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Welcome to Montbéliarde country ! This red and white pied cattle breed is famous mainly for the cheese made from its milk, the delicious Comté! The Montbéliarde will also be our ever present guide as we make our way through the wonderful Jura countryside. A route that takes us through deep, thick conifer forests, where only a few select sun’s rays manage to pierce through, playing games of light and shade with the branches of the trees. Past numerous small lakes, their surface a perfect mirror for the abundant wild flowers that grow on their waters edge. Alongside impossibly rich green meadows that light up the rolling hills of the Jura. Through unspoilt traditional villages and hamlets. And of course to a “fruitière” (cheese dairy) to sample the famous Comté.
Itinerary start: France Bike Trips services begin on day 1 at 9 am at Lons-le-Saunier SNCF railway station. Departure directly from the railway station. Please arrive in your cycle clothing.
From Lons-le-Saunier, one of the two Jura spa towns, we head off on the "PLM" green route which takes the old railway line linking the cities of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. This greenway runs along the vineyards between Perrigny and Conliège, with superb views of the Vallière valley. This gentle ascent of the plateau by the remote Revigny Mountains is punctuated by numerous engineering structures, including the 800m long illuminated Diane tunnel. We then arrive on the plateau which will take us through varied landscapes to the village of Chatillon, a few kilometres from the lake of Chalain, one of the most beautiful in the Jura. A perfect place for a swim and picnic break! We then head on to Champagnole on small country roads. After settling in to our accommodation, a visit to Mr Janin's cheese dairy is highly recommended in order to taste the delicious fruity Comté, an essential ingredient for the aperitif and for the following day's picnic!
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / altitude gain: approx. 550 m
This morning an optional first short loop from Champagnole to visit the Syam site, its Palladian villa and its forges. A treasure trove of neoclassical architecture, built in 1818, the Villa is a unique testimony to the life of the 19th century Maitres des Forges. We then leave Champagnole on a forest bike path. A slight climb allows us to reach the pretty plateau of Revermont. The tranquility of the Montbéliardes cows who graze on these plateaus offers a peaceful atmosphere to this secret range. We then continue our journey towards a village of character and the highlight of our stopover: Château-Chalon. A real winegrower's jewel, on the banks of the Revermont, Chateau-Chalon has given its name to one of the best wines in the world. The village is also classified as one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in France".
Distance covered: approx. 30 km / altitude gain: approx. 250 m
"Syam" option: approx. 15 km / altitude gain: approx. 200 m
This morning, depending on our enthusiasm, we either head along the foot of the belvedere or we head onto the plateau, via the remote Ladoye-sur-Seille. Whichever the route chosen, we're heading for another major landmark of the region. Set in its remote location, the Baume-les-Messieurs site succeeds in bringing together over a few square kilometres a concentration of wonders which we discover by bike. The small village first of all, whose charm has earned it the label "Plus Beau Village de France". Its famous imperial abbey from which the founding monks of Cluny departed. Its caves, discovered in 1610, and thirty million years old, which open onto 500 meters of galleries some 120 meters underground with chambers ranging from 30 to 80 meters high. During rainy weather, its waters form a beautiful waterfall that flows over the tuff formations that seem to come straight out of a fairy tale. A last small effort allows us to climb up over the remote Baume-les-Messieurs. On this return journey, we pass the beautiful castle of Le Pin before reaching the former city of the Princes of Orange, Lons-Le-Saunier. The cycling over, how about a relaxing dip in the salt water thermal baths before your onward journey...?
Level 1: distance covered: approx. 35 km / altitude gain: approx. 450 m
Level 2: distance covered: approx. 45 km / altitude gain: approx. 700 m
Distances and altitude gain are an indication only and may vary.
Itinerary end: France Bike Trips services end on the last day at Lons-le-Saunier SNCF railway station at around 4 pm.
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