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Franche Comté

View from Pic d'Aigle
View from Pic d'Aigle 

Petrifying Waterfall at Cirque du Fer a Cheval
Petrifying waterfall at Cirque du Fer à Cheval 

Garlands at Arbois
Garlands at Arbois

Source du Lison
Source du Lison

The Franche Comté region extends from the Swiss border north of Lac Leman (Geneva) and includes the Jura and Doubs departments which are almost half woodland.

This area has many charming villages, spectacular gorges and blind valleys (cirques and reculés) with sheer cliffs. We spent several days in this area in 2005 visiting Lac de St Point near Pontarlier (aire) and St Laurent en Grandvaux (good campsite).

The two main towns south of here are St Claude, known for pipes (the smoking variety) and Morez, home of spectacles with a museum of course! (both industrial but had internet cafés)

 Travelling north-west  the viewpoint at Pic de l'Aigle is worth a stop but is quite a steep and rocky 1km climb to the top. 

Further north near the town of Poligny is the Reculée des Planches, a pretty quiet village surrounded by wooded cliffs with caves and petrifying waterfalls at the nearby Cirque du Fer à Cheval.

An unexpected sight at the pretty town of Arbois was the town square totally covered with garlands ready for their wine festival.

Suddenly in the small village of Mouchard we passed this huge clothes peg. Apparently it is the City of wood (with 1440 inhabitants and the only school of wood (craft?) in France)

Other places we visited were more waterfalls at the Source du Lison near Salins-les-Bains and the cliffs and valleys of  the Roche du Prêtre and the Cirque de Consolation with its abbey.

Cirque de Consolation

Saline Royale - Arc et Senans

Saline Royale main building

Main saltworks building

Indian garden
Indian garden at Saline Royale

Also worth a visit is the Saline Royale (royal saltworks) at Arc-et-Senans NW of Salins-les-Bains. an eighteenth century industrial purpose built village with fascinating exhibitions and gardens from around the world.

stone detail

view from portico 

We found a delightful small campsite near the Saline Royale at Champagne -s-Loue (well signposted but on narrow roads) 

see also Jura for Baume-les-Messieurs and the Cascades du Herisson which we visited on a previous tour


Saline Royale
Saline Royale  (french)


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