Flying visit to the Jura

The town of Dole © CRT Franche-Comté

The town of Dole © CRT Franche-Comté - Credit: Archant

A new flight route to Dole in the heart of Jura invites adventurous travellers to explore an uncharted corner of France, says Zoë McIntyre

Lying between the Swiss Alps and the vineyards of Champagne, the eastern region of Franche-Comté is one of France’s best kept secrets. Allying rich cultural heritage with unadulterated natural scenery, the region has long been overlooked largely due a lack off transport links with the UK. The inaugural flight that will connect London to Dole, found in Franche-Comté’s southern département of Jura, gives travellers the chance to discover lovely waterside town and its surroundings.

Perched on a limestone ledge, Dole is the ancient capital of Comté and remains the largest city in the Jura département. Its handsome old quarter sits behind an opal green canal that cuts through the centre of town, from where narrow cobbled street weave steeply up to the imposing gothic Notre Dame church found at the top of the town. It was in a traditional tannery house close to the canal that Louis Pasteur was born, which now houses a museum dedicated to the famous chemist. Dole was also home to writer Marcel Aymé, and the Circuit de Chat Perché leads visitors around sites related to his life and works.

Dole also provides a great base to explore the surrounding region. Slotted between Dijon and Besançon, these thriving hubs of Burgundy and Franche-Comté are both in easy reach. Other nearby attractions include the Great Satwork, found at the thermal spa town of Salins-les-Bains which was inscribed on Unesco’s heritage list in 2009

For those that enjoy the great outdoors, Dole’s position on the Canal du Rhône au Rhin provides a perfect opportunity to explore some of France’s most serene waterways by boat, canoe or along cycle paths. Walkers can leisurely stroll the gentle undulating landscape that characterises the Jura, stopping off to try some regional specialties such as runny Mont d’Or cheese or a glass of vin jaune.

GETTING THERE

Fly with Ryanair from London Stansted to Dole from Tuesdays and Saturdays

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www.ryanair.com

MORE INFORMATION

Tel: (Fr) 3 84 72 11 22

www.tourisme-paysdedole.fr

THREE WAYS TO EXPLORE AROUND DOLE

• Find your sea legs cruising along the canal on a self-drive hire that can be rented from Nicols boating office found on Dole’s waterfront

• Visitors who enjoy travelling France by train will enjoy a trip on la Ligne Hirondelles, a 120kilometre-long track that runs from Dole to Saint-Cloude through thick forestry, rolling vineyards and vast plateaux

• Take to the air and admire the town from above, with a sunrise or sunset hot air balloon ride (tel: (Fr) 3 84 82 45 35, www.cameronfrance.com)

EVENTS IN THE JURA

July – Festival Idékik: Actors, performers and musicians put on a lovely festival for children in Moirans-en-Montagne

September – Ceremonie du Biou: A traditional wine festival held during the grape harvest in Arbois

February - Transjurassienne – One of France’s largest cross country ski event taking place in Morez, in the heart of the Jura Mountains