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Besancon City

Encircled in a loop of the Doubs river, the ancient fortress town of Besancon is the capital of Franche-Comte. It is an historic town set in exceptionally beautiful surroundings. Its hilltop citadel built by Vauban is perched above the old town and offers an extensive view.

Doubs River & Quai Vauban

On one bank of the Doubs river, the "Quai Vauban" is bordered with arcaded 17th century houses. On the other bank, the "Quartier Battant" with the Sainte-Madeleine church is one of the oldest parts of Besancon and used to be the wine-growers' district. Sightseeing bateaux-mouches and leisure boats circle the city along the river.

City Center

Besancon has an attractive "centre ville" located inside the loop of the Doubs river. The Roman "Grande Rue" remains the oldest and main street, where most of the action is. A lively and active lifestyle dominated by the young population is apparent day and night in the crowded shops, cafes and restaurants of this district.

Places of Interest

Numerous old buildings have been preserved and bear witness to the rich past of Besancon, such as the Palais Granvelle, a 16th century Renaissance mansion with a remarkable interior arcaded courtyard and the Hotel de Champagney, a 16th century mansion. A passage through its arcaded inner courtyard leads to the Clos Barbizier, rose garden offering a good view of the city rooftops.

Old Town

The old town abounds in architectural marvels and has a profusion of monuments, convents, churches, towers, ramparts, mansions with elegant facades dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries among old houses with balconies, tiled roofs and chimneys. A walk along the Grande Rue reveals varying aspects of the town's past.

Architectural Styles

The city manages a happy blend of ancient and modern architecture, from Roman works to postmodern buildings such as the international Center for Applied Linguistics. The many parks and gardens along the river banks and surrounding hills give the city an instant charm.
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