This little known region borders Switzerland and shares much of its architecture, cuisine, and culture with its neighbour. Between the Vosges range of mountains to the north and the Jura (Gaulish word meaning 'forest') range to the south, the landscape consists of rolling cultivated fields, dense pine forest and ramparts like mountains.

Franche-Comté was originally a part of Burgundy. Burgundy originally consisted of several historic kingdoms, counties, duchies, and a province situated within France.


Not as majestic as the Alps, the Jura mountains are more accessible and are France's first cross-country skiing area. It is also a superb place to hike and there are some fine nature trails on the more gentle slopes. The Doubs and Loue valleys, with their timbered houses perched on stilts in the river, and the high valley of Ain, are popular visitor areas.

The Région des Lacs is a land of gorges and waterfalls dotted with tiny villages, each with a domed belfry decorated with mosaic of tiles or slates or beaten from metal. The lakes are perfect for swimming. The summits of Haute Jura have wonderful views across Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) and towards the Alps.


Franche-Comté has been the birthplace of many a famous man who have made the region's history as varied as its landscapes!

Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885), the French author, born in Besançon, at the foot of the Citadel.

Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895), born in Dole, famous for his exceptional discoveries in microbiology and vaccinations

Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877) born in Ornans, he was the leading light of the French realist school.

Peugeot Family. Famous industrial dynasty, creators of the Protestant company in Montbéliard. Began with dyeing and crinolines, ended in the automobile industry.

Auguste and Louis Lumière (1862 – 1954) and (1864 – 1948), born in Besançon, inventors of the cinematograph.



This region is composed of the four Départements of:

Doubs (25). Capital: Besançon

Offering a variety of landscapes, including plains, plateaux, deep valleys, streams, waterfalls, lakes and wooded mountains, the Doubs also possesses a beautiful architectural heritage, as seen in the town of Besançon and its famous citadel (see below), the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans, the imposing castle of Joux, Montbéliard (a designated City of Art and History), and the charming town of Ornans. The Doubs also boasts famous specialities, like Comté cheese and Morteau and Montbéliard sausages.



Jura (39). Capital: Lons-le-Saunier

Unspoiled natural landscapes alternating between rivers, waterfalls, alpine pastures and spruce forests, magnificent lakes, cities and villages with a rich heritage, renowned vineyards (see below) offering great varieties of wine, delicious cheeses, diverse crafts... This wealth of attractions makes the Jura a popular destination with lovers of nature, exploring and fine food.



Haute-Saône (70). Capital: Vesoul

Located between the Vosges massif in the North and the Jura mountains in the South, the Haute-Saône one of France's foremost wooded regions. Its numerous rivers make it a paradise for fans of freshwater sports and its lakes nestling in green countryside are the perfect place for cooling down.


Territoire de Belfort (90). Capital: Belfort (see below)

With a surface area of just 610 km2, the Territoire de Belfort is the smallest département in France after the Paris region. But its small size is by no means a disadvantage because this département has a lot to offer, including its main city Belfort and countryside composed of forests, rivers, lakes and ponds.



Franche-Comté lists 4 "most beautiful villages of France" which are:


Baume-les-Messieurs (Jura) baume


chalons Château-Chalon (Jura)


Lods (Doubs) lods


pesmes Pesmes (Haute-Saône)



Things to do:

Franche Compte has a wealth of natural sites that kids will just love from fairy tale grottos to glacial caves and beautiful waterfalls...


The Saut du Doubs, in Villers-le-Lac, is the Franche-Comté's leading natural site, fascinating all those that come to watch this natural show. The water crashes down from a height of 27 m! A boat trip on the Doubs reveals the wilderness of the surrounding area: a 14 km route, inaccessible by road, unveils cliffs, belvederes and forests, making a lasting impression. In days gone by, our ancestors considered waterfalls as sacred – when you see the white froth at the source of the Loue and the Lison in the Doubs region, it is quite easy to understand why. The Loue flows into a waterfall in a large rocky kettle with a deafening roar, caused by the force of the water crashing against the 100 m cliffs.

