According to Topschoolsintheusa, the French department of Jura is part of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, in the eastern part of France near the border with Switzerland. The Jura department roughly follows the shapes of the Jura mountain range, although parts of the mountain range are located in Switzerland and the Jura wine region falls completely within the borders of the department. The region is best known for its cheeses – of which the Comté is the best known – and the Jura wine. The Jura is the smallest wine region of France. Special wines are produced from lesser-known grape varieties. The most famous wine from the Jura is the Vin Jaune, a yellow wine that has been aged for more than six years in wooden barrels.
The rolling landscape of the Jura with its green deciduous forests makes the area one of the most popular regions for an active holiday in France. You can take beautiful long walks through the woods and the long stretches of roads are perfect for a nice bike ride. Along the way you will come across all kinds of nice villages and historical sights. One of the most beautiful walks in the Jura is along the waterfalls of Hérisson, during this walk you will come across a total of seven waterfalls. In the Jura you can find an entry on the UNESCO World Heritage List, that is the saltworks of Baume-les-Messieurs. The capital of the Jura is Lons-le-Saunier, a famous spa town.
Top 10 things to do in Jura
The town of Arboisis one of the most beautiful and fun places in the Jura. The town, which is mainly known for its quality wines and because Louis Pasteur spent a large part of his life there, should not be missed during a holiday in the Jura. In the historic center of Arbois are several historical sights. Think of the Eglise Saint-Just and Pécauld Castle. The river Cuisance meanders through Arbois, during a walk through Arbois you will have to cross a bridge several times where you can see the river flowing past several waterfalls. In Arbois there are several tasting rooms where you can taste the local wine.
Champagnole is a nice little town in the heart of the Jura. Its strategic location makes it an ideal base to explore the other parts of the Jura. Just outside the town is a large campsite on the River Ain, which is popular with the Dutch. Champagnole has a small historic center dominated by the shopping street. Special in this shopping street is Relais du Fume, a shop that specializes in smoked and dried meats. In and around the center of Champagnole you will come across a striking number of murals.
#3. Herisson Falls
The Cascades du Hérisson or the waterfalls of Hérisson are, in our opinion, the most beautiful natural attraction of the Jura. The seven waterfalls, two of which have a height of more than sixty meters, are a special natural phenomenon. What makes the Hérisson falls so special is that a path runs alongside it. During the walk you will have to overcome quite a few altimeters and if you choose an alternative path you will even walk under a waterfall for a while. The walk there and back to the highest point, from the parking lot, will take anywhere from three to four hours.
Baume-les-Messieurs is one of the most beautiful villages in France. The beautifully situated village in a valley is one of two villages in the Jura that can be found on the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Baume-les-Messieurs has a long and eventful history that begins with the construction of an abbey in the sixth century. The Abbey of Cluny was founded from this abbey and would become one of the most influential in Europe. After the French Revolution, the monastery was stripped of its religious function and sold. Yet this monastery still forms the base of Baume-les-Messieurs and is a must-see in the village.
Salins-les-Bains is a village in the Jura, best known for its historic saltworks. This saltworks, together with the Arc-et-Senans seedling, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. According to some historical sources, salt has been mined in this area for nine thousand years. The springs are now no longer used as a seedling plant, but as a health resort. Some parts of the old seedlings can still be visited. The highlight of a visit to Salins-les-Bains are the underground passages that were once used to connect the saltwater springs. The town hall dates from the seventeenth century and the defenses from the fifteenth century.
Lons-le-Saunier is one of the larger towns in the Jura and the prefecture (capital) of the department. It is an ancient city that was already popular with the Romans for its warm saltwater springs. The Lons-le-Saunier thermal springs are still popular with tourists as a spa town. The salt found at these springs was one of the main sources of income of the Jura for centuries. The wealth that this entailed can still be seen in the streets of Lons-le-Saunier, such as seventeenth-century houses with arcades, a watch tower and a museum of fine arts.
#7. More from Vouglans
The Vouglans reservoir has a length of thirty kilometers and an average width of eight hundred meters. This makes it the third largest artificial lake in France. The water in the lake is held back by the one hundred and thirty meter high Vouglans dam. The water of Lake Vouglans has a striking turquoise color which makes it extra noticeable in the green landscape of the Jura. There are three landscaped beaches along the lake. In these places you can swim and sail on and in the lake.
Château-Chalon is one of the prettiest villages in the Jura and one of the best and most acclaimed wine regions in the Jura. Like many villages in the region with historical origins, Château-Chalon is built on top of a hill and is only accessible by road. This used to protect the village from enemy attacks. Due to the unique location of the village, you have a fantastic view from several places over the lower parts of the Jura, which are full of vines here. Château-Chalon is a real wine village, where you can sample the local wines in various places during a tasting or an extensive dinner.
Nozeroy is an old medieval town that has retained its authentic charm over time. It was once one of the most powerful places in this part of France, the Princes of Orange even had a castle built there. Nozeroy owed its prosperity mainly to the salt production that took place in the area. The higher isolated location ensured that Nozeroy – part of the Duchy of Burgundy – was protected from attacks by France and other enemies. In Nozeroy you can still find a large part of the historic city wall and two old city gates. The main attraction is the Eglise Sint-Antonius de Nozeroy.
#10. Chateau d’Arlay
The Château d’Arlay is located on a hill overlooking the village of Arlay. The current castle was built at the end of the eighteenth century on the remains of a nunnery built in 1650. The castle is still inhabited by the Earl of Arlay, but part of the castle is open to the public. During this visit you will come across beautiful period rooms. The highlight of a visit to Château d’Arlay are the beautiful gardens where the remains of a tenth-century castle can be seen. A visit to the castle is of course concluded with a wine tasting of the wines made in the castle.