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Eastern France Tourist Information Guide

A study in rural perfection, the Jura and the French Alps in Eastern France are wonderful destinations for touring. The delightful green countryside is broken up by a multitude of picturesque little wine towns, medieval villages and ruined châteaux; a region where good food and wine are a way of life. Visit the renowned wine-producing region of Burgundy, rich in history, or explore the blue lakes and sweeping wooded hills of the Auvergne and Cévennes regions. Eurocamp Independent's guide to Jura and the Alps Tourist Information includes links to the best campsites in the area, with details on Jura tourist attractions and sightseeing in the Alps to make the most of your holiday experience.

Eating out in Eastern France

Jura: why not order a delicious cheese fondue or try the local speciality of Brochette Jurassiene made from cheese cubes wrapped in ham and fried on a skewer.

Alps: Try the Alpine "Tartiflette", a gratin of potatoes, reblochon cheese, onions & bacon. The German influence is strong with ‘Quiche Lorraine’, ‘Tarte à l’Oignon’ (savoury onion tart) and ‘Choucroute Garnie’, pickled cabbage cooked and garnished with various meats and sausages. Cakes to sample are ‘Madeleines’ and ‘Kougelhof’ which includes sponge, with raisins and almonds. Strongly-flavoured cheese from Munster is ranked as one of France’s greatest.

Burgundy - While you are in the region, try gastronomic delights such as Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourgignon, which both originated in Burgundy but are well-known outside France. Or enjoy some more local produce such as green lentil dishes and potée - pork and cabbage hotpot - in the quaint inns. Snails, cooked with parsley and garlic butter, are a favourite first course. An alternative is ‘jambon persillé’, ham with parsley, served up with the famous Dijon mustard plus a selection of mixed pickles and gherkins.

The vineyards of Burgundy stretching from Dijon south to Santenay are amongst the world’s finest wine producing regions. Meursault which is in the heart of the vineyards, provides an ideal starting point for touring the region.

Eastern France Sightseeing

Must see locations and information for tourists visiting Eastern France:

St. Die
Although virtually destroyed at the end of the last war, this beautifully situated town has been rebuilt in quite a remarkable fashion.

A large town surrounded by wooded hills and vineyards. Cheese, clocks, toys and chocolates are all made here and make good souvenirs.

Cascades Du Hérisson
Literally, ‘Hedgehog Falls’. These spectacular falls can be viewed from a picturesque footpath along the Hérisson river.

Lac de Chalain
A beautiful lake surrounded by wooded slopes and gently rolling hills, ideal for fishing and sailing.

A wonderful place to explore Burgundy's wine culture. Vist the "Hospices de Beaune", built in the 15th Century as a hospital for the sick and needy, and now home to a world-famous wine auction. There's an intersting wine museum, and plenty of shops and bistros for a day of pottering through the town's cobbled streets.

The capital of Lower Burgundy built on charming terraces overlooking the River Yonne. The Gothic cathedral of St. Etienne dates from the 13th century.

One of the most remarkable towns in France, full of narrow winding streets and many old houses clinging to the hillside above the deep gorges of the River Dourdou.

This lively town was a pottery making centre in Roman times. It now boasts an impressive viaduct, which stands at 350m high.

Le Puy
The town was once a pilgrimage centre and boasts an impressive Romanesque cathedral. “Son et lumiére” performances are held here in July and August, whilst the “Musée Crozatier” houses an interesting collection of the lacework for which Le Puy is famous.

French Alps places of interest

The Lac d’Annecy is reputedly France’s most beautiful lake and Europe’s purest. The town of Annecy, at the north end of the lake, is full of narrow streets and has many canals, lined with flower bedecked balconies, making it extremely picturesque and is overlooked by an 11th century château. On the lake, there is a steamer, which calls at many lakeside villages such as Talloires, one of the most expensive resorts on the lake and its reputation as the gastronomic centre of the region is reinforced by the number of hotels and restaurants along the waterfront. It is separated from its neighbour, Menthon, also overlooked by a château, by the ‘Roc de Chère’, a wooded rocky promontory.

Chamonix is busy all year round, with skiers during the winter, walkers and climbers in the summer. This is largely a Victorian town, bearing witness to the early, pioneering days of mountaineering. Climbers are now mainly drawn by the technical difficulty of the ‘Aiguilles’, jagged rock needles, rather more comfortably viewed by cable-car, for example to the Aiguille du Midi or the ‘téléphérique du Brevent’. There is also a rack railway up to ‘La Mer de Glace’. Any ascent will be amply rewarded by the truly breathtaking views.

A modern resort which is the base for several good cable-car excursions. The one to La Saulire gives excellent views.

Aix is quite a busy resort, and features the first ever casino. The town hall is in a 16th century château. A visit to the lakeside promenade, and the town’s old quarter are recommended.

Lac d’Aiguebelette
This pretty lake, with its clean waters, is popular with watersports enthusiasts. The western and southern shores are the most accessible and visitors will find a number of pleasant, sandy beaches along the lakeside.

Le Bourg-d’Oisans
A small, lively town, scene of frequent fairs and markets and centre of some of the most attractive scenery in the area. Above Le Bourg d’Oisans is the ski resort of l’Alpe d’Huez, which is reached by a spectacular road of twenty one hairpin bends. From the resort there is a cable-car up to the Pic du Lac Blanc with superb views as far as Mont Blanc and the Massif Central. Summer skiing is possible in the area, if there are suitable weather conditions.

How to get there

Take a crossing to Calais, leaving a drive of around 4 hours to the Champagne region, 6 hours to Burgundy and 8 hours to the Swiss border. Break your journey in Burgundy if you're heading down to the mountains of the Auvergne & Cévennes regions in the Massif Central.

Campsites in Eastern France