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The Region of Franche-Comte - France Region 9

Consists of the four Départements of Doubs [25], Jura [39], Haute-Saone [70] and Territoire de Belfort [90]
The Region of Franche-Comté - Region 9 of 22

The Location of the Region of Franche-Comté
The region of Franche-Comté composes the eastern French départements of Jura, Doubs, Haute-Saône, and the Territoire de Belfort.  The capital is Besançon.  The region is bounded on the east by Switzerland; by the départements of Ain, in the region of Rhone-Alpes to the south, Saône-et-Loire, Côte-d'Or, and Haute-Marne, in the region of Burgundy to the west, and Vosges [region of Lorraine] and Haut-Rhin [region of Alsace] to the north.  Franche-Comté is dominated by the Jura Mountains. The basin of the upper Saône River extends into Jura. Annual precipitation is high, and forests cover much of Franche-Comté

The History of Franche-Comté
-Comté was originally a part of Burgundy.  Burgundy originally consisted of several historic kingdoms, counties, duchies, and a province situated within France.  During the 5th century AD, the Bourguignons, a Germanic tribe, invaded and established the first kingdom of Bourgogne in France.  The kingdom expanded until it included most of what is now southeastern France and part of present-day Switzerland. 

The Bourguignons were conquered in 534 by the
Merovingien rulers of the Franks and were later absorbed into the Carolingian Empire.  In 843 Burgundy was divided between Charles I of France  and his brother, Emperor Lothair I.  In 879, the kingdom of Provence, or Cisjurane Burgundy, was organized in the south, and in 888 the kingdom of Trans-Jurane Burgundy was created in the north.  

After the new kingdom of
Burgundy emerged in 888, its kings secured very little control over the local counts in Cisjurane Burgundy.  In 933 the two kingdoms were united as the second kingdom of Burgundy, with the capital at Arles. The lack of control persisted after the kingdom was annexed, in 1033, by the Holy Roman emperor Conrad II.

Two other divisions of this area, the duchy of Burgundy and the Free County of Burgundy, or Franche-Comté, were also established.  The name “Franche-Comté” came about as follows:
  In 1127 a local count, Raynald III, refused to do homage to the German king Lothair II.  After 10 years of conflict, Raynald was victorious.  Thereafter, he was the franc-Comté or "free count".   Raynald’s territory then became known as the Franche-Comté.

From 1295 to 1477 Franche-Comté was influenced by France; after 1482 it passed to the Spanish line of the Habsburg family, and in 1678, as the result of the Treaty of Nijmegen, it was permanently joined to France as a French province.  In 1790,
-Comté, like the rest of France, was broken up into départements.

The Architecture of Franche-Comté 

  • The Churches
    The huge 16th century chantry chapel at Brou, Region of Franche-Comté, is an example of early Renaissance.  It has intermittent Renaissance Italian motifs, but the general effect is not very different from the pure Gothic. 
  • The Chateaux

The Gastronomy of Franche-Comté 

  • The Cheese of Franche-Comté
    In Franche-Comté, 80% of the collected milk is made into cheese.  Some of the best cheese of Franche-Comté are:

    • Le Comté

    • Le Bleu de Gex ou Septmoncel

    • Le Vacherin du Haut-Doubs ou Mont d’Or

    • La Cancoillote

    • Le Morbier

    • La Raclette

  • The Cuisine of Franche-Comté
    • Side Plates
      • Croute aux Morilles 

      • Tarte au Fromage 

      • Petits Choux au Comté 

      • Feuilleté Comtois au Jambon

    • Main Dishes
      • Poularde aux morilles  

      • Poulet a la Comtoise  

      • Coq au Vin Jaune  

      • Truite au Vin Jaune  

      • Escalope de Veau Comtoise 

      • Potée Comtoise

      • Fondue

    • Deserts
      • Poires au Vin 

      • Papet Jurassien 

      • Tarte au Goumeau 

      • Seche ou Galette de Besançon

  • The Wine of Franche-Comté
    • Special Wines
      • Le Vin Jaune [Yellow wine]

      • Le vin de Paille [Straw wine – more like a port]

    • Red and Rose Wines
      • Le rosé d’Arbois

      • Le Trousseau

      • Le Poulsard

    • White Wines
      • Chardonnay 

      • Savagnin 

    • Bubbly Wines
      • Blancs or Rosé from Etoile, Arbois or Cotes du Jura

The Economic Activity of Franche-Comté 

  • The Agriculture
    Animal husbandry in Franche-Comté centers in the mountains and dominates agriculture.  The region has productive farms, where cattle are bred, and is a leading producer of cheese and other dairy products.  Local forests support a number of industries. The low region, in the west, is agriculturally rich, producing grains, wine, sparkling wines, cheese and a variety of other food products.  Salt is mined in Jura around Salins-les-Bains and Montmorot.

  • The Industry
    Franche-Comté’s industries produce textiles, electrical equipment, metallurgy, sanitary porcelain and chemicals.  The region’s manufacturing includes processed food, leather works, textiles, clothing, embroidering, automobiles and  timepieces, an activity introduced here by Swiss refugees.  Its industries also include iron and copper founding, brewing, woodworking, diamond polishing, optical instruments, cheese, and sparkling wines.


The Region of Franche-Comté
Département Information

Index to the Region of Franche-Comté

Introduction to the Region of Franche-Comté  

The Information on Départements of Franche-Comté 

  • Doubs [25]
  • Jura [39]
  • Haute-Saone [70]
  • Territoire de Belfort [90]

The Information on the Towns of Franche-Comté

The Categorized Web Sites of Franche-Comté A - H

The Categorized Web Sites of Franche-Comté I - Z

The links for the Départements & Towns of Franche-Comté 


The Départements of Franche-Comté 

  • Doubs [25]
  • Jura [39]
  • Haute-Saone [70]
  • Territoire de Belfort [90]

Region of Franche-Comté Town Info
The Towns of Franche-Comté 

Belfort   is a town in east central France.  It is the capital of the departement of Territoire de Belfort. It is located on the Savoureuse River, southwest of Mulhouse.  It is best known as a wine-trading center specializing in Alsatian wines and brandies.  It is also a trading center for cereals.  Its industries produce textiles, electrical equipment, metallurgy and chemicals. 

