Via Francigena in the French Jura is an exciting new tour designed to give you a taste of everything the Jura has to offer. It is inspired by the paintings of the artist Gustave Courbet who was born in Ornans and produced many amazing and famous paintings of his local area. We walk in his footstep along sections of the Via Francigena carefully chosen for their spectacular scenery as well as places where Courbet painted. This tour is for those who are an artist at heart. It is led by a highly qualified and experienced artist who will guide your walking path and help you to produce a highly creative Artists Book. In addition, we visit all the historic monuments between Besançon in France and Lausanne in Switzerland. Plus, we walk along the Absinthe Trail and enjoy local French cuisine and wines.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
This is a guided tour staying in 3 star restaurant hotels. Your tour guided will lead you along the walking trails to places suitable for sketching and photography. A driver will then take us to our hotel stopping along the way to visit places of interest. In the evening we dine on local French food and wine.
We meet for lunch by the pool at our hotel in Besançon, France for “Welcome to the Via Francigena in the French Jura” introductions. There are many monuments to visit in Besancon including the UNESCO listed Citadel, the Museum of Time, A Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology, the Cathedral of Saint-John where there is an astronomical clock, and the Roman Porte Noire. After a visit to the main monuments we take a stroll around the Doubs river in the evening for some sketching. Then we become acquainted over evening dinner at our hotel’s poolside restaurant.
We begin our day following the path of the Doubs river as it winds its way through Besançon. Via Francigena VFF45 is a 26 km walk from Besançcon to Foucherans. We are going to walk the very steep first 5 km to La Chapelle des Buis to enjoy the panoramic views and some sketching and photography. Then our driver transports us to our very exciting destination for the evening – Ornans, hometown of the well-known artist Gustave Courbet and the source of many of his famous paintings. After enjoying the local French cuisine for lunch, we visit the Courbet Art Museum. Then we walk in Courbet’s footsteps sketching our way along the river and into to the cemetery made famous by his painting ‘Funeral in Ornans’. In the evening we share the day’s events over a French feast at La Table de Gustave.
Stage VFF44 of the Via Francigena is a 25 km walk from Foucherans to Mouthier-Haute-Pierre. We will walk for about 15 km along the picturesque riverside trail through the villages of Montgesoye, Vuillafans and Lods with many places to stop and sketch along the way. We meet our driver at Lods and travel to Mouthier-Haute-Pierre. This village is situated high on the escarpment with panoramic views from our hotel and the town. We visit the church and nearby museum and our sketching and photography continues. We dine at the hotel in the evening on local French food and wine specialities.
Today we walk about 10 km along the first half of stage VFF46 to the Source of the Loue through extraordinarily spectacular forests winding around the river Loue. We enjoy a lunch break and a sketch at the Source of the Loue. Then we meet our driver and continue on our way stopping at Ouhans and Vuillecin just before Pontarlier, Sigeric’s 57th destination, Pinterlin. There are many interesting sites to visit including the triumphal arch of the Porte Saint-Pierre near our hotel, the historic old town, and the Church of Saint-Bénigne dating to the 10th century. There are many opportunities for sketching in Pontarlier. It is also the home of absinthe and has the landmark Castle of Joux nearby.
The 22 km walk from Pontarlier to Jougne is quite challenging because it completes the climb to the Pass of Jougne at 1010 m. For this day we have an option to walk the whole way or go by car. Either way we visit the Joux Castle for some photography and sketching. Then continue along the Absinthe Trail to Jougne or ‘Antifern’, Sigeric’s stopover 26. It is located high in the Jura surrounded by mountain scenery and a great place to rest in the evening, enjoy some sketching and taste the local food.
Today we leave Jougne for a 10 km walk starting at the Chapel of St Maurice and enjoying our last sample of the Jura mountain countryside. We walk across the Franco-Swiss border under the watchful gaze of grazing. At Bellaigues we walk along the remains of an ancient Roman road. Our journey through the French Jura has ended, we are now in Switzerland and we meet our driver to head to Lausanne. On the way we stop to admire the Roman mosaics at Orbe, Romianmôtier Abbey, and Saint-Sulpice on Lake Geneva. We enjoy the evening watching the sun set over Lake Geneva from Lausanne.
Today our tours ends in Lausanne. After we check out of our hotel If there is time we say goodbye to Lake Geneva, Lausanne Cathedral and the Swiss Alps. We say our fond farewells knowing that we have our Artists Books as a fond remembrance of the Via Francigena in the French Jura!