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On the road

BOURGOGNE-FRANCHE COMTÉ REGION

Departments: Côte d'Or, Doubs, Jura, Nièvre, Haute-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Yonne, Territoire de Belfort
Population: 2.8 million inhabitants
Prefecture: Dijon
Surface area: 47,784 km2
Specialities: Burgundy and Maconnais wines, Jura wines, cheeses (Comté, Mont d'Or, morbier, bleu de Gex, cancoillotte), beef bourguignon, Bresse poultry, kir.
Sports clubs: FGC Sochaux, AJ Auxerre, FC Gueugnon (football), Elan sportif chalonnais, JDA Dijon (basketball), Jeanne d'Arc Dijon (handball) Competitions: car races on the Dijon-Prenois circuit, the Franck Pineau cyclosportive in Auxerre
Economy: automobile (Peugeot-Montbéliard), Alstom, General Electric (railways), iron and steel industry, mines, parachemistry, pharmaceutical industry, electronics, plastics industry, paper industry, mechanical and automobile industries, agriculture (cereals, beetroot, cattle breeding, cheese). Forestry. Watchmaking. Tourism.
Festivals: Eurockéennes in Belfort, sales of the hospices de Beaune, Grandes heures de Cluny, Musical Encounter in Vézelay, Ecrans de l'aventure in Dijon, Dijon International Gastronomic Fair, Fenêtres sur courts in Dijon. Bicentenary of Courbet. Early music festival in Besançon. 
Tourist sites: Fontenay abbey, Vézelay basilica, Notre-Dame-du-Haut chapel in Ronchamp, Burgundy vineyards, Besançon citadel, Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy in Dijon, royal saltworks in Arc-et-Senans, Autun cathedral, Guédelon castle, Beaune hospices, citadel and Lion of Belfort, Cluny abbey, Alsace balloon, Solutré rock. 
Websites and social networks: www.bourgognefranchecomte.fr

JURA (39)

Population: 260,000
Prefecture: Lons-le-Saunier
Sub-prefectures: Dole, Saint-Claude
Surface area: 5,000 km².
Specialities: Comté, Morbier (cheese), Vache Qui Rit (cheese in portions), Vin Jaune (the only wine in the world made with grape variety Savagnin), toys, Saint-Claude pipes, watchmaking, eyewear, woodworking, industrial subcontracting, wildlife watching (lynx, eagle, black grouse, chamois)
Competitions: La Forestière (mountain bike trekking and racing from 40 to 100 km), the Transjurassienne (must for Nordic skiing in France), cycling Tour du Jura.
Tourist sites: Les Rousses resort, Jura lakes, Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, thermal baths (Lons-le-Saunier), Fine Arts Museum and Louis Pasteur House in Dole, Pipe and Diamond Museum in Saint-Claude, Eyeglass Museum in Morez.
Festivals / concerts: Idéklic Toy and Children's Festival (Moirans-en-Montagne), Moulin de Brainans, Circus and Fanfare (Dole), Mouth to Ear Festival (Musiques en Petite Montagne), NoLogo Festival (Fraisans).
Economy: plastics, chemicals, food processing, screw-cutting, subcontracting in the luxury industry, eyewear, watchmaking, wood construction, livestock farming, four-season tourism, thermal baths, subcontracting in the automotive and aeronautical industries,viticulture, cheese-making.
Websites / FB : www.jura.fr / www.facebook.com/departementdujura

Km 14.3

MONT-SOUS-VAUDREY (Pop: 1,280)

This is the village where the lawyer Jules Grévy, President of the Republic between 1879 and 1887, was born and is buried. He remains the symbol of the establishment of Republican ideas in political institutions and imposed a style in the way the office of President of the Republic was exercised. 

