Franche-Comté,
winter speak 

Franche-Comté,
winter speak 

The best time to explore this part of eastern France is winter, a season with its own magnificent vocabulary. Boasting endless horizons, steephead valleys piercing limestone plateaus and smoking chimneys of kitchens and households, this crisp and chill exotic land awaits.

1.

Restoring time

She gives new wings to angels and softens the smile of the Madonna: Anne Gérard-Bendelé works at the Centre Régional de Restauration et de Conservation des Œuvres d’Art (CRRCOA)in Vesoul, under director Aubert Gérard. They breathe life back into altarpieces, such as the one from the Rennes Cathedral (16th century). They revive the colors and help ensure the preservation of these masterpieces by placing them in a vacuum, sucking out the oxygen to eliminate parasites. Miracles happen in these workshops.

Centre régional de restauration et de conservation

5a, route de Saint-Loup, Vesoul. Tél. +33 (0)3 84 76 63 30. Sur rendez-vous.

www.crrcoa.fr

Anne Gérard-Bendelé

Restauratrice-conservatrice de sculptures.

anabendele@aol.com

2.

Through Courbet’s eyes

If you’re fond of landscapes and love to explore as many panoramas as possible, you’ll be spoiled for choice here. Away from the towns with their dull outskirts, the scenery springs to life in every direction, as if here it were left to its own devices. It’s sometimes an astonishing thing to witness, as when a ray of sun shoots streaks through the sky like a dagger. It sharpens your appreciation of the painting of Courbet, born in Ornans. Your eyes reframe the scene, seeking out figures, capturing the rising mists.

Musée Courbet

1, place Robert-Fernier, Ornans. Tél. +33 (0)3 81 86 22 88.

www.musee-courbet.fr

3.

Comté, or the spirit of perseverance

When you think about it, a cheese says a lot about the land it comes from. You only have to catch a whiff of Comté to identify its floral, fruity, smoky notes. But the attitude of this cheese also echoes its birthplace. There’s a way to interpret its spirit of resistance (to mass production) and perseverance: the idea of taking one’s time. This is incarnated by Fort Saint-Antoine, a former military base at an altitude of 1,100 meters, which stands like a cathedral protecting more than 100,000 ripening wheels of Comté. This is where the famous cheese is turned, massaged and salted, as if it were fine leather.

Caves d’affinage du fort Saint-Antoine

Visites uniquement sur réservation. Tél. +33 (0)3 81 69 31 21 et

www.tourisme-metabief.com

4.

Spectacular drops

They appear without warning. Plus, there are few trains to this land’s endor le bout du monde, as they call these reculées, or steephead valleys. The terrain is unsettled and unsettling. Suddenly, the ground drops away. A gulf opens, a chasm yawns. At Baume-les-Messieurs, the sheer rock faces are magnificent. The landscape forms a circus, with its roaring marls and limestone plateaus, waterfalls and grottos. And the amazing thing is, there’s hardly a sound; the peace is majestic.

5.

Land of dreamy utopias

As in all overly peaceful regions, there’s a sense of gentle madness held in check here. It’s no coincidence that the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans were founded here, brainchild of the visionary Claude-Nicolas Ledoux and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982. His signature monumental columns, with their alternating round and square blocks, energize the powerfully restrained forms. This is passionate, expressive architecture that reflects other aspirations, those embodied by the utopian projects of Besançon-born Charles Fourier, father of the phalanstery and the ideal of cooperative community living.

Saline royale d’arc-et-Senans Musée Claude-Nicolas Ledoux

Grande-Rue, Arc-et-Senans. Tél. +33 (0)3 81 54 45 45.

www.salineroyale.com

6.

Château-Chalon: the grapes of patience

Curnonsky, aka the Prince of Gastronomy, ranked Château-Chalon among the five greatest French wine estates, alongside Château d’Yquem, Château Grillet, La Coulée de Serrant and Montrachet. It is an extraordinary wine indeed, not least for its 62 cl bottle, but above all for its lengthy (and costly) aging processover six yearsthat produces an exceptional beverage, superior to the region’s vins jaunes (yellow wines) and vins de paille (straw wines). Far from the razzmatazz of the genre, this rare wine has discreet notes of leather and saffron. Marie-Pierre Chevassu-Fassenet now runs the family vineyard near Menétru-le-Vignoble, producing a finely crafted, elegant wine that echoes the region.

Marie-Pierre Chevassu-Fassenet

Granges Bernard, Menétru-le-Vignoble. Tél. +33 (0)3 84 48 17 50.

7.

The nature of the land

Sometimes you only have to take up a handful of earth and breathe in its fragrance to capture the mentality of a region. The rock here is limestone and the landscapes rugged, forging an independent, resolute character. It’s hardly surprising, then, that at the age of 14 a young man left his native village and water mill of Chabouilla, near Anchay in the Jura, and walked the 450 kilometers to Paris. The year was 1835, and his name was Louis Vuitton.

