Besançon Things to Do

  • views over the back half of the citadel as a zoo
    views over the back half of the citadel...
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  • Things to Do
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  • excited to see tigers here! & so beautiful
    excited to see tigers here! & so...
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Most Recent Things to Do in Besançon

  • Loeffle's Profile Photo

    Birthplace of Victor Hugo

    by Loeffle Written Jun 29, 2003

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    Victor Hugo's birthplace

    In this building French writer and poet Victor Huge (1802 - 1885) was born. But actually he just lived for two weeks in Besançon, because his family just stayed in town to visit his grandfather who was garrisoned in Besançon.

    In another house on Place Victor Hugo (northern end) Auguste and Louis Lumière (1862-1954 and 1864-1948) were born. They eventually invented cinematography.

    You can see the "faces" of all these famous sons of Besançon in different windows at Place Victor Hugo.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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  • Loeffle's Profile Photo

    Cathedral Saint-Jean

    by Loeffle Written Jun 29, 2003

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    Cathedral Saint Jean seen through Porte Noire

    The cathedral is unusual for its two apses and is probably Carolingian in origin.

    The entrance is an 18th century side door on the north side. Inside, the Romanesque (12 th century) style of the great arches of the nave rubs shoulders with the Gothic (13th century)ribbed vaults.

    Opposite the east apse (rebuilt by G.G. Boffrand (17th century) when the tower collapsed, the west apse is decorated with remarkable 12th century capitals.

    Don't miss: the Renaissance tomb of Ferry Carondelet, abbot of Montbenoît, the “Rose de Saint-Jean (a circular white marble altar) and Fra Bartolomeo’s famous Virgin with Saints, situated near the sacristy door (see tip below).

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Arts and Culture

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  • Loeffle's Profile Photo

    Fra Bartolomeo’s Virgin with Saints (Saint-Jean)

    by Loeffle Written Jun 29, 2003

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    Fra Bartolomeo���s Virgin with Saints

    One of the mayor works of Italian painter Fra Bartolomeo. He was born 1473 in Florentia and died 1517 in Pian' di Mugnone. As a member of the Florentine school he influenced for example Raphael.

    Most of his other works can be seen in the Uffizi (Florentia), Galleria Borghese (Rome) and the Louvre (Paris).

    Our guide didn't give us much information about this painting, so I'm afraid I can't tell you much about it.

    You can find in the Saint-Jean Cathedral near the sacristy door.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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  • Loeffle's Profile Photo

    L' Hôtel de Ville

    by Loeffle Updated Jun 27, 2003

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    L' H��tel de Ville

    Built between 1569 and 1573, the Hôtel de Ville presents a sober, austere facade to the outside world. Above the porch, the Besançon eagle bearing two columns reminds us of the town’s long history (there's a nice story about this eagle, but our guide couldn't really explain it well enough in a language I understand, sorry).

    On the right, an immense niche contained, up to the French Revolution, a bronze fountain representing Charles V astride a two-headed eagle; to this day it is surmounted by the town motto, Pleut à Dieu (“Pleasing to God”). The 15th century municipal aune (0.815 m) is on the extreme left of the facade.

    L' Hôtel de Ville is located just across Saint-Pierre on Place du Huit Septembre. I refer to the warnings I included on that tip.

    Anyway, Place du Huit Septembre offers some nice cafés and bars where you can sit outdoors. Especially in summertime a good and comfortable option. Prices are not too expensive (if you want to save money visit side roads)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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  • Loeffle's Profile Photo

    Church of Saint-Pierre

    by Loeffle Written Jun 27, 2003

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    Church of Saint-Pierre

    The church was completed in 1786 by the architect Bertrand from drawings by Victor Louis, but its origins date back to the 4th century.

    The neo-classical facade with its Corinthian colonnade surmounted by a pyramid-shaped tower may strike a bizarre note, but inside the dominating impression is one of unity. The many works of art include the woodwork of the choir, the pietà by Luc Breton and the original Stations of the Cross.

    You will find Saint-Pierre easily: It is just across Hôtel de Ville on Place du Huit Septembre. Be careful! Most tourist are in this part of the town, so only thieves are there (own experience!)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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  • Loeffle's Profile Photo

    The Besançon Citadel

    by Loeffle Written Jun 27, 2003

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    The Besan��on Citadel

    As mentioned in my Besançon intro page this a magnificant place and I highly rate it as must see.

    The Besançon Citadel was built between 1668 and 1711 playing an integral part of Vauban's border fortification system (other examples are for example Belfort, Neuf-Brisach or Saarlouis) against the Germans. It extends over 11 hectares and stands more than 100 metres above the old town of Besançon, which lies below almost entirely encircled by River Doubs. The view is breathtaking as you can imagine.

