Site de l'université de Franche-Comté
IUT 25-70

Around the Franche-Comté

Here are a few comments about the region and the city of Besançon (these comments are the personal views of students)

The region

The town



Opening times





The region

The region is situated relatively close to many important cities :

  • Paris : 2.5 hours by train
  • Lyon : 2.5 hours by train
  • Dijon : 1 hour by train
  • Strasbourg : 2.75 hours by train
  • Geneva, Switzerland : 4 hours by train
  • Freiburg, Germany: 4 hours by train

Towns such as Dole, Mulhouse, Montbeliard, Belfort, Vesoul and Lons le Saunier are smaller but enable you to enjoy the region without travelling too far.


The Town

A notable difference between Besançon and other towns, is that most habitants here actually like the town and living here.


Habitants :

Generally, most of the international inhabitants tend to be students at the IUT or CLA, so it is easy enough to meet French locals in order to practise your French! People tend to be welcoming towards students as-well, unlike the anti-student atmosphere that you can find in many other towns.


 Not too small, not too big !


It is big enough to ensure that you spend a few days or weeks getting lost on a regular basis, but small enough to meet people you know when going around town.


Style :

Besançon's town centre is very pretty and very French, with the river Doubs running through it. It has a lot of history which means there are lots of old walls and ruins and the Citadelle to take up a rainy day if you wish.



There are lots of shops in the town centre where you are likely to find most things you need. If shopping is your thing, there is a large shopping complex; Château-Farine, a bus ride away.

  • TIP : The 'Carte Avantage' allows you discounts in a small number of shops in the town centre and also at the 'Château-Farine' complex


There many museums if you want to get a bit of culture. The Citadelle alone has about 5 museums, including a zoo, insectarium and other such childhood delights.

  • TIP : Student discount alert ! Use the 'Carte Avantage' to get free entrance to the Citadelle too.

Opening times

Shops :

The usual opening hours are 9am-7pm Monday - Saturday for most shops in the town centre and supermarkets.

There is a flea market every other Sunday but otherwise Sundays are very much the day of rest !


Bars :

Good news for those who enjoy a drink : the bars close at 1am, Monday-Thursday and 2am Friday-Sunday !

  • TIP : Make sure you have got food for Sunday as you are unlikely to find any shops open.
  • INFO: Banks close for dinner (12-2pm approx.), close at 6pm and are also closed on Mondays.


Buses : (Ginko)

Besançon was voted the 'Greenest' town in France partly due to its anti-polluting bus service. Buses are regular and the timetables are easy to understand. Look at the TIPS section for information about prices.

  • TIP : The last bus from the town centre to the Bouloie campus is 12.05am - ATTENTION !

Taxis :

Taxis are generally a problem after dark as there aren't enough of them to provide for everybody coming out of the bars at the same time. Call ahead to get one to pick you up from Centre Ville.

  • TIP : If you are stopping at the Bouloie and hope to get a Taxi back after midnight, it is a good idea to book it at least 10 minutes before last orders, to avoid waiting for a long time outside.

Trains :

The train station is approximately 10-15 minutes walk from the town centre and provides regular regional links such as Dijon, Dole, Lons le Saunier as-well as direct routes to Paris and Marseilles.

  • TIP : Use the SNCF web-site for timetables and fares instead of going all the way to the train station; or Alternatively, ticket machines can be found at the "Bouloie" campus or in "La Fayette" shop in the town centre.

INFO : The SNCF staff tend to have strikes on a regular basis. Make sure you check the "state-of-affairs" out first, if it imperative that you catch a certain train.



Bars and Cafés :

There are lots of small bars and cafés, including the reliable lively Irish pub in which you will only find French people working ! Live music can be found in the Bar de L'U, Madlyne's and the Cremerie, there are enough bars to spend several weeks discovering them all.

The Café de l'Université has special deals for students as well as having theme nights several nights a week. The ERASMUS night there is a good way to meet lots of other international students on Tuesdays, as is a visit to the 'Pub d'Etoile' though you may find it harder to meet French students here.


INFO : Closing time in the bars is 1am Monday-Thursday and 2am during the Friday-Sunday.


Clubs :

Usually in France, clubs aren't found in town centres but a short car journey away. Luckily, the 2 clubs in Besançon are only at the other side of the town centre but require a lift or sturdy pair of legs to get to !

Drinks, as in most clubs in France, are ridiculously expensive but the atmosphere is student-friendly and gives you a chance you swing your pants to French and International music.

  • TIP : The entrance fee is about 10€ but keep an eye out for student nights or take your student card with you, as you may be entitled to cheaper entrance before a certain time.


Winters tend to be quite cold and very similar to those in England. Summer is relatively hot but that depends on where you’re coming from! The Besançon web-site links give you specific details and also the current weather conditions.