8.

Cradle of famous men

There’s Victor Hugo, of course, and Gustave Courbet, Louis Pasteur, the Lumière brothers, Rouget de Lisle and Marcel Aymé; and then those whose love of the region is less well known, such as Charles Ritz, who came here for the fishing, a passion he shared with Hemingway. He wrote a delightful tome, A Fly Fisher’s Life, in which he describes in the most civilized manner the grayling, salmon and trout. He loved to cast his line on the Loue river, and couldn’t resist the sound of trout, which he likened to baisers de nourrice, or nanny’s kisses.

Maison Victor Hugo

140, Grande-Rue, Besançon.

www.besancon.fr/hugo

musée rouget de lisle

24, rue du Commerce, Lons-le-Saunier.

www.juramusees.fr

La maison de louis pasteur

83, rue de Courcelles, Arbois. maison natale de louis pasteur 43, rue Pasteur, Dole.

www.terredelouispasteur.fr

9.

Expanding time

Time plays a constructive role in this region. There’s the watchmaking, of course, but there’s also that persistent, artisanal relationship with microtechnology, as if the activities here worked in counterpoint to the season, nestled warm and dry inside houses buried under snow. As you walk around, the space and the hours seem to expand. They stretch, slipping almost into metaphor. These impressions are crystallized in a museum in the superb Renaissance Palais Granvelle, where, swinging from its 13-meter-high ceiling, the Foucault pendulum impresses upon us the relativity of things.

Musée du temps

96, Grande-Rue, Besançon. Tél. +33 (0)3 81 87 81 50.

www.mdt.besancon.fr

10.

Cold from the dawn of time

Cold features as a major player here too, like the wind in the main courtyard of Avignon’s Palais des Papes. Records get broken in Mouthe. They call it the little French Siberia. Temperatures of nearly -41°C have been recorded, freezing even mercury thermometers. The landscape has to be interpreted by deciphering the cold and the snow; the muffled noises; the crunch of footsteps in the meringue-like snow; the vibrant, energized bodies. There’s a kind of purity in the air, an almost religious note.

Chez Gervais

This stout residence was on the verge of falling into oblivion and depression when a man who loves this region decided to pour his heart and soul into it. Bertrand Suchet, a former big shot in the advertising world, broke open several piggy banks to revive this institution. Some dozen rooms, redecorated with rustic elegance, create a profoundly peaceful vibe, whisking you back to a France of yore. The spaces are large, the bathtubs deep and the floors waxed. Outside, the Loue flows gently under the arches of a sturdy bridge. The cuisine goes hand in hand with this charming atmosphere, steering clear of urban clichés, and offering, as with the rooms, authentic, delicious fare with a whiff of the past. The restaurant is decorated with superb frescoes.

Chez Gervais

2, rue de l’Église, Chenecey-Buillon. Tél. +33 (0)3 81 84 56 49..

www.chezgervais.fr

Château de Germigney

This Relais & Châteaux, a regional institution, seems to belong to another time, with its cedar floorboards, its long rooms and above all its aristocratic serenity, which appeals to the well-heeled Swiss clientele. Pierre Basso-Moro’s starred cuisine is worth the detour. This vacation spot, which was very popular with French politician and writer Edgar Faure, has been dubbed the Saint-Tropez of the Jura, as there’s even a beach.

Château de Germigney

Rue Edgar-Faure, Port-Lesney. Tél. +33 (0)3 84 73 85 85. www.chateaudegermigney.com

 

www.chateaudegermigney.com

La grange à Nicolas

This serene 18th-century building refurbished by Olivier (musician) and Félicette (painter) is set in verdant grounds with a river. In the five bedrooms, the materials and the light preserve the charm without sacrificing the contemporary comfort of a “family home.” Exhibitions and painting workshops make this a destination for the curious at heart.

La grange à Nicolas

5, rue Saint-Jean, Baume-les-Messieurs. Tél. +33 (0)3 84 85 20 39.

www.lagrangeanicolas.com

Carnet d’adresses

Centre régional de restauration et de conservation

5a, route de Saint-Loup, Vesoul. Tél. +33 (0)3 84 76 63 30. Sur rendez-vous.

www.crrcoa.fr

Anne Gérard-Bendelé

Restauratrice-conservatrice de sculptures.

anabendele@aol.com

Musée Courbet

1, place Robert-Fernier, Ornans. Tél. +33 (0)3 81 86 22 88.

www.musee-courbet.fr

Caves d’affinage du fort Saint-Antoine

Visites uniquement sur réservation. Tél. +33 (0)3 81 69 31 21 et

www.tourisme-metabief.com

Saline royale d’arc-et-Senans Musée Claude-Nicolas Ledoux

Grande-Rue, Arc-et-Senans. Tél. +33 (0)3 81 54 45 45.

www.salineroyale.com

Marie-Pierre Chevassu-Fassenet

Granges Bernard, Menétru-le-Vignoble. Tél. +33 (0)3 84 48 17 50.