    The Citadel is a fortress that has been restored to a remarkable high standard and is not a unique cultural and tourist attraction.

    For me the very special thing about the Besançon Citadel is the combination of a historical site which hosts modern museums. For example there's a small zoo in the ditches of the Citadel.

    In addition to the zoo the Besançon Citadel hosts the following museums and exhibitions:

    - Vauban exhibition and the ramparts
    - Franche-Comté Museum (regional)
    - Museum of the Resistance and the Deportations (WW II)
    - Noctarium (dark world of small nocturnal animals)
    - Insectarium (world of insects)
    - Aquarium

    During summer there are guided tours through the Citadel. You can also get audio guides.

    The Besançon Citadel is open all year round with exception of January 1st and December 25 th. Museums are closed on Tuesday from November 1 st to Easter. No dogs admitted!

    A miniature railway, a free bus from city centre (in summer), a café, snack bar, restaurant with panorama view over the city, a boutique, a bookshop and a seminar room can also be found there.

    Prices (Citadel and all museums) 3,50 to 7 €

    Related to:
    • Zoo
    • Aquarium
    • Castles and Palaces

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  • barryg23's Profile Photo

    Hugo's House

    by barryg23 Updated Jun 10, 2003

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    Victor Hugo's House

    The house where the great French writer, Victor Hugo, was born is close to the centre of Besancon. Hugo wrote two of the greatest nineteenth century novels (and two of my all-time favourites) - Notre Dame de Paris & Les Miserables.

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    The Juras wine road.

    by Pierre_Rouss Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Not the most renowned wine around, but excellent. Think about the red and white wines, but also the yellow wines and 'vins de paille' (very slow fermentation giving wines up to 17%). You must taste these!!!
    Classification: Wine Tasting , Hiking , Photography , Site Seeing

    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting

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    Château et Le Lion de Belfort

    by Pierre_Rouss Updated Oct 19, 2002

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    The castle at the bottom of which can be found the Lion de Belfort, symbol of the city resistance in 1870-1871 which commemorates the 104-day siege of the Franco-German War; it was sculptured by Bartholdi. It is roughly 22 meters long by 11 meters high.
    Classification: Photography , Site Seeing

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  • mignonne's Profile Photo

    Visit the CITADELLE,...

    by mignonne Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Visit the CITADELLE, constructed by the instructions of LOUIS XIV, Le roi du soleil. It's a magnificent sight by night and be sure to get to the highest point to take a look at the view of Besançon. Don't miss the great musuems in the Citadelle!

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  • exotique18's Profile Photo

    La Citadelle de Vauban is one...

    by exotique18 Written Aug 24, 2002

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    La Citadelle de Vauban is one of the most important place that you should vidit in Besancon.There are many museums in it such as art museum' musee de la Resistance de la Deportation and there is zoologic park.

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  • exotique18's Profile Photo

    There are many activity...

    by exotique18 Written Feb 25, 2003

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    There are many activity opportunities and many places to visit in Besançon.Hotel de Ville,Palais de Justice,Eglise St.Madeleine,Musée des Beaux Arts are some of place that should be visited.If you want you can do a tour around the city with a bateau-mouche.Citadel is also very attractive place.There is a zoo and botanic garden in it.In summer many spectacles and festivals are made in it.
    You may go there by bus (from Place du Huit Septembre).Many festivals,concerts especially jazz&classic and competitions such as chess (le concours d'échecs) are taken place throughout the year.There are also many beautiful parks in Besançon.
    Besançon is a very beautiful city that should be visited.It is a wonderful,historical green city surrounded by natural beauty.

    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting

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  • Martin_B's Profile Photo

    The house of Victor Hugo

    by Martin_B Written Aug 24, 2002

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    You should see where the house of Victor Hugo was. There is only a card who said that Victor Hugo lived here but you cannot visit inside the house. It's just to said that you saw the Victor Hugo house :)

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  • Martin_B's Profile Photo

    La citadelle

    by Martin_B Written Aug 24, 2002

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    You must visit 'La Citadelle'. It is located on the top of the mountain and from there you can see all the city of Besancon. There is a LOT of think to see inside. There is museum that you want to read everything but it's very long to visit or read the whole thing. The section who talked about the Holocauste in Germany/poland was very interesting. You learn a lot over that museum.

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  • Pierre_Rouss's Profile Photo

    Again, Baume les Messieurs

    by Pierre_Rouss Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Paths are cushioned, trees are moldy, with some fog the place is gloomy.
    Classification: Hiking , Photography , Site Seeing

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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Besançon Things to Do

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