The Hérisson falls in the Jura twists and turns over 3 km, cascading down 31 waterfalls! Walking behind the waterfall is just too difficult to resist for our budding explorers! Several other rivers tumble down towards the valley. A real delight for walkers.

Caves and grottoes

The region also hides riches underground, with almost 4,500 grottoes and chasms. It's time for a change of scenery - our visit now goes underground, where the light is low, the inhabitants a little odd and the constructions quite unusual.

The chasm of Poudrey, journey to the centre of the Earth
2 million cubic metres, 600 metres in circumference and 200 metres in diameter: this is the largest underground hall in France. A 45-minute stroll takes visitors 70 metres underground to observe surprisingly regular formations, enhanced by an impressive sound and light show.
Where: Étalans (Doubs)

The Osselle grotto and bears. Discovered in the 13th century, the Osselle grotto has been open to the public since 1504! It is one of the oldest tourist caves in the world. It is also one of the largest cave bear cemeteries in the world.
Where: St Vit (Doubs) near Arc et Senans

The Glacière caves. This grotto, 525 metres underground, collects cold air and water to form a large ice reserve. This phenomenon at this altitude is unique in Europe. For a bit of coolness in summer, don't miss a visit to the Glacière grotto!
Where: Chaux-Les-Passavant (Doubs)

Moidons caves. Arbois is a refuge for chasms and grottoes… Here the walker can discover the finest stalactites in the Jura.
Where: Molain (Jura ) near Arbois

Baume-Les-Messieurs caves: these 30 million year old caves are at the bottom of one of the most beautiful valleys in Franche-Comté. Home to bats and blind shrimps, children are guaranteed to be excited! Below, a magnificent waterfall will freshen up children and adults alike!
Where: Baume-Les-Messieurs (Jura )

Planches caves, with its giant pot-holes, organs and trees, this grotto close to Arbois opens its doors to a gallery, a museum and archaeological digs. There is also a prehistoric trail alongside the underground river.
Where: Arbois (Jura )

Festivals and Traditional Events

Percée du Vin Jaune: is staged in the first week of February each year in a different town to celebrate release of the newly released vintage, which due to the legal requirements for aging will be the one harvested in the autumn seven years earlier. Recent events, including tasting sessions, have attracted over 30,000 visitors.



Fête du Biou: in Arbois (39) on 1st Sunday of September: a wine celebration, a 80-100kg wine grape is hung up to a stick. Carried by a few men, they slowly walk towards the church.



Fête du Trousseau: Montigny-lès-Arsures (39) every 2 years, over 2 days. Wine making places in the town open up their doors for people to taste their wines. A debate is organized on a given topic, followed by a gastronomic meal. The day after, a mass is celebrated.


Festival des Musiques Anciennes: June, Besancon/Montfaucon. Live classical and contemporary music festival.


More festivals on: (in French!)

The Verquelure, a traditional fabric from Franch-Comté

The verquelure cloth, known since the Middle Age, is a traditional hempen cloth from the land of Montbéliard (which is a former independent county in Franche-Comté until 1793).


verquelure cushionEmbroidered verquelure bagverquelure tablecloth


The Raw Material

As linen comes from a delicate crop and requires optimal climate, hemp was chosen to be cultivated in the chènevières, the damp and fertile areas of pays de Montbéliard.
After the Autumn harvest and soaking, the fibres were retted and scutched, then manually combed in order to eliminate impurities.

The Making of the Cloth
Once spinned, hemp was woven on a loom in order to get several kinds of cloth, such as toile commune (a flat cloth made for mattress covers), sergé-croisé (diagonal pattern made for house linen and work clothes), and damassé (with coloured checks making a more sophisticated cloth, for pillow covers, tablecloths and napkins.

verquelure hemp fabric

The latter cloth, damassé, was called toile verquelée from XVIth century onwards, which then evolved into Verquelure.
In France, the hand-woven hempen cloth with blue, red or tricolor checks was very famous and renowned under the name of "Montbéliard".


