and Bonlieu too. Or if man-made marvels are more to your taste, don't miss the fearsome fortress 'Chateau de Joux' the citadel in historic Besancon, Dole's 16th Century Eglise Notre Dame and the house of groundbreaking biologist Louis Pasteur (Arbois). Children will perhaps prefer the Dinosaur Zoo, or be tugging at your trousers to buy them a delightful wooden toy, for which the Jura is renowned. You might even want to treat yourself whilst you're there - how about a souvenir clock or a Gustave Courbet print? Watch the Tour de France from here!