A famous motto in this eastern French region is “Comtois rends toi! Nenni ma foi!”, “Comtois, surrender! Not on your life!”. And this phrase alone gives you a sense of the landscape and the violent history of the place, where conflict was a part of life up to the mid-20th century.
So it’s no shock that the region is scattered with historic forts and monuments commemorating feats of bravery.
The countryside is just as untameable, with soaring steephead valleys and numerous lakes and waterfalls to discover.
This region was also the birthplace of the likes of Louis Pasteur, Victor Hugo and Gustave Courbet, giants of French culture and science.
Lets explore the best things to do in France-Comté:
1. Citadelle de Besançon
The 17th-century military mastermind Vauban designed this citadel high on Mount Saint-Etienne.
Vauban took even the smallest details into account, like building the parapets from brick instead of limestone because its fragments were less deadly after a blast.
It’s been a UNESCO site since 2008, and the walk up from the rest of the city isn’t to be taken lightly.
Once you’re atop the walls though, the sight of the Doubs River and the hilly landscape will make you glad you made the effort, and you can go where your curiosity leads, whether it’s the 132-metre well, the ramparts or gun towers.
Kids will adore the animal enclosures, including kangaroos and lions, and there’s a fine museum about the French Resistance.