Km 29.3

ARBOIS (Pop: 3,300)

A small rural town with a rich historical heritage, Arbois benefits from important assets with an agricultural activity driven by wine growing and a tourist activity based on heritage and gastronomy. Home of the famous Arbois wines, known since Antiquity, it produces some of the best wines of the Jura, such as vin jaune and vin de paille. The Château Pécauld Wine Museum pays tribute to this vocation. The Château Bontemps and the Saint-Just church are the other most striking monuments of the town, along with the house where Louis Pasteur grew up, lived and worked. In the 1963 Tour de France, Arbois was the starting town for a 54.5 km time trial won in Besançon by Jacques Anquetil. The town also hosted three finishes of the Tour de l’Avenir between 2011 and 2015.   

House of Louis Pasteur

History: in 1827, Louis Pasteur, a native of Dole, arrived at the age of five with his parents in this house on the banks of the Cuisance, where his father set up his tannery. The future scientist, chemist, physicist (by training), and pioneer of microbiology spent his early years here until the age of 17. At the same time, he became known for his painting skills. This house, which he inherited in 1865, was his haven of peace to meet his winegrower friends and his small laboratory (study of wine fermentation, development of pasteurisation)
Current destination: today, it is a museum dedicated to his memory, housing in particular his laboratory, labelled Maisons des Illustres. It is the property of the Academy of Sciences Foundation.
A little background information: it has been chosen as one of the 18 emblematic sites for the 2021 Heritage Lottery
Listing: listed as a Historic Monument in 1937.  

Jura and Franc-Comté wines

White wine is the most frequent, with chardonnay and savagnin grapes, or red wine made of poulsard, trousseau, pinot noir. . But also yellow wine, made with a single grape variety, the savagnin. After a slow fermentation, this wine is placed in oak barrels, where it remains for at least six years. It is marketed in a special bottle, the clavelin, with a capacity of 62 cl (this is what remains of a litre of wine after 6 years). . Vin de paille, made from raisined grapes: after the harvest, the grapes are either left on a bed of straw or on racks, or hung in an airy room, for 2 to 3 months. After a very slow fermentation, it is then aged for three years in barrels. . Macvin: a liqueur wine obtained by blending grape juice and old Jura marc. It is then aged for 18 months in oak barrels. . Marc du Jura: a brandy of great finesse. Its ageing in oak barrels gives it a beautiful straw yellow colour.  

Moidons State Forest

In these mossy and pleasant woods, between Arbois and Champagnole, 234 prehistoric burial sites have been discovered. These tumuli, mounds of stone or earth that our ancestors raised above their tombs, form one of the most beautiful funerary complexes in Eastern France. Some of those necropolises date from the 18th century BC.

Km 39.1

LA CHATELAINE (Pop: 130)

The old castle, patiently restored, was the home of Mahaut d'Artois, the controversial heroine of Les Rois Maudits (The Accursed Kings). Nearby (km 38.2), the Fer à Cheval lookout offers a breathtaking view of the cirque of the same name.  

Castle of La Châtelaine

Construction: 11th to 15th century
Style: fortified castle
Characteristics: the site extends over more than 5 hectares and includes the medieval castle as well as a castral village. The ruins can be dated from the 13th to 15th centuries.
History: the castle was founded by the Counts of Burgundy. It is mentioned for the first time in 1057. Mahaut d'Artois made several stays there in the early fourteenth century. Threatened with ruin, it was restored around 1374. In 1477, with the death of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, the province became an enemy for Louis XI of France. The royal troops broke into Franche-Comté; they conquered and dismantled the castle in 1479, but were unable to take nearby Arbois.
Trivia: According to a local legend, the ruins of the castle are said to hold a fabulous treasure of gold skittles.

Km 54.9

CHAMPAGNOLE (Pop: 8,000)

At the foot of Mont Rivel, Champagnole is a cross-country skiing stronghold where the star of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Quentin Fillon-Maillet, comes from. The 29-year-old biathlete won two titles and three silver medals in Beijing, becoming the first Frenchman to win five medals at the same Winter Games. Champagnole is also home to Nordic skiing champions such as Hervé Balland and Sylvain Guillaume, as well as footballer Grégory Pujol and former rugby international Alain Carminati. The town has also hosted the Tour de France twice, in 1937 (Sylvère Maes' victory) and in 2020, when Dane Soren Kragh Andersen won solo.

