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from £1280 per person

Green Valleys of Franche Comté Franche-Comté

from £1280

Green Valleys of Franche Comté

Valleys of the Doubs and the Jura and their rich cultural heritage

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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.

Holiday Highlights

  • Itinerary can be adapted for any capability
  • 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

What's Included

  • 6 days walking
  • 6 nights half board
  • Michelin-starred dinner
  • Welcome introduction
  • Daily transfers to start of the walk
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Comprehensive route notes
  • Station transfers

Starting Days

You can choose to begin this holiday on any day of the week.

Itinerary & Hotels

  • 1

    Arrival Besançon day 1

    Summary

    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.

    Hotel
    • Hôtel le Sauvage
    • Hôtel le Sauvage
    • Hôtel le Sauvage
    • Hôtel le Sauvage
    • Hôtel le Sauvage

    Hôtel le Sauvage
    Besançon

    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.

    Facilities

    • Rooms with views of the Citadel
    • Flat screen TV
    • Free WiFi
    • Bar

    Board

    Cuisine

    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.

  • 2

    Cléron to Ornans day 2

    Summary

    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.

    Hotel
    • Hôtel de France - Ornan
    • Hôtel de France - Ornan

    Hôtel de France - Ornans
    Ornans

    This 16th Century post house is now a beautiful, floral residence, located in the heart of Ornans, pearl of the Loue valley.

    Facilities

    • 25 rooms and one suite
    • Ensuite bathrooms
    • TV
    • Mini bar
    • Direct phone
    • Pleasant garden

    Board

    Cuisine

    The gastronomic restaurant "Le France" serves carefully prepared dishes and regional specialities: morel mushrooms à la crème, trout with Arbois 'yellow' wine. 

    8 mi
    (13 km)

  • 3

    Longeville to Mouthier-Haute-Pierre day 3

    Summary

    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

    Hotel
    • Source of the Loue
    • Hotel La Cascade - Restaurant
    • Hotel La Cascade

    Hôtel La Cascade
    Mouthier-Haute-Pierre

    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.
     

    Facilities

    • En-suite bathrooms
    • Free WiFi
    • Free parking
    • Bar
    • Terrace

    Board

    Cuisine

    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.
     

    11 mi
    (17 km)

  • 4

    Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne day 4

    Summary

    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.

    Hotel
    • Grand Hôtel des Bains
    • Grand Hôtel des Bains
    • Grand Hôtel des Bains

    Grand Hôtel des Bains
    Salins-les-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.

    Facilities

    • Indoor pool
    • Spa and wellness centre
    • Free WiFi
    • Free parking

    Board

    Cuisine

    The hotel has 2 restaurants and offers a wide choice of regional specialities.

    6 mi
    (9 km)

  • 5

    Circuit walk - Salins-les-Bains and its landscapes day 5

    Summary

    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.

    6 mi
    (9 km)

  • 6

    Arbois day 6

    Summary

    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.

    Hotel

    Hôtel des Messageries
    Arbois

    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.

    Facilities

    • 22 rooms full of charm with private bathroom with bath or shower
    • minibar
    • safe deposit box
    • courtesy welcome pack
    • All rooms have flat-screen cable TV
    • telephone
    • free WiFi.

    Board

    Cuisine

    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

    11 mi
    (18 km)

  • 7

    Saline Royale d'Arc to Port Lesney day 7

    Summary

    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.

    Hotel
    • Château de Germigney
    • Château de Germigney
    • Château de Germigney

    Château de Germigney
    Port-Lesney

    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.

    Facilities

    • Bathroom with bathtub, L'Occitane beauty products, makeup mirror, bathrobes and slippers, hairdryer
    • Free-of-charge WiFi
    • Flat screen television (satellite)
    • Telephone
    • Minibar
    • Safe
    • Iron and ironing board on request
    • Air-conditioning

    Board

    Cuisine

    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.

    6 mi
    (10 km)

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.

Customer Reviews Customer ratings via Feefo

4.8 out of 5 rating based on 5 reviews

  • Service (5/5): The booking process was easy and Belle France was able to be flexible with dates and other late changes to our requirements. Rail travel worked well and Belle France was available on the phone for advice when the return journey was delayed - necessitating a changed Eurostar departure time.

    5 out of 5

    Product (5/5): Amazing views and fascinating historic and geological sites. We have been on several Belle France cycling and walking holidays over the years and the walks in this fascinating area near the Swiss border were as good as it gets. One aspect the made the holiday extra special was the help and advice from Jean Francois, the local Rep, who has extensive knowledge of the hills as a keen walker and mountain biker. He could recommend variations to routes suggested in the Belle France walking notes if a more challenging or less demanding option is preferred. His advice on historic sites and visitor attractions was spot-on. Accommodation was well up to the Belle France standard, with a welcome luxurious final overnight stay.
    Reviewer supplied photos:
  • Service (5/5): Very helpful in advising us and planning our trip.

    5 out of 5

    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

    Lorna
    12th September 2016

    Product (5/5): Excellent walking trip, very well planned and thought out. Jean Francois (guide) and his daughter were both absolute gems. The only negative was that La Cascade hotel in Mouthier Haut Pierre claimed that Belle France had not made a booking for us which was a bit of a nuisance. Other than that everything went smoothly.
  • Service (4/5): Had a slight problem with the train travel, but apart from that, all OK.

    4 out of 5

    Product (4/5): Unexpectedly good. Really need to sort out the tone of the walking notes booklet, as it doesn't do the walk justice.
  • Service (5/5): We had a wonderful holiday and the French agents could not have done more to make us feel special.

    5 out of 5

    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.

    Lorna
    19th March 2015

    Product (5/5): A great holiday, first class accommodation, super walks and amazing food.

Pricing & Enquiry

Pricing

Prices vary according to travel method. Select your preferred option to get an updated price. For full pricing details, click here.

  • From£1280per person

  • Outward St Pancras International station, change stations in Paris, arrive Besançon late afternoon.

    Return Transfer to Besançon included, change stations in Paris, arrive St Pancras International station late afternoon.

LATE BOOKINGS
For bookings made within 12 weeks of departure our prices cannot be guaranteed. In this instance please ask for a quotation.

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+44 (0)1580 214 010

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