Besançon Travel Guide

  • Downtown, Besancon, FR
    Downtown, Besancon, FR
    by gubbi1
  • Citadell, Besancon, FR
    Citadell, Besancon, FR
    by gubbi1
  • Citadell, Besancon, FR
    Citadell, Besancon, FR
    by gubbi1

Besançon Things to Do


    Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Besancon Citadel. Created by Vauban in the 17th century, it's considered to be one of the finest in France. The site is encircled by ramparts topped by walkways, walls up to 20 metres high punctuated with watchtowers. This was a Vauban masterpiece!But how did he make the River Doubs safe from...


    Located in Place de la Revolution in the historic centre of Besancon is where "The all kinds of things" markets are held on Tuesdays 7 - 1pm, Fridays 7 - ?, Saturdays 7 - 7pm.I was there on a wet Friday, so not the best day to judge the markets. I found quite a few food stalls and crafts, like the baskets in my photo.


    A walk around Besancon led me to a nice garden with a modern sculpture, beds of flowering annuals and plenty of seating. I don't know what the sculpture depicts, but the second photo is done in the same style and looks like horse and woman in carriage?


    The St. Francis Xavier Church was built thanks to Antoine-François Gauthiot Ancier donating his entire fortune to the Jesuits of Comtois, on the sole condition they erect a church annex Victor Hugo College. Unfortunately, the donation was meant to be received in 1629 but a lawsuit against the company of Jesuits meant a wait until 1680 before they...


    St. Peter's Church was built in the IV century and has been rebuilt many times. .In 1780, plans were presented for a new church to be built in the shape of a Greek cross in the heart of the city. The plan was accepted and the Church with a high Belfry was built between 1782 and 1786. The French Revolution stopped the church from being completed...


    As I walked beside the River I came across what looked to be a sculpture, I really couldn't make out what it was as it was in the middle of the River Doubs. I have since discovered it is a modern fountain named Le Minotaure, hard to work out when it wasn't working! It was designed by Besancon artist, "jens Boettcher" whose designed another fountain...


    Located a little further on from the St. Jacques Hospital gates is the Chapel of Our Lady of Refuge or Notre-Dame du Foyer. The Chapel is attached to what was once the "convent of Refuge" in 1709 and then the Saint-Jacques Hospital of Besancon in 1802. Built in baroque style in the 17th century, it has a lovely 26 metres high Dome covered in...


    It was the beautiful gates that made me stop and take a look at the Saint-Jacques Hospital in Besançon. Blacksmith, Nicolas Chapuis was the maker of these gates. On the pediment of the main grid is the latin inscription which means "It's what you abandoned the poor, You will be supporting the orphan."In 1182, the canons of the chapter of the...


    Built in 1585 and used by the Parliament of Besancon, this building is now used as the Besancon Court-house. It's called a Palace. For me, this was the most attractive building in Besancon. The Besançon courthouse is composed of two parts, which correspond to two times and two uses of these buildings. Built in 1582 in a Renaissaissance style, the...


    The Grand Rue is a name derived from the Gallo-Roman era. It happens to be one of the oldest routes of the city. It is the main street of Besancon and leads into Revolution Place. This street is lined by big named shops, fashion boutiques, beauty salons, Cafes, Restaurants and many other resellers, something for everyone along here. In short, you...


    Victor Hugo, the Poet/Writer was born at 140 Grande Rue, Besancon on February 26, 1802.. There you can visit his house and see four rooms with four different themes.* free speech * the triptych poverty-gender-justice * Children and education * the freedom of peoples. OPEN Every day except Tuesday, November 1 to March 31 10:30 - 5:30 p.m. April 1...


    Another fountain I came across in Besancon was the fountain Des Eaux Arcier, only this wasn't the original built in 1560, not the replacement from 1743, nor from 1822 or 1854 but from 1860. The 1743 fountain was demolished during the Revolution, I don't know what happened to the next, except it was rebuilt in 1854 only to collapse because the water...


Besançon Hotels

See all 28 Hotels in Besançon

Besançon Restaurants

  • Wonderful food and atmosphere!

    I loved this place. It is a modest restaurant where for 7 euro they feed you very well. I ordered the menu shown in the picture and like it.

  • Only for wines amateur

    Les Zinzins du Vin is a small and discret adress inn Besançon. You can walk near it without seeing it.But if you enter, it's very pretty and very friendly. Walls are covered with wine bins, with wines from all region of France, and often wines which are unknown, because the boss wants to make people discover different things.This guy also makes his...

  • cheap and friendly

    It's a local restaurant in rue de bersot, off the rue des granges.from outside, it doesn't look great, but inside they ahve a jazzy atmosphere, with soft colors and 40's like painting... and of course very good oldies of jazz was sunday, so almost empty, so the service was great, we could talk easily and loosely with the boss, and we...


Besançon Nightlife

  • Plenty of Nightlife Around Besak!

    Besancon has plenty to do at night. The cafes around centre ville stay open late enough to let your cafe creme turn into beer, wine or a cocktail. Pub De L'Etoile, on Grande Rue and just across Pont Battant, is one of the most confortable bars downtown. The owner is a great, friendly guy and the prices are the best in town. Farther down Grande Rue...

  • Fête de la Musique

    Fête de la Musique is celebrated all over France, but this year (2003) my university decided to plan a trip to our jumelage town Besançon.I have never experienced such a Fête before, but I was quite curious. Anyway after a long and hot day, and the impressive Citadel most of us weren't 100 % keen on the Fête.Anyway the town offered a huge number of...