The area where Belfort is located was Inhabited in Gallo-Roman times.  Belfort itself was first chartered in 1307 as a possession of the counts of Montbéliard.  It later became a possession of the archdukes of Austria.  In 1648, the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ceded it to Louis XIV.  In turn, Louis gave it to Cardinal Mazarin.

The town controlled the strategic Trouée de Belfort pass, between the Vosges and the Jura.  Consequently, the town was often besieged.  In World War I it was successfully defended by the French, but it was occupied by the Germans in World War II.  

Belfort’s fortified old quarter, on the east bank of the Savoureuse, contains its castle and public buildings.  In front of its 18th century hôtel de ville  is the French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi's majestic 1880 statue, the  "Lion of Belfort", that commemorates the town’s long siege during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871. 

Besançon, located on the Doubs River in eastern France, is the capital of Doubs Department.  Prior to 58 BC, when it was taken by Julius Caesar, It was the chief town of the Sequani Gauls.   It then became a Roman military outpost.  It was made an archiepiscopal see in the 2nd century AD and, in 1184, the Holy Roman emperor Frederick Barbarossa made it a free imperial city.  During the 14th century the dukes of Burgundy took the city.  Subsequently, it passed to the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I through his marriage to Mary of Burgundy.  During the period of Austro-Spanish domination, from 1477 to 1674, Besançon became prosperous and superseded Dole as the virtual capital of the region of Franche-Comté.  In 1674, it was finally ceded, along with Franche-Comté,  to Louis XIV of France.  In 1676, the regional parliament and the mint were transferred from Dole and Besançon formally became the capital of the province of Franche-Comté.  Besançon is the seat of the University of Franche-Comté which moved here, from Dôle, in 1691.

The town’s points of interest include the Roman ruins of a triumphal arch, called Porte Noire, an amphitheatre and an aqueduct.  One of its modern bridges, spanning the Doubs, incorporates part of a Roman bridge. 

The Cathedral of Saint Jean, which was founded in the 4th century, has been rebuilt several times, especially over the course of the 12th through 16th century.  There are also several buildings in the Spanish Renaissance style.

Besançon is noted as the birthplace of the writer Victor Hugo. 

Besançon is a farm-trade, cultural, and manufacturing center.  Since the 18th century the town has been especially noted for its production of timepieces, an activity introduced here by Swiss refugee.  Other manufacturing includes processed food, leather works and textiles.

Dole, which is also spelled DÔLE, is a  town located in the département of Jura.  The town is located southeast of Dijon on the Doubs River and the Rhine-Rhône Canal.  Under the Romans, the town was called Dolla.  In medieval times it was the seat of the dukes of Burgundy.

Until 1691, Dole was the site of the University of Franche-Comté, and between 1332 and 1674 it was the capital of Franche-Comté.  From 1493 to 1678, until the Peace of Nijmegen made it French, it belonged to the house of Habsburg.  In that same year its university, which dates from 1423, and its parliament were moved to Besançon.  

Louis Pasteur was born in Dole in 1822.  His birthplace is preserved as a monument.  The hospital, named in his honor, is housed in a 17th century building.  The Gothic-style Church of Notre Dame was constructed in the Gothic-style in the 16th century. 

Dole manufactures metal and sanitary porcelain and has a commerce in grain, wine, and cheese.   Salt deposits near Poligny supply the large chemical plant at Tavaux, near Dôle.


Lons-le-Saunier is the capital of the département of Jura is surrounded by vine-clad hills.  It is located south-southeast of Dijon on the Vallière River that runs through the valley of Solvan.  The town has been known, since Roman times, for its thermal springs.  It is also known for Bartholdi’s statue of Rouget de Lisle, the composer of “La Marseillaise”, the French national anthem.  There is a collection of his compositions in the town’s Hotel de Ville.  Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi is the designer of the Statue of Liberty.

Lons-le-Saunier manufactures optical instruments, cheese, and sparkling wines.

Montbéliard is located
between the Vosges and the Jura mountains, 11 miles from the Swiss border in the département of Doubs,  It is situated north of the Doubs River and the Canal du Rhône au Rhin. 

Montbéliard is known to have been in existence in the 8th century.  The lordship of Montbéliard became a countship in the 12th century.  The château of the counts of Montbéliard, on a rocky promontory dominating the town, has towers dating from the 15th and 16th centuries; it houses a museum of natural history and (in an 18th century extension) an art museum.

Subsequently, Montbéliard became a possession of the dukes of Württemberg.  They administered it from the end of the 14th century until the French Revolution.  

Peugeot currently manufactures automobiles at Montbéliard, employing more than two-thirds of the economically active. 

The town of Vesoul, which is located between a conical hill, known as La Mote, and the Durgeon River, is the
 capital of the département of Haute-Saône.  Perched upon the summit of the hill is  a votive chapel and a statue of the Virgin Mary. 

Although its records go back only to the 9th century, Vesoul is of ancient origin.  During the late 16th century Wars of Religion, and the Thirty Years' War of the 17th century, the town was greatly damaged.  In 1678, as a result of the Treaty of Nijmegen, Vesou was incorporated into France.  

The town is located in the center of an agricultural region, and is an important market for farm produce and cattle.  The chief industry is metallurgy.



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