Green Valleys of Franche Comté Franche-Comté
Green Valleys of Franche Comté
Valleys of the Doubs and the Jura and their rich cultural heritage
Green Valleys of Franche Comté
The little known region of Franche Comté is a beautiful rural area of eastern France and has a lot to offer in terms of natural environment, historic heritage, museums and sites. This holiday gives a choice of various walks and hikes to suit all abilities. You can walk in lush green valleys, through woods and clearings, between the rivers, Loue and Lison. Visit famous sites like Ornans; home town of the painter Gustave Courbet, or the Royal Saltworks in Arc et Senans; a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Full brief from our representative every morning
- Fortified town of Besançon
- Courbet Museum
- Waterfall of the Lison River
- Spa town of Salins les Bains and Salt Museum
- La Taillanderie Eco-museum
- Arbois vineyards and Louis Pasteur Museum
- Arc et Senans Royal Saltworks, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Option to upgrade to a Michelin starred restaurant
- Five 3* hotels and one 4* hotel
You can choose to begin this holiday on any day of the week.
Itinerary & Hotels
Arrival Besançon day 1
Protected by the loop of the River Doubs and seven fortified places on the hills around, Besançon is a jewel of architecture from the 16th to the 18th century. Visit its famous citadel built by Vauban, the old town and its pedestrianised streets which conceal a wealth of interesting museums. Your first night is at the hotel Le Sauvage, a magnificent conversion of a former chapel dating from the 17th century, just below the citadel.
Hôtel le Sauvage
The 3 star Hôtel Sauvage is a converted ancient Monastary situated in the historic quarter of Besançon and at the foot of the Citadelle. The hotel offers amazing views across the town and the Doubs Valley and also benefits from a sunny terrace where you can relax with a drink.
- Rooms with views of the Citadel
- Flat screen TV
- Free WiFi
Clients are booked into Le Sauvage on a B&B basis. A continental breakfast is served in the elegant dining area or on the terrace.
Cléron to Ornans day 2
After a taxi transfer from Besançon and some briefing by our local representative, the suggested route, largely in forest, starts in the Loue valley, climbs to a ruined château on the high ground and remains at high level, with some impressive views into valleys below. Descend into picturesque Ornans, birthplace of the French painter Courbet and maybe visit the intimate museum featuring his work.
There are a variety of other routes available (easier or longer) if you wish.
Hôtel de France - Ornans
This 16th Century post house is now a beautiful, floral residence, located in the heart of Ornans, pearl of the Loue valley.
- 25 rooms and one suite
- Ensuite bathrooms
- Mini bar
- Direct phone
- Pleasant garden
The gastronomic restaurant "Le France" serves carefully prepared dishes and regional specialities: morel mushrooms à la crème, trout with Arbois 'yellow' wine.
Longeville to Mouthier-Haute-Pierre day 3
After a taxi transfer from your hotel in Ornans, you will be dropped off above Longeville, a charming village on the Amancey plateau. This is a spectacular day’s walk. Highlights are the magnificent views from the escarpment above the Loue valley and the Source de la Loue (the river emerging from a cave). Walk down the Gorges de Nouailles alongside tumbling waterfalls and a visit to the smaller Source du Pontet and Grotte des Faux Monnayeurs.
There is an alternative to shorten the route
Hôtel La Cascade
La Cascade offers a terrace in the summer, a semi gastronomic restaurant with panoramic views, and a buffet or continental breakfast. It is 35 km from Besançon and a 25-minute drive from Pontarlier. Set atop a rocky outcrop, the hotel enjoys a truly exceptional setting; each bedroom opens onto a balcony offering superb views of the Nouailles gorges. Besides the warm and friendly welcome, guests will appreciate the peace and calm of the surroundings.
- En-suite bathrooms
- Free WiFi
- Free parking
The panoramic restaurant provides a feast for the eyes and of course for the palate, with dishes made from seasonal local produce, prepared with an original touch.
Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne day 4
Your guide will collect you from your hotel in Mouthier-Haute-Pierre. The suggested route for today is quite relaxing but our rep can recommend options for a more demanding walk if you prefer. The highlights are the Grotte Sarrasine, a cave under a huge domed cliff overhang, Source du Lison, smaller scale than yesterday’s Source de la Loue, but still very impressive and Creux de Billard, a large collapsed underground cavern or sinkhole. The Taillanderie museum is also worth a visit; a preserved large-scale hydraulic-powered forge. Some stunning views of the impressive landscape.
Transfer to your hotel in Salins-les-Bains at the end of your day.
Grand Hôtel des Bains
In the centre of a spa resort but in a greenery setting nevertheless. A hotel of character that welcomes you with a friendly atmosphere. A charming and relaxing setting, ideal for visiting the town, the picturesque wine-growing region, or to enjoy the spa facilities of the resort.
- Indoor pool
- Spa and wellness centre
- Free WiFi
- Free parking
The hotel has 2 restaurants and offers a wide choice of regional specialities.