Since the beginning of the XXth century, the hempen cloth and its manufacturing have completely disappeared. They were replaced by a more industrial cotton and linen weaving in Alsace. The traditional cloths can only be found in the flea markets or museums of Franche-Comté.


verquelure french fabric


Useful Link: (museum)


Markets and Brocantes


Besancon covered market: Grande Rue, Tuesdays to Saturdays 7am-7pm, and Sundays 8am-1.30pm


Lons le Saunier: Thursday Morning, Place de Verdun

Saturday Morning , Cour Sully, La Marjorie & Rue du Commerce


Vesoul : Thursday and Saturday Morning, rue Georges Genoux


Belfort: Marché Fréry, Halle Fréry, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 7am to 12pm

Marché des Vosges, avenue Jean Jaures, Thursday and Sunday 7am to 12.30pm

Marché des Résidences, Boulevard Kennedy, Wednesday 7am to 12pm.


Info on Markets:,8,Marches,Agenda,Franche-Comte.html

Info on Chrismas Markets at:



The Gastronomy of Franche-Comté


The Cuisine of Franche Comté
Side Plates
Main Dishes

Croute aux Morilles

Tarte au Fromage

Petits Choux au Comté


Feuilleté Comtois au Jambon

Poularde aux morilles

Poulet a la Comtoise

Coq/truite au Vin Jaune

Escalope de Veau Comtoise

(see recipe below!)



Poires au Vin


Papet Jurassien

Tarte au Goumeau

Seche ou Galette de Besançon

The Wine of Franche-Comté
Special Wines
Red and Rose Wines
White Wines
Bubbly Wines

Le Vin Jaune [Yellow wine]

Le vin de Paille [Straw wine – more like a port]

Le rosé d’Arbois

Le Trousseau

Le Poulsard



Blancs or Rosé from Etoile, Arbois or Cotes du Jura


The Cheese of Franche-Comté: in Franche-Comté, 80% of the collected milk is made into cheese!

Le Comté


Le Vacherin du Haut-Doubs ou Mont d’Or


and Le Bleu de Gex ou Septmoncel, La Cancoillote, Le Morbier, La Raclette, etc...


Escallope de Veau Comtoise
Comte Veal Scallop Recipe


serves 6


6 large veal scallops,
3 tablespoons oil,
100 g (1/4 lb) sauteed sliced mushrooms,
6 slices of smoked cured ham,
100 g (3 oz) grated Comté cheese,
10 cl (3 1/2 oz) heavy cream,
salt and pepper




1. Season the veal cutlets with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, brown the meat in hot oil 10 minutes on each side.

2. Transfer them to an oven dish. Cover with the ham and cheese.
3. In the skillet, add the sliced mushrooms, then the cream. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Add salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat.

More specialties and recipes on:

Table Linen from Franche-Comté:

Many Jacquard fabrics are woven in the Eastern part of France.

The Jacquard fabrics and process are named after their French inventor, Joseph Marie Jacquard (1752 - 1834). He recognized that although weaving was intricate, it was repetitive, and saw that a mechanism could be developed for the production of sophisticated patterns. (Similar ideas were pursued by others before 1750, but Jacquard perfected and popularized the concept by about 1803.)

Jacquard weaving makes possible in almost any loom the programmed raising of each warp thread independently of the others. This brings much greater versatility to the weaving process, and offers the highest level of warp yarn control. This mechanism is probably one of the most important weaving inventions as Jacquard shedding made possible the automatic production of unlimited varieties of pattern weaving.

Cotton Jacquard tablecloths in our collection:
pink and green Jacquard tablecloth
Roma red Jacquard tablecloth
Urns and lavender Jacquard tablecloth
Tetra pink and green Jacquard tablecloth
mountain design jacquard tablecloth jacquard tablecloth polyester yellow tablecloth
Mountain design Jacquard tablecloth
Faience Jacquard tablecloth
Sonia stripes polyester Jacquard tablecloth

You can see our entire collection on this page of our website:

To get a price for any other size or place an order:

Contact & Order




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Catherine Castelain
Date Last Modified: 4/3/15
Le Pin Parasol
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