En route to our ski holiday in Switzerland, we decided to break the journey by staying in Besançon, in the Jura, for a couple nights. When we were working it was usually a mad dash to reach the Alps. The weather wasn’t good, mostly grey with rain, sleet and snow.
View looking down over the rooftops of the old and new parts of the city.
Our ‘space-age’ hotel
The river by day, and by night…
The Citadelle (click on the link for a video) is perched on top of the city. This is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site’ It was designed by Vauban and is considered to be one of the finest in France. The fortifications cover 11 hectares and lie more than 100 metres above the old town sitting in a loop of the River Doubs. The site is encircled by ramparts topped by walkways, watchtowers and bartizans (wall mounted or overhanging turret). The walls are up to 20 metres high and 5 to 6 metres thick. The Citadelle provides spectacular views over the old town of Besançon and the surrounding hills.
Vauban, with the ‘tools of his trade’ around him.
The zoo looked very, very sad, although in fairness it wasn’t the best time of the year to enjoy exotic species. However, the Citadelle was the home of a Museum of Resistance and Deportation, which was an excellent archive and serves as a tribute to the millions who died and those who tried to bring about the end of the occupation. The displays were harrowing to look at, but even in my worst nightmares I cannot imagine what they were like to live through. No photographs, it just wasn’t seemly to take any, other than that of the memorial.
We’ve travelled through many, many times en route to the Alps, but this was the first time we’d found time to look around the town since 1988. At this time Rhiannon was in a pushchair, and we were heading for Annecy with our caravan. I’d like to visit again.