With so many lakes and rivers in this region, watersports are a big attraction in summer – especially canoeing and kayaking. Photo: Gillian Thornton

Explore the region’s military history and foodie trails or enjoy the great outdoors on skis, horseback, in a boat or on foot…

Related article: Franche-Comté: The Land of Plenty

HISTORIC ROUTES

Belfort from Fort to Fort. Drive the 75km route linking military remains from the Middle Ages to the 20th century in Territoire-de-Belfort. Website: www.belfort-tourisme.com

GASTRONOMIC ROUTES

Head off down the Jura Wine Trail to discover the diverse variety of vintages, or maybe the Absinthe Route in search of the ‘Green Fairy’. Website: www.routedelabsinthe.com

Drink your way along the Absinthe Route in search of the notorious ‘Green Fairy’

Munch your way along the Cheese Route to taste AOC cheeses from Morbier to Bont-d’Or, Bleu de Gex to Gruyère, Emmental and of course the famous Comté cheese. Website: www.lesroutesducomte.com

Or try the Craft Beer Trail, where each brewery has its own character. Website: www.labrassicomtoise.fr

BUILT HERITAGE

Explore the area’s Little Character Towns – more than 30 small rural towns with exceptional heritage. Website: www.petites-cites-comtoises.org. Four of them – Lods, Pesmes, Baume- les-Messieurs and Château-Chalon are also classified among Les Plus Beaux Villages de France.

Explore the area’s Plus Beaux Villages de France – among them, pretty Lods

GREAT OUTDOORS

The mountains of the Vosges and Jura offer not only hiking and mountain biking in the summer, but paragliding, forest adventure parks and via ferrata (secure climbing). Ask at any tourist office about guided walks or bike excursions with qualified mountain guides who will point out everything from rare orchids and animal tracks to local landmarks. Winter sports include downhill and cross-country skiing, plus ski joëring– where the skier is pulled behind a horse – and skating on frozen lakes. Websites: www.parc-ballons-vosges.fr; www.montagnes-du-jura.fr

With more than 3,500km of marked cycle trails, there’s everything from family-friendly circuits to long-distance adventures. Eurovélo 6, which links the Atlantic to the Black Sea runs through Franche-Comté for 187km. Website: www.eurovelo.com

Pleasure boats line the riverside quay at Dole. Photo: Gillian Thornton

RIVER CRUISING

For holidays afloat, visit www.leboat.co.uk and www.boat-renting-nicols.co.uk. Tourist offices can advise on local excursions and day hire.

FAMILY ATTRACTIONS

Young visitors can get up close and personal with prehistoric creatures along a 2.5km trail at Dino-Zoo in Charbonnières-les-Sapins. Expect more than 100 dinosaurs, 4D cinema show, demonstrations and activities. Website: www.dino-zoo.com

Take the dinosaur trail at Dino-Zoo and spot more than 100 prehistoric creatures

See real animals on a smaller scale at the insectarium, aquarium, zoo and noctarium inside Besançon citadel. Website: www.citadelle.com

At Etalans, near the Dino-Zoo, the Gouffre de Poudray visit includes a subterranean light-and-sound show guaranteed to please all ages. Website: www.gouffredepoudrey.com

And for families who love Laughing Cow cheese in their lunch boxes, there’s plenty of interaction at La Maison de la Vache qui Rit at Lons-le-Saunier. Website: www.lamaisondelavachequirit.com

Restore your mojo with a visit to the Valvital thermal spa at Lons-le-Saunierfra

PAMPERING

The saline springs at Salins-les-Bains have long been popular with spa-lovers and now there’s a new spa space above the town on the Fort Belin side. Website: www.thermes-salins.com.

Or try the Lédonia thermal baths in elegant Lons-le-Saunier, capital of the Jura, for a relaxing dip.

If your idea of a treat involves chocolate, stop off in Arbois where Master Chocolate Maker Edouard Hirsinger creates handmade chocolates with seasonal flavours from sweet to savoury and everything in between. He also makes some pretty amazing cakes – enjoy! Website: www.chocolat-hirsinger.com

From France Today magazine

Succumb to chocolate heaven at Edouard Hirsinger’s shop in Arbois

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