"Fête de Biou" - Biou festival
The "Fête de Biou" is celebrated the first Sunday of September. We read about this festival in the wine museum and saw some photos there, it's an old custom. A so-called Biou is made of bunches of white and red grapes, with same flowers put on the top and two Arbois flags. It weights 80-100 kg. Then there's a procession, where some winegrowers carry the Biou through the streets. Afterwards they Biou is hung in the church Saint Juste where it will hang for some weeks. We were lucky to see the Biou there hanging, looks nice!
Special wine: Vin Jaune & Vin de Paille
The Vin Jaune is a unique wine of the Jura region, that is also produced in Arbois. It stays in oak barrels for 6 years and 3 months and during that time a veil of natural yeast emerges on the surface of the wine. Under this veil the wine develops its special aroma. The yellow wine comes in a 62cl bottle and is pretty expensive, costing more than 20 Euros. In the huge supermarkets you sometimes get it a bit cheaper.
Another special wine is the Vin de Paille, the straw wine. It's called like this because the grapes were historically dried on a bed of straw. The best grapes are taken and dried for several months. Then they are pressed and the wine is put into oak barrels to stay there for at least 2 or 3 years. The Vin de Paille is a sweet wine and comes in small bottles of 37,5 cl. It's also pretty expensive, which is no surprise as you get just 15 to 18 liter out of 100 kg of grapes!
Arbois - the wine capital of the Jura
Arbois is a nice town on the Cuisance river, in the Jura department. It's located between Besançon (49 km) and Lons-le-Saunier (41 km), around 35 km from Dole.
In Arbois, wine plays and important role, and you'll find that the town is surrounded by wineyards. On the main street, you find lots of wine shops and some also offer wine tasting. Of course there's also a wine museum! Besides, you can visit the Louis Pasteur house (guided visits only), where Pasteur grew up and had his labaratory.
There was quite a lot traffic in the town center, it seems to be a busy town. We just found one big car park, apart from all the parking spaces along the main street. Other cities had their car parks better signposted...
Other interesting places nearby:
- Grotte des Moidons (10 km) - another cave
- Salins-les-Bains (14 km) - nice town with old saltworks that you can visit, and two forts
- Arc-et-Senans (18 km) - great gardens and fascinating museum about architect Ledoux on the grounds of a former saltworks