Km 61.2

SYAM (Pop: 200)  

Palladian Villa of Syam (or Syam Castle)

Foundation: built in the 19th century.
Style: Palladianism.
History: built in 1818 for Jean-Emmanuel Jobez (1775-1828), deputy of the Jura during the Hundred Days (period between March 1, 1815 and July 7, 1815), master of the forges and mayor of Morez, the villa is built in the spirit of the beautiful Italian villas of the 16th century designed by Andrea Palladio (1508-1580).
Characteristics: on a square plan, peristyle of 8 columns and 3 circular balconies, like a theatre, it presents a 16-m-high rotunda, topped by a cupola. Parisian architect Louis Feine, who was responsible for the first restoration and modernisation campaign, endeavoured to respect the spirit of the place and the neo-classical character of the building. A very coherent set of Empire and Restoration furniture, a unique collection of wallpapers and panoramic paintings with prestigious signatures: Zuber, Joseph Dufour (1754-1825). Thanks to the efforts of the current owners, the remarkable library of the Palladian Villa is gradually being restored. At the time of its construction, Jean-Emmanuel Jobez had a sumptuous library on the second floor of the house: 24-metres-long, with up to 36,000 books.
Current destination: Today, it is used for exhibitions and concerts on a regular basis. The former stables host various events. A private estate, the Palladian villa also hosts guest rooms. 
Trivia: the villa, thanks to its brightness and beauty, was preserved throughout the 19th century. Kept and maintained by the descendants of Sadi Carnot (1837-1894), President of the Republic (1887-1894), it was coveted by public authorities but finally sold in 2001 to the current owners.
Listing: listed as a Historic Monument in 1994.

Km 73.1

FONCINE-LE-BAS (Pop: 190)  

Bief de la Ruine waterfall

Situation: Waterfall with a total height of 110 m located on the Bief de la Ruine stream, right bank tributary of the Saine. In the north of the Haut-Jura Regional Nature Park.
Characteristics: It is made up of about ten successive jumps with a total length of 350 m and a difference in height of 110 m.

Km 89.1

MORBIER (Pop: 2,300)

Probably takes its name from an ancient stream that flows down from the place called la Carronnée in the centre of the village and which would have dried up in the past. It is famous for its homonymous cheese (Morbier), its Nordic ski area and its watchmaking. In the 19th century, Morbier was, along with Morez, the capital of Comté clock-making.  

Cheeses of Jura

Comté: it was the first French cheese with a controlled designation of origin. Comté cannot be produced outside the Jura massif, in a region that covers Jura, part of Doubs and part of Ain. It is a raw milk cow's cheese with a pressed cooked paste, which comes in large wheels of 75 cm in diameter. It takes about 450 litres of milk to produce a 35-kg wheel of Comté. It is made by hand in more than 190 small village cheese dairies, fruitières, which collect the milk from the surrounding farms every day. To obtain its taste, the Comté is not pressed, in fact its maturation in the maturing cellar takes at least 4 months, (often 6 months, or even much more) and it is characterised by its astonishing aromatic richness.
Morbier: when cut, you can see a dark horizontal line in the middle of its beautiful cream colour. The origin of this peculiarity comes from its first production in the modest farms (not very abundant, the curd of the morning milking was protected́ by a little soot while waiting to join the evening one to form the whole cheese)
Mont d'or (or Vacherin franc-comtois): it owes its manufacture to the decreases in the production of fresh milk during the winter.
Cancoillotte: an almost liquid cheese speciality made from raw, skimmed and curdled milk, matured and melted with water, salt, butter and herbs.  

