Jura

Living France - - Destination -

Mai­son du Parc in the vil­lage of La­joux from 3-4 Septem­ber.

With lush forested moun­tains and fer­tile val­leys, this breath­tak­ing part of the depart­ment is an un­pol­luted na­ture haven where flora and fauna thrive. Among the var­ied wildlife you might spot here are chamois, lynx and ca­per­cail­lie, a type of large grouse.

The area ex­udes a feel­ing of space and calm. Small vil­lages and Swiss-style wooden chalets dot a land­scape which is mostly agri­cul­tural and in­hab­ited by those who seek a ru­ral re­treat far from the pres­sures of city life. Some ham­lets are so re­mote they don’t have mains wa­ter; in­stead the large roofs cap­ture and chan­nel rain­wa­ter which is then fil­tered for wash­ing and clean­ing.

Moun­tain mead­ows teem with wild­flow­ers in the sum­mer months; the most no­tice­able is the gen­tian flower, a tall ro­bust plant with yel­low flow­ers whose roots are used to make a lo­cal liqueur, liqueur de gen­tian, a thick con­coc­tion drunk mostly by hardy lo­cals and un­wit­ting tourists.

These lush green val­leys are home to the re­gion’s fa­mous Mont­béliarde cows – the only breed al­lowed to make the fa­mous Comté cheese. The area is home to 200 fruitières (co-op­er­a­tives) that use tra­di­tional meth­ods to pro­duce Comté cheese be­tween March and Septem­ber.

Dur­ing au­tumn and win­ter, the cow’s milk is used to make Vacherin cheese, also AOC-cer­ti­fied, and used to make fondu and raclette – a pop­u­lar moun­tain dish in which melted cheese is poured over pota­toes.

TOWNS AND VIL­LAGES

The out­stand­ing nat­u­ral beauty of Jura isn’t the only string to its bow. The depart­ment is home to a num­ber of his­toric towns and vil­lages. Jura’s largest town is Dole, a des­ig­nated ville d’art et d’his­toire sit­u­ated on a hill­side over­look­ing the River Doubs. With nar­row wind­ing streets dat­ing back to the 15th cen­tury, the Old Town is cen­tred around the mag­nif­i­cent Baroque col­le­giate church of Notre-Dame. The Musée des Beaux-Arts is also worth a visit and houses a col­lec­tion of mainly French paint­ings from the 15th to the 20th cen­tury.

South of Dole is de­part­men­tal cap­i­tal Lons-le-Sau­nier, a spa town that sits be­tween the River Bresse and the moun­tains. The town boasts a good se­lec­tion of restau­rants, pretty ar­caded

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