French City Break: Dole – France Today | EUROtoday

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A city that appears east and west, and down on the Doubs, Dole is a lot greater than being Louis Pasteur's birthplace.

There are many pussy cats in Dole. They loiter on pavements, their tales curled in direction of the curious vacationer who chooses to stroll town streets. Along Rue de la Sous-Préfecture, a person walks via the exterior wall of a constructing, one shoe on the pavement, the opposite leg raised earlier than touching the bottom. His face, smart-collared neck, and arms are revealed; the remainder of his physique is but to penetrate the stonework. Meanwhile, the pinnacle of a inexperienced horse seems from the attic window of a tall townhouse. Things usually are not what they appear within the metropolis of Dole.

Marcel Aymé, French writer and playwright whose Twentieth-century works, comparable to The inexperienced mare (The Green Mare), The wall go (The Man Who Walked Through Walls) and Tales of the Perched Cat (Tales from the Perched Cat), have grow to be French classics for kids and adults alike, is Dole's vital different. He spent his childhood within the city. A few quiet streets away from Aymé's childhood house is Dole's most notable former resident, Louis Pasteur. The chemist and microbiologist was born slightly over 200 years in the past in an unpretentious tanner's home overlooking one among Dole's waterways, of which there are a number of. An indication within the city describes Pasteur as an 'ambassador' for Dole. Frankly, a scientist who developed vaccines in opposition to anthrax and rabies, originated the method of pasteurization and in so doing has saved hundreds of thousands of lives globally to not point out saving the beer, wine and silk industries in France via his work on microorganisms – deserves extra recognition than 'city ambassador'. He is a world megastar on the planet of science and, it might appear from a go to to the standard little birthplace museum, he knew it. More on that later.

Louis Pasteur's birthplace © Laurent CHEVIET BFC Tourisme

A fascinating city

A border city situated on the sting of two historic areas, Dole sits amid the rolling, pastoral panorama of Franche-Comté (within the Jura division) but its exceptional middle provides the architectural affect of Burgundy – the division of Côte d'Or is just 7km away. The city developed on a small limestone hilltop, as a fortress constructed within the twelfth century by the Holy Roman Emperor Barbarossa to maintain watch over the comings and goings alongside the River Doubs under. Dole turned the capital of Franche-Comté underneath Burgundian rule and latterly underneath Habsburg rule. But the city was within the perpetual eye of the French crown, and Louis XI managed to destroy Dole in 1479.

A golden age of development within the Sixteenth century symbolized a renaissance of the Comté capital in opposition to the French. Following one other unsuccessful French siege, commanded by Henri II de Bourbon-Condé in 1636, the city lastly succumbed to the crown underneath the path of Louis XIV in a ten-year tussle ending in 1678, when Franche-Comté turned a part of France. Dole misplaced its capital standing to close by Besançon which, to at the present time, stays the provincial seat. Despite Dole's lack of political status, its Sixteenth-century renaissance is what guests take pleasure in at this time. Some 116 hectares of the city's streets and parks are protected by conservation legislation.

Dole from its port on the Doubs © Sandrine Baverel / BFC Tourisme

Follow the cat

This City of artwork and historical past is comparatively small, with a inhabitants of fewer than 24,000 residents. One of the very best methods to discover the conservation space is on foot by following the pussy cats. Bronze arrows within the pavements alongside a 4km round route, inscribed by Ayme's Cat perched, direct guests via Dole's streets. A path map may be collected from the vacationer workplace on Place Jules Grévy, providing element about locations to see alongside the way in which. Other cats connected to partitions, with bar codes stamped on their bottoms, enable sensible telephones to select up an historic impression of town.

I start beneath the statue devoted to Louis Pasteur within the picturesque park of Cours Saint-Mauris, to the east of Place Jules Grévy. The 18th-century park, developed on the fortress ramparts and laid out as an English backyard, is labeled a Remarkable Garden. It's a nice place for a stroll, and live shows and occasions happen right here all through summer time.

