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davidx Rennes-sur-Loue - A travel report by David
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Rennes-sur-Loue,  France - flag France -  Franche-Comte
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davidx's travel reports

Restful Rennes-sur-Loue in delectable Doubs

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‘Best’ is not a favourite word related to travel so I’ll just say I have never been happier in any area of France than here, camping with my wife and daughter. We were on our way to Jura Department but when you have to stop, you really have to stop.

Of course I like magnificence in scenery: high mountains, mighty rivers with prodigious gorges, huge waterfalls and the like. Magnificent, prodigious and huge are words that have now appeared for the last time in this report. The only things that call for superlative adjectives in the Departement of Doubs are the sources of rivers and some cirques; for their size, no, but certainly for sheer beauty. So where are we? We re in the region of Franche-Comte in Eastern France, bordering Switzerland, south of Alsace and north of the Rhone-Alpes region. www.franche-comte.or g/defaut_anglais.htm Within Franche-Comte, Doubs is the central departement, going from north to south. You’ll find Rennes-sur-Loue easily on ‘Multimap’. I’ll say more about it under accommodation. OK, so there are the Doubs river itself and the Loue but that’s by no means all! The Lison, the Dessoubre and the Hérrison rivers may well be completely unknown to you [they were to me] but they all have some delightful scenery. For all five there is everything to be said for finding the source, all picturesque. Other than Besançon and perhaps Dole, you’re unlikely to have heard of the towns. However some don’t lack interest; Arbois, wine capital of the area [good though little known]. Salins-les-Bains, [where the salt works are closed] has a good open-air museum and underground salty things worth seeing and Arc-et-Senans represents an incomplete model village of the 18th C with 11 buildings around the manager’s house and workshops in a perfect semi-circle – unique in my experience, again based on salt. Dole doesn’t fit in conveniently elsewhere. Not too famous today, it was the ancient capital of the Comte and has a fine mediaeval town centre. We only saw it briefly on our way home and wished we’d visited for longer. The Doubs, in this section is canalised and forms part of the canal linking the Rhone with the Rhine. http://web10361.tabn-et.vwh.n et/en/fc/ju_dole.htm-l#activities

Favourite spots:
The Cirque de Consolation is in a deeply forested area There is a smashing view from La Roche du Prêtre over the source of the pretty Dessoubre.. We watched of peregrine falcons flying alongside the cliffs. Footpaths everywhere; some exciting, some easy, all scenic. The Cirque du Fer à Cheval is where the two sources of the Cuisance are to be found . This Cirque justifies a metal guardrail with roughly two hundred metres drop from this point. The Cirque de Ladoye lies between this and that of Baume. Its proximity to the road, near the junction of the D96 and D5 perhaps makes it seem somewhat less impressive than the previous two. Even so it is a pretty fabulous view. Proximity of a road doesn’t detract from the finest of them all, the Cirque de Baume . The view down the valley from the Belvédère des Roches de Baume is simply terrific and the road down to the village is a delight for the whole way. Leave best part of an hour to look around the little village and the Abbaye.

What's really great:
The Loue is at its most scenic from its source to Ornans. For the source the D443 gives access to a car park from which it is about half an hour on foot. The river appears from the mouth of a cave low down on the cliffs. After returning along the D443, it is worth turning right and right again on the D376. This is a cul-de-sac but it provides superb viewpoints. Then return to the true right bank. Again there are excellent viewpoints from the D67. You will pass through the villages of Mouthier-Haute-Pierr-e and Dobs. The former has an upper part with another exquisite viewpoint as well as a part at riverside level and Dobs [pronounced roughly like the note doh] is a pretty village with small, canoeable [by some!] rapids. Neither of them, however, is as striking as Ornans. There are houses reaching right down to the water on both sides of the river so that the bridge is a splendid place to look out. The Courbet Museum marks the fact that Ornans was his birthplace.

The Lison is quite a short river and joins the Loue downriver a bit from Ornans. Again its source must be seen. It bursts out over rapids from a cave and is exceedingly picturesque. It is a short river but it is worth seeing as much of it as possible.
Although less of a spectacle, the Cuisance has two sources, Grande and Petite of which the Grande is the better.
The Loue is itself a tributary of the Doubs, whose source isn’t quite in the same league as the Loue or the Lison, though in many stretches it’s well up to standard.
Les Cascades de Hérisson are something else, where very few overseas tourists penetrate. Why, I cannot imagine. It is beautiful, impressive and manageable.
The little river Hérisson is born from several lakes in the Haut Jura and then, in a finely forested area, it plunges down nearly 300 metres in a distance of some 3½ kilometres. In doing this it passes over no fewer than 31 waterfalls, the largest two having a drop of about 60 metres

Camping a la Ferme, Rennes-sur-Loire [phone 03 81 63 78 29]

This was a delightful site, right alongside the Loue. My daughter and I enjoyed some swims in the river. There was plenty of room in each emplacement. The toilet blocks with their hot showers were more than adequate and there were washing and drying facilities for clothes.
There was a possibility of B&B in the house at a very reasonable price. The owners also serve meals in a small dining room. Vegetables, whether cooked or in salads, are mostly home grown.
Not many, even of the campers, seem to look around the village. There is a private chateau from the 18th and 19th century and remains of an older fortified building. The chateau appears to have been built for a major state figure with some supervisory role over the salt production at Salins. The village shouts of having a history. There are old buildings, which may well have been domestic/industrial. One has what is apparently an old winch outside.

Other recommendations:
Besançon’s proximity to Switzerland might be a partial explanation of the part played by clock-making in its history. It’s not a place i should advise going a lot out of your way for but the Citadel, one of Vauban’s achievements, is certainly worth the walk up. The other major appeal is the astronomical clock in the belltower of the cathedral.
It’s a pleasant place with plenty of parkland and open area. Perhaps the weather contributed to my half-heartedness – or perhaps I just wanted to get back to the peace of the countryside.

Some good pictures: of the Loue [not Rennes] on m/en/fc/do_loue.html
of the Doubs and the falls of Herisson on m/en/fc/na_wf.html#saut-du-doubs
source of Lison on rance/photos.php?photo_id=393

Published on Thursday March 17th, 2005

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Fri, Mar 18 2005 - 07:00 AM rating by rangutan

Fantastic description, wish there were some pictures, I know not always possible... Courageous this and inspiring to authors!

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