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Traditional house in the Jura montains - ©CRT de Franche-Comté
Bellecombe - ©Comité Régional du Tourisme de Franche-Comté
The chalets, houses, and farms that populate Jura’s mountain landscape illustrate the way of life of the “Montagnon”, as the inhabitants of the Jura Mountains are known.
This habitat constitutes genuine rural heritage: comtoise farms in the Haut-Doubs between Pontarlier and Maiche, replete with tuyé – a space in the chimney for smoking meats – traditional Saugeais farms, the winemaking houses in Revermont, farms with tavaillon roofing (spruce shingles) in Haut-Jura, Bugey’s distinctive rooftops... visitors can also get to know the region through its traditional architecture that bears testament to the often pragmatic style dictated by the harsh mountain climate.
You can discover the region’s architecture as you travel through the Jura Mountains, or find them in concentrated form in one of several museums: The Open Air Museum of Ancient Traditional Houses or the farm museums of watchmaking country in Grand Combe Chateleu.
The identity of the Jura Mountains is made up of its people and their traditions. The Montagnons proved apt at exploiting the resources afforded by the mountains, namely wood, an element which led to the development of crafts such as turning, woodwork, marquetry, or crafting pipes and toys. The Woodwork Museum in Bois d’Amont’s old sawmill and the Toy Museum do a good job of showing just how important these activities were.
Watchmaking is another of the region’s noteworthy industries and belongs to a generations old craft that has today found a new lease of life through the success of recognised brands like Yema and Maty, as well as names such as Pequignet or Silberstein and their luxury watches. To find out more, visit the watchmaking museum in Morteau.
And last but not least, another local speciality: glasses, the capital of which is Morez, a town with a glasses museum that is home to a remarkable collection of all kinds of glasses.
Cuisine in the Jura Mountains is characterised by a number of regional products: Four AOC cheeses (Comté, Morbier, Bleu de Gex, mont d’Or), cured meats, including the famous Morteau sausage, 7 AOC white and red wines, absinthe, yellow wine, straw wine, and other specialities such as Nantua quenelles: it is a hearty cuisine with full plates that make full bellies!