Haut-Jura Regional Nature Park

Creation: created in 1986.
Location: on the departments of Jura, Doubs and Ain with 122 communes on a surface of 178 000 hectares. The park occupies the most rugged part of the Jura massif.
History: the region that Caesar called the "wooded mountain" in the Gallic War owes its name to the Joux Mountains, which cover it with dark, bluish forests. There are mainly deciduous forests (oak, hornbeam, beech), willow groves, alder groves, but also spruce, fir and maple trees.

Km 91.7

MOREZ (Hauts-de-Bienne)

Since 1 January 2016, following its amalgamation with the communes of La Mouille and Lézat, it has been the capital of the new commune of Hauts-de-Bienne. Marked in the 20th and 21st centuries by the spectacle industry, after having been, in the 19th century, the capital of the Comté clock industry, Morez is located near the Swiss border, at the foot of the Les Rousses resort.  

Eyewear Museum

Founded: 2003
Characteristics: the only museum in France whose collection focuses on spectacles and vision. It houses optical devices from all over the world, such as actress Sarah Bernhardt's hand-held glasses, the Dalai Lama's glasses, a collection of Inuit glasses, etc. A large part of the museum's exceptional works is based on the deposit of the Essilor/Pierre Marly collection. In 2019, another important donation was made: the collection of 1,450 objects by Switzerland’s Martin Landolt.
History: in 1796, after breaking his glasses imported from England, a master nail-maker, Pierre Hyacinthe Caseaux, decided to make a new pair of glasses with the same tools he used to make nails. In 1820, his godson built the first building entirely dedicated to the manufacture of metal spectacle frames and little by little, this production spread to several urban workshops. The Morez spectacle industry was based on specialisation, with each workshop making a single part of the spectacle on the assembly line and others assembling the different parts. At its peak, the Morez region was the most industrialised place in Europe in relation to its population, and even today many spectacle-makers continue the tradition of Morez glasses.
Labels: Museum of France / Tourism and Disability.

Km 101.1

LES ROUSSES (Pop: 3,700)  

The resort of Les Rousses prides itself on being the cradle of skiing in France. From its origins, in 1899, comes a story that has turned into a legend: the meeting between the mayor, Félix Péclet, and an officer of the Indian army who made him discover the interest of this original means of travel. In any case, skis have been made in the resort for many years, as shown by the ski museum created by Roger Tinquely in the basement of the Grand Tétras B&B. And the resort is home to the last Nordic ski factory in France, the Vandel factory, located in Bois-d'Amont, the village of former Nordic combined Olympic champion Jason Lamy-Chappuis. France's biggest cross-country ski race, the Transjurassienne, also starts in the village of Lamoura, one of the four communes that make up the resort. Another classic race held in the resort is the Traversée du Massacre, named after the forest that borders Les Rousses. It was also in Les Rousses that explorer Paul-Emile Victor was introduced to skiing. But alpine skiing also thrives in the Haut-Jura resort. Bois-d'Amont is the birthplace of Léo Lacroix, one of the greatest champions in the history of French skiing, downhill silver medallist at the Innsbruck Games in 1964 and double runner-up to Jean-Claude Killy in 1966 at the Portillo World Championships in Chile. The resort of Les Rousses has hosted the Tour de France twice in recent years. In 2010, it was Sylvain Chavanel who won in a torrential storm. In 2017, it was Lilian Calmejane who raised his arms after the most beautiful solo of his career.   Col de la Faucille, above Les Rousses, was also one of the first passes of the Tour, climbed as early as 1911. From 1957 onwards, Côte des Rousses was often a KOM hotspot. The names of Ottavio Bottecchia, Gino Bartali and Federico Bahamontes are still linked to this climb, which was last ridden in 2004.  

