The Rapp place© Jean-Marc Hédoin
• 6-time stage-town
• Population 67,000
• Prefecture of the Haut-Rhin (68)
Enjoying a wealth of exceptionally fine cultural events and activities, Colmar is regional host to an exceptionally rich cultural scene. The Alsace Wine Festival in August attracts more than 250 000 visitors to the Exhibitions Park and to the Open-Air Theatre (10 000 places) for concerts with some of the greatest performers from around the world.
Another high spot of the summer season is the International Festival directed by Vladimir Spivakov: approximately 10 000 classical music fans flock to this event during the first two weeks of July.
In September, October and November, Colmar stages jazz festivals, a Film Festival “7 Jours pour le 7ème Art” (7 Days of Cinema) and a Book Fair, which complete Colmar’s cultural bill of events.
At the approach of the festive season, Colmar is animated by five Christmas markets focused on five different themes, in fairytale settings.
In Colmar sport too is on the city’s bill of events, with the “Paris-Colmar Walk” every year at the end of June, a mega walking competition: almost 450 kilometres in 3 days and 3 nights!
The city center and the Doubs© City of Besançon’s communication direction
• 17-time stage-town
• Population 122,300
• County town of the Franche-Comté Region Prefecture of the Doubs (25)
Curled in a meander of the river Doubs, surrounded by seven hills and protected by its Citadel, the birthplace of Victor Hugo and the Lumière brothers, the capital city of the Franche-Comté region is steeped in history. Its strategic vantage point was described by Jules Cesar in La Guerre des Gaules (Conquest of Gaul). In 2008 the extensive fortifications that border and tower over the old town centre, constructed by Vauban, were classified a UNESCO world heritage site.
At various times a military fortress and a religious centre, Stendhal used Besançon as a backdrop in part of his novel Le Rouge et le Noir. A City of Art and History, renowned for its exceptional quality of life, Besançon is a major tourist attraction with a preserved historic centre and 2 400 hectares of open green spaces, favoured by hikers.
For a long time the capital of France’s clock-and-watch-making-industry, Besançon, with its tradition and expertise in complex precision mechanisms, is now a major European hub for micro-technologies and world centre for chronological instruments.
A university town, Besançon is a vibrant and animated city: its student population represents close to one fifth of its 122 000 inhabitants.