Circuit walk - Salins-les-Bains and its landscapes day 5
The suggested walk today is relatively short but with a significant climb and descent. The first half involves a climb, mostly in open ground, through lovely pastures. The descent is mainly in forest but with the occasional impressive views to the northwest. The guide can recommend longer or shorter routes. A shorter route will allow you time to enjoy some of the attractions in Salins-les-Bains, primarily La Grande Saline Museum of Salt which is fascinating and highly recommended, and if you would like to experience any of a range of relaxing therapies in this old spa town then a visit to the Therma Salina is a must.
Arbois day 6
The day starts with a pick-up from your guide at your hotel in Salins-les-Bains. You could have a shorter day and the opportunity to learn about grapes and wine and to taste locally produced products. Or you might prefer a longer route and guidance notes for a full day’s walking. Highlights are Arbois wine, lovely town of Arbois and surrounding villages with a choice of two interesting and scenic walks.
Hôtel des Messageries
A typical French 3-star hotel in the heart of the town of Arbois, wine capital of the Jura. The Hôtel des Messageries has been hosting travellers since 1865.
Dinner is in the nearby restaurant Les Arcades,. Upgrade to the two Michelin starred restaurant Maison Jeunet is also possible. Please ask Belle France for details and price.
- 22 rooms full of charm with private bathroom with bath or shower
- safe deposit box
- courtesy welcome pack
- All rooms have flat-screen cable TV
- free WiFi.
The hotel does not have a restaurant but you are booked in the restaurant Les Arcades a short walk away. The building was once an ancient convent but was converted to a restaurant over forty years ago and it serves dishes typical of the Jura.
Continental breakfasts are served in the dining-room from 7.30 am to 10 am
Saline Royale d'Arc to Port Lesney day 7
Your guide will collect you from the Arbois hotel and take you to the Saline Royale. The suggested itinerary for today is to start with a visit to the World Heritage Site, Saline Royale d’Arc. The 9.5 km walk to your hotel in Port-Lesney can be shortened a little or lengthened. If you would like another walk in the afternoon there is a suggestion for a 12 km circuit mostly alongside the Loue river, passing through two picturesque villages, with only a relatively short climb and descent at the beginning.
Château de Germigney
Hotel Château de Germigney is a 4 star Relais et Châteaux in the former house of a Marquis and has a renowned gastronomic restaurant. The château has a natural, environmentally-friendly swimming pool set amongst beautiful grounds. Possible to upgrade your stay with a half bottle of champagne in your room and a dinner in the gastronomic restaurant the 'Marquis' set in part of the Orangerie and overlooking the herb garden. Please ask Belle France for details and price.
- Bathroom with bathtub, L'Occitane beauty products, makeup mirror, bathrobes and slippers, hairdryer
- Free-of-charge WiFi
- Flat screen television (satellite)
- Iron and ironing board on request
Your dinner is booked at the Bistrot de Port Lesney, owned by the Château and a short walk away from it. Flavour blended with simplicity. The tables are dressed with chequered red and white tablecloths. The terrace is lit by old fashioned street lamps and a light hearted friendly atmosphere prevails.
Route & Location
Customise Your Holiday
EXTRA NIGHT AND UPGRADES
Add an extra night B&B in the ancient city of Besançon either at the start or at the end of the holiday to explore one of the most persevered historic cities of France. Please call for details.
Day 6: Upgrade for a dinner in a two Michelin starred restaurant at Maison Jeunet. The Chef Steven Naessens, born in Bruges, says: “Maison Jeunet” boasts a long history and culinary experience that stretches back over several decades. André and Jean-Paul Jeunet's emblematic dishes, such as spring chicken with "yellow" Jura wine and morel mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes with truffles, have now become some of the restaurant's cornerstone dishes. The Jura land, with its rich and untouched natural environments, provides me with the utmost pleasure of exploration, discovery and encounters with the area's growers, breeders and producers who work with such passion and respect for their produce.
Succumb to the temptation with the Menu “Le point d’Equilibre” booked by Belle France.
Restaurant closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Day 7: Upgrade your stay in the Château de Germigney with 1/2 bottle of champagne in your room and a dinner in the gastronomic restaurant made up of two rooms the “Marquis” and the “Orangerie” overlooking the herb garden. Both are elegant venues with their own characters. The chef Pierre Basso-Moro will delight your taste buds with a blend of local flavours and those from his native South of France. Weather permitting they serve on the terrace with a view of the luxurious garden. Ask Belle France for the price of the upgrade of a Germigney menu.
4.8 out of 5 rating based on 4 reviews
Belle France: Thank you for your positive feedback.
Because our guide Jean Francois is so knowledgeable on this beautiful region he really does add incredible value to this holiday.
We looked into the confusion at the hotel La Cascade and the booking had indeed been made by us and confirmed by them so I am sorry that they appeared not to find the booking when you arrived. I am glad the situation was resolved quickly.
I do hope that we may hear from you again next year
12th September 2016
Belle France: So pleased that you had such a wonderful walking holiday in the Franche Comté, we think this is a beautiful walking region with a good mix of quality hotels. The agent is a very knowledgeable local man and we are very lucky to have him as part of our team. We hope we can book something similar for you this year.
19th March 2015