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palais Granvelle de Besançon, détail - ©CRT de Franche-Comté
Since Antiquity, Franche-Comté has been under the control of different powers, at the mercy of conquests and alliances conducted by great powers like the Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Habsburg Empire and even the Kings of France. The latter were to annex the region definitively in 1678 after the Treaty of Nijmegen, and it is only after this date that the region became an integral part of France.
These historical events have left deep traces in our towns and villages. Today, they are rich in Roman, medieval and Renaissance relics, with these numerous remnants providing exciting ideas for excursions.
Besides its tumultuous history and these power plays, Franche-Comté is distinguished from the other French regions by its rebellious, obstinate spirit. Resistant as it was in the face of French troops, whether those of Louis XI (1477-79), Henri IV (1595), Richelieu (1634-44) or Louis XIV (1674-78). Closer to home, Belfort's valiant defence in 1870 against the Prussians in 1870, or even more recently the fierce Resistance against the Nazi occupation illustrate this regional character perfectly. It is within this context that the famous motto, "Comtois, surrender! Not on your life!" takes on its full significance.