The province of Franche-Comte lies encompasses much of the Jura Mountains and the Upper Plateau of the Saone River in the east of France. Franche-Comte borders the Rhone-Alps to the south, Alsace & Lorraine to the north and Switzerland to the east. The culture is wonderfully rich, with clear hints from Switzerland, but it is the astonishing variety of landscapes that really excites visitors, from the vineyard strewn slopes to the huge pine forests of Jura. The combination of huge open spaces, mountains, forests, gushing rivers, picturesque villages and fine cuisine make taking a self catering Franche-Comte holiday rental almost irresistible.
The Jura Mountains are a joy to explore regardless of the time of year. During the summer months, the flower strewn meadows and fragrant pine forests are a dream for walkers and mountain bikers, whilst the winter months see the mountains transformed into a winter wonderland, littered with skiers and snowboarders. The Jura Mountains offer an excellent alternative to the over skied slopes of the Alps, as well as offering walking and mountain biking trails that not only rival those of the Alps, but in many cases far outshine them.
More than half of this undiscovered corner of France is covered in forests, with large mountain rivers gushing through gullies, over huge waterfalls and into tranquil lakes. You can hardly get any further from the hustle and bustle of city life, and you are unlikely to see other tourists breaking the perfect tranquillity. The only time you are likely to find a crowd in Franche-Comte is during September, when the famous Besancon Music Festival arrives for its two week party.
The unique culture of Franche-Comte certainly extends to its food. Known as the ‘French Pantry’, self catering Franche-Comte accommodation is a food lover’s delight. Comte Cheese is absolutely magnificent, still hand made and is simply delicious, and if you like cheese, there are some wonderful cheeses to try, including Blue de Gex, Cancoillotte and Mont d’Or. During the winter months, saucisse de Morteau (pork) is particularly wholesome and when served with wild mushrooms and potato rosti, it is absolutely mouth watering. The wines produced in Franche-Comte are fantastic too, very sweet and an excellent accompaniment to local dishes.
There are four departments in Franche-Comte, Jura, Doubs, Haute-Saone and Belfort.
The sensational landscapes of Jura are a genuine delight, ensuring relaxation as you look at the astonishing skyline from your Franche-Comte property rental. The soaring mountains, thick forest and majestic gorges are an outdoor activity haven of the highest quality.
Doubs is France’s greenest department, located on the Swiss border. Filled with lakes, caves and waterfalls, Doubs is a pleasure to explore on foot or on horse back, and during the winter months, a Franche-Comte chalet in Doubs places you right at the base of the largest ski domain in the Jura Mountains.
There are over 1,000 lakes in Haute-Saone, and water sports of every variety are enjoyed with aplomb. The beautiful villages, charming squares and dramatic castles are testament to the department’s wealth.
The climate in Franche-Comte has two very distinct seasons. The summer months are a joy, with average monthly temperatures reaching the 20°C mark from late May until early September, with daily peaks often up towards 30°C, perfect for getting out into the great outdoors. Winters are, of course, cold, as the ski season starts in earnest in the middle of December.
Franche-Comte is a rural region, and therefore a little effort is required when reaching self catering Franche-Comte accommodation. The closets airports are Basel and Lyon, over an hour away, but there are high speed train services taking 3 hours from Paris. You can also drive to a Franche-Comte villa from Paris in a little over 3 hours.