Fort du Risoux (aka Fort Guyot)

Foundation: built in the 19th century (1880 to 1884).
Location: on a promontory in the Risoux forest above Lake Les Rousses.
Characteristics: first generation Séré de Rivières fort built in local cut stone.
History: it was decommissioned in 1892 and played no military role, although it was part of the fortified Jura sector of the Maginot Line. The fort was used until June 1997 for training in the handling of explosives by the commando training centre stationed at the Rousses fort.

Km 104.6

LAKE LES ROUSSES

This is the only lake in Franche-Comté, located in the Rhine watershed. It is located at the bottom of the Val de l'Orbe, which has its source in Les Rousses, forming this lake, and then flows into Lake Joux. It is an overflow lake, a witness to past glacial activity. This glacial lock has been gradually filled in by sedimentary deposits. The lake is permanently fed by streams and snowmelt. In the summer, it looks like an inland sea with its sandy beaches and water sports activities. In winter, the lake welcomes skating and sand yachting enthusiasts.

SWITZERLAND

Population: 8.637 million
Capital city: Bern
Surface area: 41,285 km2
Specialities: cheese (Emmental, Gruyère), chocolate (Nestlé, Suchard, Toblerone, Lindt), charcuterie (sausages, Grisons meat), fondue, watchmaking, wines (658 AOCs), lake fish (perch, lake féras, etc.)
Sports : International federations (IOC, FIFA, UEFA, UCI...), alpine skiing (Adelboden, Wengen, St Moritz, Marco Odermatt wins the 2022 World Cup, Lara Gut-Behrami double world champion in 2021), ski jumping, football (FC Basel, Young Boys, Neuchâtel Xamax etc... ), tennis (Davis Cup 2015, Roger Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Martina Hingis, Basel and Gstaad tournaments), ice hockey (National League A), cycling (UCI, Tour de Suisse, Tour de Romandie).
Tourism: Grand Tour de Suisse (1,643 km route with 44 remarkable sites and 11 Unesco World Heritage sites). 
Economy: banks, pharmaceutical industry, watchmaking, food industry, tourism, international institutions.  
Websites: www.myswitzerland.com, www.admin.ch, www.ch.ch  

Fifteen Swiss cities have hosted or will host stages of the Tour de France (Aigle, Basel, Bern, Crans-Montana, Finhaut-Emosson, Fribourg, Geneva, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Lausanne, Martigny, Neuchâtel, Porrentruy, Schupfart-Mohlin, Verbier and Zurich). A Grand Départ took place in Basel in 1982. The Tour's first visit dates back to 1913 with a stage won in Geneva by Belgian Marcel Buysse. Geneva hosted nine stages before the war. Since then, 33 stages have been held in Switzerland. Switzerland has also won two Tours de France with Ferdi Kubler (1950) and Hugo Koblet (1951)

Km 118.8

LE CHENIT (Pop: 4,600)

Le Chenit is home to several famous watchmakers, including the Audemars Piguet factory. The museum dedicated to this watchmaker, located in Le Brassus, covers more than 200 years of the factory's activity. The number of watches with complications presented makes it one of the most important private watchmaking museums in this field. Born in Le Chenit, and a distant cousin of the founder of the Manufacture, Edmond Audemars was an outstanding cyclist, world champion in amateur middle-distance racing in 1903, before becoming a renowned aviator. He was one of Roland Garros' best friends.  

Abbey of Romainmôtier

Foundation: 5th century. Construction of the abbey church from the 10th century. 
Style: Romanesque.
History: Romainmôtier is the oldest monastery in Switzerland. It was founded by the Jura Fathers, St. Romanus and his brother St. Lupicinus. It was restored in the 7th century under the influence of the Irish movement of Saint Columban before being taken over by the Abbey of Cluny in the 10th century. Built between 990 and 1028 according to the plans of the Cluny church, the Abbey of Romainmôtier is one of the jewels of the northern Vaud region. It underwent several modifications before being secularised and transformed into a reformed temple in 1537.
Current use: one of the oldest Romanesque churches in Switzerland regularly hosts popular worship services and concerts.
Listing: cultural asset of national importance.

