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Relaxation, Architecture Part of Journey to this French Sanctuaire Founded in 1086

Friday, March 5th, 2010

The Sanctuaire is one of the most ancient in the region. Enclosed by its own park with a forest nearby, it is the epitome of a relaxing locale. Built in 1086 by the Benedictine Order, the complex was destroyed in 1636. At the beginning of the 18th century, the church was demolished and then reconstructed. Designed by a famous architect, it was completed in 1859 and is highlighted by a rose window.

The region’s capital of Besancon is one of the finest provincial cities in France. Of Gallo-Roman origin it was an archiepiscopal see from the 5th century. Enclosed in a horseshoe bend of the river Doubs, it is a site so striking that Julius Caesar described it in The Gallic War. The town is full of fine houses representing all periods including structures in Spanish Renaissance style, notably the Palais Granvelle and the striking town hall. The famous military architect Sebastien Vauban designed the fortifications and citadel. The citadel houses the Musee de la Resistance et de la Deportation which relates the compelling account of the civilian struggle against Nazi occupation and the mass transportation of French Jews and others to concentration camps.

The entire Franche-Comte region is known for clock and watch making and Besancon is no exception. One marvelous example is the Horloge Astronomique, an ingenious astrological clock in the 12th century Cathedral St. Jean. It features sixty-two dials and numerous animated figures.

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