Pasteur, in bronze, seems on thoughtfully. More poignant are the figures on the foot of his plinth: a mom with a wistful expression nurses two sick kids on her knees and a second feminine factors in direction of Pasteur. With easy registration – Grateful humanity (grateful humanity) – modestly expands on his ambassadorial function for the city. Following the bronze cats into the center of Dole, I saunter alongside the primary thoroughfare that passes east to west, the Rue de Besançon, which was the Roman street from Chalon-sur-Saône to Besançon. Smart mansions and tall townhouses are constructed from creamy limestone blocks beneath red-tiled roofs, each modeling pale grey or off-white shutters.

As I stroll, I notice that the structure is fairly with out being pretentious. There are nice flower-adorned squares with outsized seats to ponder awhile over artworks, such because the Place aux Fleurs the place a big bronze sculpture, The Gossips (The Gossips) by Jens Boettcher, resides.

Along Rue du Collège de l'Arc I spy the flamboyant porch of a Jesuit faculty. I peer into courtyards to understand extraordinary stone staircases, and I study a brand new phrase – tree – that comes from Franche-Comté dialect and means a slender, uncovered alleyway. There are lots of them.

I step away from the path briefly to go to town corridor, solely to find the Jardin des Carmelites reverse. It's springtime and the small courtyard that was as soon as frequented by meditating nuns, is bursting with white cherry blossom, framing the tower of Dole's collegiate church within the distance.
Back on the path, I step into the Musée des Beaux-Arts housed in a former army mess for cavalry officers that's beside part of the fortified city partitions from the Sixteenth century. The museum is free to go to, with exhibitions over three flooring.

Mixed-media artworks from the final couple of many years mingle amongst 18th-century still-life and landscapes. There's a bunch of non secular work, too, together with a rare oil on patterned marble from the Sixteenth century attributed to the Italian School. But the art work that stands out for me, given its correlation, is a big oil portray from 1637, The Siege of Dole in 1636which provides a effective view of the city with its fortress partitions, the Roman street and the Doubs river.

The Gossips statue © MANON LEGROS / BFC TOURISME

Riverside ramble

It's in direction of the river, on a barely winding route, that I head subsequent. Passing ever bigger and grander buildings, just like the Hôtel-Dieu (a hospital for the poor that now homes the city's archives – it's price placing your head contained in the door to see the courtyard), and the previous convent of the Dames d'Ounans which is now a secondary faculty, I arrive on the Doubs.

Its offshoots, the Canal du Rhône au Rhin and the quieter backwater, the Canal des Tanneurs, provide, in my humble opinion, essentially the most scenic views of the historic previous city rising from the water's edge. Head to the Jardin des Chevannes, on an island fashioned by the 2 canals, for the prettiest side, trying over the backs of previous homes that had been as soon as crammed with the sights and smells of the tanning trade. It was right here that Louis Pasteur's father ran his tanning enterprise beneath his waterside residence and right here that the well-known scientist was born and grew up till the household moved to the scenic village of Arbois, 35km southeast.

There's a small exhibition in Pasteur's birthplace, displaying household possessions and an introduction to his work. Of the household trinkets, one notably stands out: a pair of soup bowls that Pasteur commissioned for his granddaughter. On every, a porcelain baby reads a e book about 'nice males'; the e book is open… on the web page about Pasteur!




Lyon Saint-Exupéry (190km) or Geneva (220km) with a practice through Lausanne.


Motorways A36, exit 2; A39, exit 6.


SNCF-TGV Paris-Dole 2hrs 15m, Lyon-Dole 3hrs (through Dijon).


Au Moulin des Ecorces provides 3-star lodging in a superbly renovated previous mill overlooking the River Doubs near the middle. For customary fare, the Ibis Dole Sud Choisey provides clear and useful however bizarre rooms, in the meantime a 4-star possibility is the Château Mont Joly, 5km from Dole city middle. Or, for one thing utterly completely different, keep in a treehouse on the sting of the Chaux forest at Cabanes du Bois Clair. Camping du Pasquier is a five-minute stroll from the city middle.


From France Today Magazine

Lead photograph credit score: Dole from the tower of the Collegiate Notre Dame © Manon_LEGROS__BFC_Tourisme

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French City Break: Dole