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Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, often abbreviated as BFC, is an eastern region of France formed through the 2014 territorial reform, merging Burgundy and Franche-Comte. Established on January 1, 2016—after the December 2015 regional elections—it comprises 8 departments and spans an area of 47,783 square kilometers, with a population of 2,811,423 as of 2017. While Dijon serves as its prefecture and largest city, the Regional Council convenes in Besançon, distinguishing Bourgogne-Franche-Comte as one of the two regions in France, alongside Normandy, where the prefecture and regional council are located in different cities.[2] In terms of geography, the easternmost part of the Franche-Comte area is covered by Haut-Jura Regional Natural Park, offering numerous hiking and winter sports opportunities.[9] A considerable part of the Burgundy area is represented by the Morvan Regional Natural Park. With its varying landscapes of forests, hedgerows, and rivers, the Morvan region presents considerable natural heritage.[6] The capital city of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, located in the northern part of the area on the route from Paris to Lyon, is Dijon. With its considerable history, Dijon showcases various cultural landmarks, which tend to be visited by tourists. Today, Dijon's city center, together with the Climats of Burgundy vineyard, is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.[7]

What Bourgogne-Franche-Comte is known for

From the Morvan Natural Park's lakes to the rugged peaks of the Haut-Jura Natural Park, the Burgundy-Franche-Comte region offers an array of landscapes and nature, whether visitors prefer exploring on foot, horseback, caravan, canoe, boat, or motorcycle. With 1,000 kilometers of canals in Burgundy, the plateau of 1,000 ponds in Haute-Saône, the Hérisson waterfalls in the Jura, and some cultural landmarks such as Mont Beuvray, Mont d'Or and Roche de Solutré, the region offers a variety of attractions to be explored. Additionally, several spa resorts, including Luxeuil-les-Bains, Bourbon-Lancy, Salins-les-Bains, Lons-le-Saunier, and Saint-Honoré-les-Bains can be found within Bourgogne-Franche-Comte as well. In terms of historical heritage, the region showcases the hospices of Beaune, the Châteaux of Guédelon and Clos de Vougeot, the Palace of the Dukes and States in Dijon, the ancient remains of Alésia and Bibracte, the Lion of Bartholdi in Belfort. Moreover, several sites, such as the Cistercian abbey of Fontenay and the Basilica of Vézelay, are recognized by UNESCO for their cultural significance.[8]

Dijon, the capital of Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, is known for its cultural heritage. Designated as a "City of Art and History," its 97-hectare protected area, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, includes the Climats of Burgundy vineyard. The city's historical center, free of vehicles, showcases medieval architecture such as half-timbered houses, Romanesque and Gothic churches, and 17th- to 18th-century mansions, reflecting its past as the capital of the Dukes of Burgundy. The Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, with its Tower of Philip the Good, offers panoramic views of the city, while the city also houses the Beaux-Arts Museum, featuring a collection of 1,500 art pieces. Dijon is also known for its local gastronomy, including mustard, snails, and crème de cassis.[7]

In terms of natural destinations, Haut-Jura Regional Natural Park is found in the eastern part of the Franche-Comte area, encompassing the highest peaks of the Jura chain, such as Crêt de la Neige and Reculet. The park is characterized by its diverse landscapes, from the Grande Rivière region to the thermal areas of Divonne-les-Bains. There are also the Highlands, including Chapelle-des-Bois and Giron, which are visited for Nordic skiing and mountain biking, offering views of the Jura Mountains. Moreover, the Pays de Gex offers ski resorts and cultural attractions such as Fort l'Écluse and Voltaire's castle.[9]

Another natural protected area within Bourgogne-Franche-Comte is Morvan Regional Natural Park, covering the Burgundy part of the region. In the Auxois countryside of this natural area lies Fontenay Abbey, a preserved Cistercian abbey designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This location showcases Roman architecture complemented by gardens, offering visitors a nature retreat. Exploring the abbey reveals a complete ensemble of structures essential for monastic life, including a church, cloister, refectory, dormitory, bakery, and forge, showcasing the Cistercian setting from the 12th century. Despite nine centuries of history, the abbey remains intact, with its white and ochre-colored stones contrasting with its natural surroundings.[11]


Bourgogne-Franche-Comte is an eastern region of France established through the 2014 territorial reform resulting from the fusion of Burgundy and Franche-Comte. Encompassing an area of 47,783 square kilometers and consisting of 8 departments, the region had a population of 2,811,423 as of 2017.[2] The Franche-Comte part of the region is characterized by the presence of the Jura Mountains, primarily covered by forests, with the upper Saône River basin extending into the Jura area. Reportedly, the area's population density is low, with a decline observed over the years due to industrial restructuring and job cuts. Despite its industrial importance, the region maintains its rural identity, with agriculture centered on animal husbandry, particularly in mountainous areas. Milk production is utilized to make butter and cheeses such as Comté and Emmentaler. Furthermore, cereal cultivation predominates in lowland regions, alongside beef and dairy cattle farming. Fruit and wine production is developed in foothill areas. Outdoor recreational opportunities are present in the Jura Mountains and southern Vosges, primarily attracting those who enjoy hiking, mountaineering, and skiing.[1] 

