Doubs, Vallee du
The River Doubs rises in the Jura mountains south-west of Pontarlier and embarks on an erratic course which takes it north-east along the Swiss frontier before doubling back via Besan√ç¬µcon to join the Saône south of Dijon. The most dramatic and beautiful section of its course lies between the town of Montbenoît (on the D437, 10 km north-west of Pontarlier) and Goumois (on the D437A, 53 km south of Montbéliard).
At Montbenoît the river is still a quiet and lazy creature, so take a moment to visit the fine 12th-15thC Ancienne Abbaye with its Gothic cloister and carved stalls. The D437 follows the Doubs downstream, squeezing through narrow, wooded ravines to the town of Morteau, a busy summer tourist centre renowned for its plump pork sausages, Jésus de Morteau, smoked over juniper and pine. The most spectacular Doubs vista is the Saut du Doubs, a 30-m-high waterfall near Villiers-le-Lac, where the turbulent river plunges down in a flurry of white water. As well as boat trips from Villiers, there are various paths into the cool shade of the surrounding beech and pine woods.
Another stunning view point, though not of the Doubs, is the Roche du Prêtre (12 km north of Morteau via D461), a rocky outcrop above the Cirque de Consolation. Down in the bowl of this wooded amphitheatre, a 17thC abbey opens its park to infrequent visitors.