  • Besançon Hotels

    28 Hotels in Besançon

Besançon Transportation

  • Shuttle train

    Since the TGV station Besançon Franche-Comté is located way out in the countryside, there is a shuttle train (navette) to get us into Besançon.As of 2014, the shuttle train runs nineteen times a day in each direction, with the journey taking an average of thirteen minutes. Usually there is one stop along the way. Second photo: Some long-distance...

  • The new tramway

    When I visited Besançon in May 2014 the new tramway had been installed but was not yet operational, as only two of the nineteen trams had been delivered. They were already doing some test runs, but I did not see any of these during my visit.The new tramway is intended to be the backbone of public transportation for the entire “agglo” =...

  • Bridge of Chardonnet

    This bridge across the Doubs is now reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, but it was originally built just before the Second World War as a single-track railway bridge to serve the commercial river port, which was still in use at that time.The bridge was finished in November 1939 but was partly blown up by the French army just seven months later,...


Besançon Local Customs

  • Mouvement Franche-Compté

    In addition to the City Hall and the Church of Saint Pierre, the Square of the 8th of September also hosts the headquarters of an organization called the Mouvement Franche-Compté.In the spring of 2014 their shop window was full of signs denouncing the proposed merger of the Franche-Comté with the neighboring region of Burgundy (Bourgogne). The big...

  • Visiting Besançon,ý discovered...

    Visiting Besançon,ý discovered that native people are very friendly and helpful.In Besançon there is a cultural feature,when a man meets with a woman or girl kisses from her &his cheek one man one woman,when a man meets with a man they shake hands.Later ý learnt that kissing and hugging is a particul cultural feature in France and the number of...

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Besançon Warnings and Dangers

  • Loeffle's Profile Photo


    by Loeffle Written Jul 4, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I'm sorry to say but Besançon (as well as most other bigger towns in Central Europe) is not 100 % safe when it comes to pickpocket.

    One member of our group became unlucky when his purse (including everything) got stolen only 10 minutes before we left town. Another member of our group said: "This couldn't have happened to me, it's his own fault!". But he's wrong! Remember the thieves are profs and often so quick that you don't even realize it.

    While the Citadel is safe (entrance money), the crowded parts of old-town are trouble areas when it comes to pickpocket. I can only advise you to minimize the risk by not having your camera, purse, mobile phone etc in your backpack. Also small bags "sitting" on the empty chair beside you in a cafe are an easy target.

    I had my money, id card, cash card, mobil phone hanging in front of my stomach (see picture on packing list), and never had any problems so far.

    Wouldn't that guy has gotten robbed, I'd say Besançon is a very nice, safe and charming city.

    Crowds in Grande Rue = DANGER!!!
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Festivals
    • Historical Travel

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Besançon What to Pack

  • Continental European Clothing...

    Leave your luggage and bags in a safe place! Otherwise you risk that you return home with less than you brought. It's best to use a small rucksack with something to drink and eat. Avoid having valuable stuff there (see warnings and dangers!). No matter which seasons, I recommend the "layer technique". Besançon has continental climate which means...

  • Packing List

    It would be a great disappointment to forget your camera after walking to the top of the hill. There are great views from here in both directions - to the west you get an excellent panorama of the town, while to the east you can see the mountains and valley.

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Besançon Off The Beaten Path

  • Square Castan

    In Besançon it is easy to get the impression that local history began in the 16th century with Charles V, or in the 17th century with Vauban, but actually the city is much older than that. In Roman times it was called Vesontio, at least that’s what Julius Caesar called it in Book 1 of his Commentary on the Gallic Wars in 58 BC.Some remnants of...

  • Rue Mégevand

    In the eighteenth century, Besançon was one of five localities in France where a battalion of the Royal Artillery was stationed, the others being La Fère (a small town in Picardy in northern France), Metz, Strasbourg and Grenoble. In each of these places there was a School of Artillery for training the officers and other personell.In 1757 a sixth...

  • La City

    ”La City” is a large rounded glass and metal building (or group of buildings) by the Doubs River, at the west end of Canot Bridge. The walls of La City are rounded in such a way that they merge imperceptibly into the roof. I took the first two photos from the river boat.Second photo: La City and Cité Universitaire, as seen from the river boat as we...


Besançon Favorites

  • But wait, there's more

    Part of the Museum and focused on teaching, the Zoo highlights the conservation of endangered animal species especially the big cats (lions of Asia, Siberian tigers), primates (marmosets, tamarins, lemurs, gibbons, colobus. .. more than 25 species in total) and birds (thirty aquatic species and tropical). They also have some stuff I was more...

  • Besançon walks

    After a nice lunch by the river we climbed to the top of the hill overlooking the town. There was a great view of Besancon and the surrounding regions. I also remember there was a Castle at the top of this hill but as the entrance fee was 30F and we were still poor students, we had to forgo a visit. Next time!

  • Geography of Franche-Comté:...

    Geography of Franche-Comté: Situated in the central Europe at the river Saône at the Jura Mountains The important towns of Franche-Comté: Besançon (Capital of Franche-Comté) Montbéliard Belfort Vesoul Dôle The Franche-Comté Region is the region where there is the most number of trees, in other words, greenery in France. Almost all the 'Boites des...


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