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L'Échapée Jurassienne - Itinerary to the most spectacular sites in the French Jura

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L'Échapée Jurassienne is one of the longest rambling/trekking circuits in France, 300 km, and is the best way to discover the French Jura and the most spectacular sites. To cover the whole circuit from Dole to Saint-Claude, passing through Les Rousses, you will need to prepare 16 days of trekking. In one direction or the other, in part or in full, choose your own circuit to suit you abilities or needs.

A historical escape

The first part of the circuit is a 'warm-up' section that enables a gentle start to the circuit. Set in a heritage and cultural  background, the circuit will take you through the French Jura history, starting in Dole, an Arts and History town, La Forêt de Chaux and the lumberjack dwellings, and finally the salt mines in Arc-et-Senans and Salins-les-Bains, the latter two classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Salins-les-Bains is a recognised spa town with natural salt water.

A gastronomy circuit

The Échappée Jurassienne continues into the French Jura vineyards, also known as the 'Revermont' (on the hillside). The landscape starts to change after the first three days, and the French Jura appears with different scenery and spectacular viewpoints. The circuit goes through all of the nicest places such as the steephead valley in Baume-les-Messieurs and Les-Planches-près-Arbois, a village labelled 'Village de charactère', also known as 'Petite Cités Comtoise de Charactère', 'Plus beaux Villages de France', and 'Villages Vignerons', all offer a welcomed stopover to enjoy the local specialities and French Jura wines. The circuit is varied and quite demanding in places, sometimes offering the ideal challenge for the fittest and healthiest. Once in Lons-le-Saunier, a rest is assured at the spa centre and a well deserved visit to the 'Maison de la Vache qui Rit'.

Escape into the wilderness

Over the last section of the circuit, water abounds in a multitude of locations, lakes, Lac de Chalain, Les 4 Lacs, Bellefontaine, Les Rousses, spectacular waterfalls, Cascades du Hérisson and the sequential waterfalls, Haute Vallée de la Saine and the Gorges de la Langouette. The Haut-Jura Natural Regional Park is home to a wide selection of specific fauna and flora. After 14 days of trekking, the circuit ends at the Les Rousses ski resort, 'Station des 4 Villages', for a warm welcome and a deserved rest. The circuit can continue for another 2 days if you wish, to Les Hautes Combes and down to Saint-Claude to the SNCF train station, for a return to Dole on the 'Lignes des Hirondelles' track through unseen landscapes.

 

 

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