The Doubs department is located in the eastern France and is adjacent to Switzerland. It is part of the Franche Comté region and has a common border with the three other departments: Territoire de Belfort, Jura and Haute Saone. Its prefecture is Besançon, which is also the capital of the region. The land area is 5,234 sq m and the population density is 99 inhabitants per square meter. Its 499,162 inhabitants are called the Doubistes.
Doubs was actually created as a French department after the French Revolution. Conquered many times by Romans, Spanish, Austrians and Germans, Doubs has kept traces of its hectic history. During WWII, the Lomont maquis played an important role in the resistance. The department makes every effort to preserve its rich heritage.
It has the particularity to have 1,645km of watercourses. It belongs to the Jura Massif and can be divided into three parts:
Its economy is flourishing and mainly based on various industries. Its industrial site Peugeot-Citroën Sochaux is the 1st of France (all industries taken together). It is also the 1st department of the region in terms of foreign exchange market. For a few years, tourism has taken a larger and larger part in its development.
While real estate prices in Franche-Comté remain very stable, Doubs is experiencing some fluctuations. At the end of 2008, the Doubs department recorded a strong rise in property prices, then a drop in the first semester of 2009; since then they have begun to stabilize. The market is now more selective, however, with an average of €1,956/sq m, the department is fairly inexpensive compared to the national average of €3,197 /sq m.
Doubs accounts for about 228,250 dwellings, 5.8% of which are vacant. The average area is 102 sq m and you will find more large houses than small apartments. Apartments are mainly located in big towns whereas houses are more numerous in the countryside.
Property prices vary with the type of property. The average buying price for an apartment is €1,670 /sq m and €2,580 /sq m for a new built flat. For a house you can count €175,400 on average and €53,100 for a plot of land. As for the average rental price, it remains at €9.90 /sq m.
If you are interested in buy-to-let investments, the best opportunities are probably in Besançon, which has a constant demand of rentals from students. If you wish to buy a large property, then the good bargains to be driven are in the countryside.
To get updated info about property prices in Doubs, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
Click here to have an overview of Franche Comté Property Prices.
Culture & art heritage: Doubs was the birth and living place of Gustave Courbet, a famous realist painter. A museum in Ornans has been dedicated to him and traces of his life are to be discovered throughout the department. The museum of time in Besançon is another curiosity not to pass by. On a different note, you can have a look at the Peugeot Museum, which traces the history of the car manufacturer (born in the region) in an entertaining way. Impressive castles tell the department’s history, for instance in Joux or Besançon. As for sacred art, you can visit outstanding churches belonging to Gothic, Romanesque or Baroque styles. The Royal Saline of Arc et Senans, listed by the UNESCO, is another site worth visiting.
A land of traditions: in the Doubs department the land and the know-hows are celebrated all year round. Various events take place each year: gastronomic or cultural but always full of folklore. The Foire aux saveurs d’automne will let you discover local produce and unique pieces of arts and crafts; the Instants Gourmands for their part are four days dedicated to delicacy with lots of games, activities and course tastings. The ‘Nights of Joux’ festival taking place annually in castles is the incontrovertible gathering of theatre, music and literature. The warm welcoming people of this department enjoy sharing with visitors their traditional know-how ; a real living heritage not to be lost.
Local produces: Doubs is known for its cheeses, especially the cancoillotte, which is a unique runny cheese absolutely not to be missed; and the famous Comté. There are also lots of salt meats to try, like the sausages of Morteau and Montbéliard, brési (smoked beef) or several mountain hams. Doubs offers many special recipes, such as the boîte chaude (au-gratin Mont d’Or cheese wrapped in spruce) and the jaunottes à la crème, based on chanterelles and crème fraiche. Sweet pleasures are not left behind. Allow you to be tempted by the gingerbread of the Vuez brothers, the Klaus toffees and a lot of sweets based on chocolate mixed with various liqueurs. The belles-comtoises sweets are funnily cow-shaped.
Nature-linked activities: as ‘green’ department, Doubs enables you to enjoy the tranquillity and magnificence of its natural sites, such as the Echelles de la mort or the Saut du Doubs. Numerous activities at the heart of nature are offered. Fishing, paddling in the numerous lakes or having a good time in an adventure park, it is just up to you. The polar park, where protected Nordic animals are to be found, is also worth a visit. You can also have a go at different sports like mountain biking, hiking, golfing, kayaking, cross-country skiing and especially horse-riding. Besides, the geography allows you to do speleology in beautiful sites like the Osselle cave or the Poudrey chasm.
Wine and alcoholic drinks: the tasty regional Chardonnay, produced mainly in the Loue vineyards, is refreshing, lemony and remarkably long in mouth. The Doubs absinthe is ancestrally made of iced-water and twelve different mountain herbs. Called the “green fairy” and long forbidden in France, it has recently been authorized again and invites you to rediscover its legendary taste. For the end of the meal, you have the choice between the gentiane, a spririt with digestive properties, the Marsotte kirsch or the surprising Sapin, a pine liqueur which should be drunk iced.
Tuyé farmhouses: these massive houses are built in wood, except for the stone ground floor. Humans and animals used to share these former farmhouses, which since have mostly been renovated. The name Tuyé refers to the pyramid shaped big chimney in the main room, used to smoke salt meat.
Village houses: located in the countryside, they are ancient farmhouses generally completely built in stone. The ground floor used to be the main house and the second was used to store agricultural products such as hay. They often come with few outbuildings and a reasonable amount of land. They are sold renovated or to renovate.
Contemporary houses: they are quite recent and mostly located in the outskirts of large towns, in residential neighbourhoods. They are usually two-storey houses built on a basement. Modern fittings are also part of them. These nice houses are laid out in a contemporary fashion and often have a swimming pool.
Click here for more info about Architecture in Franche Comté.
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