Thanks to a long history of relations between France and Germany, this picturesque town of Dole is primarily made up of attractive German architecture, with an impressive selection of accommodation to house the many visitors received throughout the year. However, the many shopping and selection of dining options available throughout the town still retain the creativity and variety that you would expect from France
Despite its sad-sounding name, Dole is a picturesque town that was once the capital of Burgundy before Louis XIV took away its title and brought it under French control. As a result, much of the architecture says Germany rather than France, and hotels are no exception. Le Chalet du Mont Roland (Le Mont Roland, Sampans) wouldn’t look out of place in Gstaad, while La Chaumière (346 avenue du Maréchal Juin) looks thoroughly Bavarian. Just outside of town, Hôtel Fernoux Coutenet (10 rue Barbière) in Rochefort-sur-Nenon is a lovely, quiet spot.
Dole’s best boutiques are clustered in the tiny side streets surrounding the Gothic Notre Dame de Dole cathedral and include all of the typical French shops: patisseries overflowing with freshly baked baguettes and pain aux raisins, neat butchers festooned with quirky cuts, and smoke-stained cafés with Formica bars and strong cups of coffee. There are also some seriously pricey jewellery shops on Rue de Besançon including Bijouterie Schwartzman (45 rue de Besançon), as well as a regular market which opens on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. For those who don’t fancy getting up early, it also does a roaring trade on Friday afternoons.
Tucked away on the Swiss border, Franche-Comté, of which Dole is part, does preserves like it means it, with wheels of rich yellow cheese, smoky terrines and bottled summer fruit forming the backbone of the local diet. Get stuck in at La Romanée (13 rue des Vieilles Boucheries), which is set in an 18th-century former butcher’s shop and does some of the best cured meat in France. For something lighter, try Bouchon Le Grévy (2 avenue Eisenhower), which specialises in light, bistro-type fare. Well worth the drive is the Château du Mont Joly (6 rue du Mont Joly) in nearby Sampans, where you’ll find classic French fare and toothsome desserts served up in imposing surroundings.
La Percée du Vin Jaune
Quite literally translated as ‘the piercing of the yellow wine’, the event brings oenophiles from all over Europe to the nearby town of Arbois for the privilege of being one of the first to taste the area’s famous mineral-tasting brew.
Cirque et Fanfares
This popular two-day event sees over 50 brass bands from all over the world compete in a ‘Brass Band World Cup’ to be voted best brass band by the public. Expect plenty of music, theatre, food, parades and fireworks.
A fabulous event that sees more than 30 colourful hot-air balloons take to the skies above the city in a rainbow bright flotilla. Evening brings a sound and light show starring the gently glowing aircraft.
Dole’s summer celebrations sees its streets transformed into bustling outdoor theatres thanks to alfresco performances from local and international bands – most of whom seem to specialise in jazz or folk.
You’ll need a strong liver to survive Absinthiades – a festival dedicated to Toulouse-Lautrec’s favourite tipple. Held in the nearby town of Pontarlier where absinthe was invented, celebrations include tastings and cabaret shows.