Maison Victor Hugo

140, Grande-Rue, Besançon.

www.besancon.fr/hugo

musée rouget de lisle

24, rue du Commerce, Lons-le-Saunier.

www.juramusees.fr

La maison de louis pasteur

83, rue de Courcelles, Arbois. maison natale de louis pasteur 43, rue Pasteur, Dole.

www.terredelouispasteur.fr

Musée du temps

96, Grande-Rue, Besançon. Tél. +33 (0)3 81 87 81 50.

www.mdt.besancon.fr

Chez Gervais

2, rue de l’Église, Chenecey-Buillon. Tél. +33 (0)3 81 84 56 49..

www.chezgervais.fr

La grange à Nicolas

5, rue Saint-Jean, Baume-les-Messieurs. Tél. +33 (0)3 84 85 20 39.

www.lagrangeanicolas.com

Château de Germigney

Rue Edgar-Faure, Port-Lesney. Tél. +33 (0)3 84 73 85 85. www.chateaudegermigney.com

 

www.chateaudegermigney.com

À faire

Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut

Although he was an atheist, Le Corbusier was chosen to design this Catholic chapel built in 1953-1955 on Bourlémont hill, in Ronchamp. It was recently expanded to include a visitors’ center and a monastery by Renzo Piano.

www.collinenotredameduhaut.com

Salins-les-Bains

Nestled at the base of the Vallée de la Furieuse, near Arc-et-Senans, this small town was once the region’s second largest. Its saltworks, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site (2009), is still the epicenter, with a gallery, apothecary, museum, chapel and collegiate church.

www.salins-les-bains.com

La ligne des Hirondelles

This little train follows a spectacular route (36 tunnels, 18 viaducts) between Dole and Saint-Claude.

www.lignedeshirondelles.fr

Shopping

Layetterie Benoit-Gonin

In his workshop in Lajoux, Bruno Marielle works and polishes pinewood to make chests of drawers and storage boxes.

www.benoitgonin.eu

Château de Colombier

Charmant café-brocante bien sourcé par ses propriétaires Corinne et Peter Egli, avec de surcroît, aux beaux jours, terrasse, mais en tous temps café, et même absinthe pour les amateurs. Impressionnante collection de postes de TSF : plus de 600 pièces. Rue de Coulevon, Colombier. Tous les vendredi, samedi et dimanche de 16h à 21h. Tél. +33 (0)6 80 63 99 45.

www.cafe-brocante.fr

Restaurants

Maison Jeunet

This regional institution goes all out with its traditional dishes. Stunning wine selection to accompany chef Steven Naessens’s sentimental, powerful cuisine.

www.maison-jeunet.com

Monsieur Victor

Monsieur Victor, who loves his organic produce, is constantly on his toes, checking to see how you’re doing, whether you enjoy his Aubrac beef cheeseburger with Savagnin-deglazed onions. Stir-fried vegetables, parmentier and various dishes are served in a 1950s decor

www.monsieur-victor.eu
Overview
Overview
Address Book
Vidéo

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Going There

www.airfrance.com

Flight frequency

Air France has 28 flights a week from Paris-CDG to Bâle-Mulhouse and 21 flights from Paris-Orly , to Lyon has 35 flights from Paris-CDG and 20 flights from Paris-Orly with HOP!

Air France has 62 flights from Paris-CDG to Geneva.

KLM has 21 flights from Amsterdam to Lyon.

KLM has 41 flights from Amsterdam to Geneva.

Arrival Airport

Aéroport de Bâle-Mulhouse.
3,5 km de Bâle, à 20 km de Mulhouse et 160 km de Besançon.
Tél. +33 (0)3 89 90 31 11.

Aéroport de Lyon Saint-Exupéry.
À 25 km de Lyon.
Tél. +33 (0)826 800 826.

Aéroport de Genève.
À 4 km de Genève.
Tél. +41 22 717 71 11.

Air France KLM Offices

Aux aéroports.

Bookings

— Depuis la France : tél. 3654.
— Depuis l’étranger :
Tél. +33 (0)892 70 26 54.

Car rental

Hertz, aux aéroports :

Bâle-Mulhouse. Tél. +33 (0)3 89 70 87 00.

Lyon Saint-Exupéry. Tél. +33 (0) 825 006 969.

Genève. Tél. +41 22 717 80 80.

www.airfrance.com/cars

Further reading

Franche-Comté
Gallimard, coll. Encyclopédies du voyage.

Franche-Comté – Jura
Michelin, coll. Guides Verts.

© Parko Polo / Central Illustration Agency. Map for illustration purpose only