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Besançon occupies an important position, and was historically a key stop on several major European trade routes. Its importance lead to both wealth, comfort and the development of a rich culture - Besançon was home to France's first ever public museum! This isn't a well known tourist town, but it has one of France's most beautiful town centres and you're surrounded by the Jura foothills and the green valleys of the River Doubs. The best places to stay in Besançon are within, or close to the elegant 18th Century old town and the impressive citadel.
The citadel is positioned so as to block the neck of the oxbow bend in the river, where the town sits, so as well as its military uses, it's also a great spot for surveying Besançon and its surrounds. The town changed hands multiple times between the 14th and 17th Centuries, so the citadel was a necessity. Besançon was actually founded by the Romans, and you can still see Roman ruins in the centre of town. Its other visitor attractions include its cathedral and museums, and of course just strolling the gently, pedestrianised streets and enjoying the local Comte cheeses and local smoked sausages.
These days Besançon is probably best known for its university, and for being the birthplace of Victor Hugo.
- The Hotel le Sauvage is an elegant hotel converted from a former monastery located just 500 metres from the wall of the citadel. It's a lot more glamorous than it sounds, with marble bathrooms and plush fabrics, and there's a charming bar and terrace.
Best Hotels in Besançon
Hotel le Sauvage 24 rooms from $96Besançon
An elegant hotel set in a former monastery. Rooms feature wooden floors, plush drapes and marble bathrooms. Charming bar area and balcony terrace. Just 500 metres from citadel walls, with many restaurants and sights close by. A chic choice for a break filled with discovery.Local exploring - A place rich with sights and adventures, especially the fortifications of Vauban and wide choice of outdoor activitiesSights nearby - Victor Hugo's HouseKayaking - On the river DoubsSailing - Can be booked nearby.