Km 134

L’ABBAYE (Pop: 1,300)

Worth seeing for the Aymon Tower, built at the beginning of the 14th century by Aymon de Montferrand de La Sarraz, who wanted to establish his authority over the convent of L'Abbaye, whose church was dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, patron saint of the lake. The tower, although not a religious building, is nevertheless now part of the conventual complex of the Lac-de-Joux Abbey and remains its last vestige today.

Km 145.7

L'ISLE (Pop: 1,060)  

Castle of L'Isle - Town Hall

Foundation: built in the 17th century (1694 to 1696).
Style: classical (architect: Jules Hardouin-Mansart).
Characteristics: the Château de L'Isle has a U-shaped plan, with the main building and two wings set at right angles to each other, delimiting a courtyard of honour. The building has an elegant architecture with its French garden decorated with several ponds fed by the Venoge. Current use: owned by the municipality since 20 January 1877, the building has housed a school and the municipal administration since 1878.
Listing: cultural property of national importance.

Km 154.7

COSSONAY (Pop: 4,200)  

Temple of Cossonay

Foundation: built in the 11th century.
History: the present building, much larger than its predecessors, was first mentioned in 1096 and dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. The church became a Protestant temple after the Bernese conquest and the establishment of the Protestant Reformation in the canton. Characteristic features: the Romanesque choir with three apses was replaced around 1250-1260 by a Gothic transept-like forechoir, which was extended by a rectangular Cistercian choir. Listing: cultural asset of national importance (1995).

Km 165.6

ÉCHANDENS (Pop: 2,740)  

Échandens Castle

Construction: 16th century
History: the present building (remodelled in the 17th and 18th centuries) was built on the ruins of a feudal fortress in 1554 by Ferdinand de Loys, Lord of Denens, burgher and mayor of Lausanne. The inauguration took place in 1629. The massive style of the fortress was abandoned in favour of a transitional structure between the Gothic and Renaissance periods. The castle and its domain passed successively into the hands of great local families until its purchase in 1978 by the commune.
Current use: the castle has become a centre for political activities (the Municipality holds its meetings here) but above all cultural activities: shows in the courtyard, in the park and in the cellar, as well as exhibitions.
Trivia: Georges Simenon lived in the castle from 1957 to 1963.

Km 171.4

SAINT-SULPICE (Pop: 4,910)

Singer Charles Aznavour (1924-2018) spent part of the last years of his life in Saint-Sulpice, where he had a house.  

Temple of Saint-Sulpice

Construction: 11th century.
Characteristics: Romanesque style, it was originally composed of a nave (destroyed) and a transept with three apses. A complete restoration, carried out between 1898 and 1903 by archaeologist Albert Naef, brought to light the 16th century frescoes that decorated the interior of the choir and that had been painted over during the Bernese period.
History: the church, built in two stages between the 11th and 12th centuries, was first dedicated to St. Sulpitius (thus giving its name to the place) and then in the 12th century to Saint Mary Magdalene. It also served as a parish church and was flanked by a priory, now destroyed. The church was converted to Protestant worship following the Bernese conquest in 1536. The former conventual estate became the property of the City of Lausanne and the nave, too large for the small local congregation, was transformed into a barn and then demolished. With the advent of the Canton of Vaud in 1803, the Commune of Saint-Sulpice became the owner of the building. Listing: cultural property of national importance.

Km 173.2

ECUBLENS (Pop: 13,200)

Ecublens is home to the campuses of the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and the University of Lausanne. It was in Ecublens that Roger Federer's career really began, when he joined the national tennis centre in 1995. "I wasn't happy there. I was away from my parents for weeks at a time. I didn't speak French and I didn't have any friends. I had a lot of trouble motivating myself and I was often sad. I was the Swiss German, whom everyone liked to make fun of.”  When his trainers asked him what his career goal was, he replied: world number one. Indeed!      

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