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Water is omnipresent, the very essence of Franche-Comté. It has fashioned its landscapes and forged its valleys. Nourishing, powering, rejuvenating and meandering, a source of pleasure and of inspiration, water is a vital force in Franche-Comté.
Water can also provide health benefits. Hydrotherapy for wellbeing and health has a natural place in Franche-Comté. One of the oldest thermal bath resorts in France is found in Luxeuil-les-Bains. These thermal baths, in the heart of a town brimming with art and history, are renowned for treating rheumatological, phlebological and gynaecological conditions.
What could be more refreshing than taking a walk by the waterside? Gustave Courbet understood this very well. Ornans, known as Little Venice, is the perfect place to do so, with its quays and canals. Fans of the region will surely recognise a few beautiful corners of Loue-Lison Valley in the painter’s pictures exhibited at the Courbet Museum.
The Festival Musique et Mémoire, or Music and Memory Festival, has drawn an inexhaustible source of inspiration from water. This Baroque music festival, which takes place once a year at Plateau des Milles Etangs in Haute-Saône, demonstrates how water exalts artistic creativity.
Meandering across the countryside and forests, water can also be found in the heart of Franche-Comté’s urban centres. In rivers and lakes, water is king, and has shaped the area’s towns and cities. In Besançon, the regional capital, the river Doubs encircles the city centre, acting as a natural boundary. At the first glimpse of sun, the city’s residents love to take walks along the quays or by the port opposite the Citadel.
In Montbéliard, pleasant walks can be enjoyed at the marina, which also makes the perfect stopover on a boat trip. Lots of little boats are available to whisk you off on a wonderful river cruise. Keen cyclists will particularly enjoy the trip along the quays on the EuroVelo 6 route.
In the Jura, at Dole, water is omnipresent. In this hotspot for river tourism, a wide range of activities are available: a one-hour river cruiser trip, a stay on a licence-free boat, a walk on Girard Island, an afternoon’s fishing, a canoe outing… Dole is the starting point for many different adventures.
Within Haut Jura Regional Nature Park, water is the source of life for fauna and flora, and has always played a fundamental role in the lives of the people who have settled in this mountainous territory in the Jura.
Hérisson waterfalls, the four-lakes region, the Flumen gorges and other falls, rivers and waterways, are all finely preserved and protected areas, which you can explore on foot, by horse or by bike, for a total change of scene !