The other part of Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, Burgundy, links the Paris Basin and the Saône River corridor, presenting a diverse physical landscape. Burgundy encompasses various terrains, from the undulating lowlands of the Paris Basin in the northwest to the plateaus of Jurassic origin stretching across the region. These plateaus encircle the crystalline uplands of Monan and Charolais, intersected by river valleys that shape an essential watershed. While the Loire and Seine rivers flow northward to the Atlantic Ocean, the Saône River leads to the Rhône and Mediterranean. The local agriculture includes beef and dairy cattle farming which are prevalent in different regions, alongside cereal farming and wine production in districts such as Beaune and Nuits.[4]

Concerning local protected natural area, the Morvan Regional Natural Park lies nestled within the Burgundy-Franche-Comte region, encompasses the Morvan massif, and spans across four departments: Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire, Yonne, and Côte-d'Or. It comprises 137 member municipalities and 3 gateway towns. Situated between the Bazois and Auxois depressions to the west and north and the plains of Charolais and Autunois to the south and east, the park covers an area of approximately 290,900 hectares, representing about 9% of Burgundy's total land area. With its diverse ecosystem of forests, hedgerows, and rivers, the Morvan region presents considerable natural heritage. However, the park faces challenges such as water pollution, hedge removal, and declining deciduous forests, threatening its biodiversity.[6]

Regarding the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region's climate, the months of May, June, and September in Dijon generally offer weather conditions with moderate average temperatures ranging between 20°C and 26°C. July tends to be the warmest month, reaching an average maximum temperature of 27°C. Conversely, January is usually the coldest month, with an average maximum temperature of 7°C. Regarding precipitation, the wettest month in Dijon is most commonly November, recording approximately 96 millimeters of rainfall. In contrast, March holds the distinction of being the driest month, with precipitation levels averaging around 71 millimeters.[5]


Dijon's history, as the capital city of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region, traces back to the Neolithic period, with early archaeological evidence discovered within the city limits. Later, it became a Roman settlement, Divio, on the Lyon to Paris road. Saint Benignus, an apocryphal patron saint, is credited with introducing Christianity to the area. From the 11th to the 15th century, Dijon became the seat of power for the Dukes of Burgundy, emerging as a European center for art, learning, and science. Later, the Duchy of Burgundy played a role in the transition from medieval to early modern Europe. In 1513, Dijon faced a siege by Swiss and Imperial armies led by Louis II de la Trémoille. Despite the assault, the town repelled the invaders. Throughout its history, Dijon endured occupations by anti-Napoleonic coalitions, the Prussian army, and Nazi Germany during World War II, enduring bombings by US Air Force aircraft before liberation by the French Army and Resistance in September 1944.[3]

Regarding the history of the region, Franche-Comte—initially named the Free County in the 12th century—emerged as a region with limited royal control, characterized by intermittent governance by various local counts. It gained prominence when Raynald III resisted the authority of the German king in the 12th century, solidifying its autonomy. Over the following centuries, Franche-Comte witnessed changes in leadership and dynastic successions, eventually coming under the control of the dukes of Burgundy. In the 15th century, the region saw shifts in ownership between France and Austria, leading to periods of conflict and instability. Franche-Comte eventually became a possession of the Spanish Habsburgs, experiencing repression under Philip II of Spain. Subsequently, it became a target for French annexation due to its location. In the 17th century, Franche-Comte endured invasions and conflicts, ultimately falling under French control in 1674 after the War of Devolution. It was formally annexed and recognized as a French province through treaties such as the Peace of Nijmegen. In modern times, Franche-Comte was divided into departments in 1790 and later merged with Burgundy in 2016 as part of administrative restructuring efforts in France.[1]

The Bourgogne-Franche-Comte region as we know it today comprises territory from former provinces such as Burgundy, Franche-Comte, Nivernais, Champagne, Orléanais, Territoire de Belfort, and a portion of Île-de-France. Over time, administrative changes saw periods of unity and separation between Burgundy and Franche-Comte. Initially reunited during the Vichy regime, they became separate regions in 1972 and territorial collectivities in 1982. However, in 2014, following a call for administrative simplification by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, the presidents of Burgundy and Franche-Comte expressed their desire to merge the two regions. This proposal, supported by President François Hollande, led to the voluntary merger of Burgundy and Franche-Comte into a single area, Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, without requiring further legislative approval.[2]