Dijon

1H30 from Paris by TGV, a visit to the former capital of the Dukes of Burgundy is sure to bring you luck and happiness… Rendezvous at the church of Notre-Dame and stroke the little owl, a lucky charm sculpted onto its buttresses, with your left hand. Driven on by your new-found good fortune, explore the historic town centre, the ducal palace that houses the Fine-Arts Museum and march right to the top of the Philippe le Bon Tower! To add even more flavour to your visit, rendezvous at Les Halles (listed monument!), epicentre of the region’s gastronomy, and stop at the boutiques of the town centre. Mustard, gingerbread, crème de cassis…enough for you to leave with your shopping basket (and your tummy) full of good things.

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Besançon

Is there a bank holiday weekend coming up? Try Besançon, a discrete capital that is sure to deliver! If you need convincing, you should be swayed by the short 2h journey time from Paris by TGV, its status as the leading green city in France, a citadel built by Vauban that is listed by UNESCO and is now home to a vast space filled with museums and animals, a river that meanders around a stunning loop and is ideal for a stroll, a museum devoted to Victor Hugo in his birth house, another museum about the incredible history of clocks… We challenge you not to fall in love with Besançon!

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Belfort

Beyond the current industrial powerhouse of Alstom, Belfort remains inspiring and inspired. Imagine an old town that has been remarkably renovated and studded with pastel façades and major festivals (Eurockéennes, FIMU) that make the city move and bubble over every year under the watchful eye of the colossal lion by Bartholdi. Careful not to miss out, Mother Nature visits the threshold of the city in the form of the nearby Vosges Massif and Malsaucy Lake. You will have gathered by now that Belfort is the region’s charming and vivacious jewel. Quick, let’s go!

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Citadel, museums and the Lion of Belfort

A technological wave is washing over Belfort and shaking its massive Lion and its citadel that is reputed to be impenetrable. Out go the traditional audio guides, replace by touch screens and Smartphones. Armed with one or the other and thanks to the magic of 3D reconstitutions, you can rediscover these historic sites with a new and futuristic eye! Just like these new technologies, art allows us to see the world differently! In this field, Belfort has a great deal to offer, starting with the Jardot Donation that brings together 150 works for the XX Century. This is what Belfort is all about; history and art made visible and accessible to all!

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Sens

Sens is a Burgundy-Franche-Comté town that tends to be rather modest… It needn’t be! In fact, some currently see it as a sort of lobby of the Paris region, but that was not always the case. Far from it!! The Sénons (from which the name of the town derives), under the orders of Brennus, set out to conquer Rome no less! And they succeeded! Subsequently, it Julius Caesar and Louis IX “Saint Louis” (among other great figures) stayed here and left their own mark on the town. With a history like the one Sens boasts, modesty doesn’t seem such a virtue after all!

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Luxeuil-les-Bains

Luxeuil-les Bains is the prestigious, Grand Siecle epitome of the spa resort! Its thermal complex built entirely of pink sandstone and decorated with mosaics was already enjoyed by the Romans and, later on, by the Empress Eugenie and Napoleon, who appreciated the curative properties of its waters. Now it is your turn to dive in and relax in the 34° waters. This Zen attitude continues in the old town’s streets that are best explored on foot, far from the traffic jams, horns and stress of big city life. The ideal conditions in which to pound the pavements of narrow streets brimming with charm.

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Autun

More than a town, this is a veritable concentration of French history. Starting with the Gauls, the town acquired its noble reputation under the influence of the Roman Emperor Augustus. Then came the Middle Ages and the Renaissance… Autun became ever more beautiful and powerful with every passing era, proudly displaying its motto « Roma celtica, soror et aemula Romae » (Sister and Emulator of Rome)! Although there are only vestiges remaining of the largest theatre in the Roman world (space for 20,000 by the way), the atmosphere of that time remains just as palpable and intriguing.

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Bibracte

Flash-back to your history lessons at school: The Gauls… No, these Gaul’s didn’t carry menhirs under their arms and, no, they didn’t drink magic potions! Nevertheless, their civilisation is still worth looking into. And what better place to start learning about this than at Bibracte, capital of the Aedui people where Vercingétorix was proclaimed chief of the coalition of Gauls? On the programme, eating like the Gauls, digging up evidence of the Gauls, and even sleeping like the Gauls! A wonderful world to explore without fail.

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Montbéliard

What about spending a weekend or longer delving into a Germanic ambiance without ever leaving France? How? Jump aboard a TGV to Montbéliard, a pretty town nestling at the foot of a fairy-tale château. This pretty town has always cultivated a certain Teutonic charm. This is firstly down to geographical proximity, of course, but also because of a shared history (it was a German principality for 4 centuries), Lutheran inspired architecture and, to reinforce this kinship, a traditional Christmas market that brings every December to life around the Temple St Martin. On your marks, get set, stroll!

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Musée Peugeot

On any list of iconic car brands that every French person knows, I would say Peugeot is sure to feature! To understand the history of this brand and its lion, you need to look in the rear-view mirror. The overview provided by the Musée Peugeot could not be more comprehensive: saw blades, coffee grinders, sewing machines, bikes, motorcycles and, then, cars, here its revival can be explored thanks to an immense collection of objects and vehicles that represent two centuries of industry. 200 years old and still earning a place in people’s hearts, proof that this brand has withstood time and trends.

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Cluny

Boasting the title of largest religious building in Europe (held until the constriction of St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, no less), Cluny Abbey may well have ended up as an open-air masterpiece! But time and the French Revolution passed, leading to some irredeemable losses…but not quite, as now there is « Gunzo »! Gunzo is a brilliant combination of technology and passion that has given rise to a virtual reality tool that lets you discover the majesty of this building as if it had just sprung from the earth! It provides an immersion into history that should be enjoyed to the full.

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Dole

The Jura is of course well known for its yellow wines and Comté cheese. But, did you know about its little Venice? No? That’s a real shame. Situated 2h15 by TGV from Paris, it is THE weekend destination for heritage buffs. The Jurassian town boasts numerous architectural gems that make it worthy of its status as the former Comtoise capital: mansion houses, parliament, collegiate church…you will strain your neck looking up and admiring so many marvels. Carry on exploring along the banks of the tanners’ canal, a deeply romantic spot that was also the birthplace of a certain Louis Pasteur. Make sure to visit the museum in his honour!

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Alésia

Without having to think too hard, when we hear the name Alésia, we are well aware that it doesn’t stir up happy memories… To give it some context, on one side there were Gauls on horseback lead by Vercingétorix, whilst on the other was a Roman legion armed to the teeth that had made the long journey here for one reason! At stake was the freedom of the people… Now that the battle lines have beed drawn, its up to you to discover more with a visit to the Muséoparc d’Alésia.

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Haut-Jura Saint Claude

We come here for the sublime landscapes of the Haut Jura Nature Park. On top of that, we are proud to say that we boast the biggest tobacco pipe in the world. But the real charm lies elsewhere, in the encounters with local inhabitants that are on hand to open the door to a land that is rich in a cultural, artisanal and industrial history that is still alive and kicking. From the Maison du Peuple through to the diamond, tobacco pipe and wooden toy workshops; step inside and take the time to chat with the friendly locals who are eager and enthusiastic. St-Claude awaits with open arms!

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