Besançon makes for a truly unforgettable stay as a French Art and History-labelled town, and is packed full of fascinating things to see and do. Things to do in Besançon on a budget: our team brings you five unmissable sites to see in the capital of Franche-Comté, and all at very affordable prices.
The hospital building
Following the Pont de la République bridge takes you to the Galerie du Saint-Esprit. The Order of the Holy Ghost ordered the construction of a collection of buildings designed to care for the sick, the poor, orphans and pilgrims in the early 13th century. The tourism office leads guided tours of the building.
Not too far away is the 17th century Saint-Jacques hospital, and just next door is the Notre-Dame du Refuge chapel, built in 1739 by a local architect. It boasts an opulent baroque style, with varnished tiles on its dome forming an incredible mosaic.
Step outside of time
Heading towards the citadel, stop off at the Musée du Temps watch-making museum in the Palais Granvelle, a gorgeous Renaissance monument. A range of guided tours, events, activities and workshops will help you get to the bottom of the intriguing world of time.
Reach for the stars
The Saint Jean cathedral is a 10-minute walk away from the citadel, and has undergone significant change since it was first built in the 12th century. The building is characterised by a rich palette of different styles: a Roman choir and arches, Baroque embellishments, and more. Its astrological clock, furniture and works of art testify to its rich past.
Set off for the citadel perched on the Mont Saint-Étienne! This 17th century building by Vauban offers sweeping views over the town. Three museums can be found here: a natural science museum, the Musée Comtois and the Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation.