Franche Comté Population and Demographics

  • Population: 1,117,059
  • Pop.density (people per km2): 69

Three principal communes

Besançon (134,376)

With large parks and clean streets, this grey stoned town enclosed in a loop of the River Doubs and surrounded by the hills of the north Jura range is considered one of France's "greenest" cities. There are few tourists but, with France's largest foreign student population, it is nonetheless a cosmopolitan place. The cobbled streets of the old town are full of lively bars and places to eat. Since Gallo-Roman times it has been an important stop on the trade routes between Italy, the Alps and the Rhine. Since the 18th century it has been an important clock making centre and in 1890 was the birthplace of rayon (artificial silk) . It was also the birthplace of novelist Victor Hugo and the film-pioneering Lumière brothers.

Montbéliard (113,059)

This historic town on the River Doubs is a pretty place, with brightly coloured houses, and a very Germanic feel. It's also progressive and high-tech. Car manufacturing is an important industry and the town is home to Peugeot.

Belfort (81,524)

Just across the border from Germany and Switzerland, this city is historically part of Alsace but became part of the Franche-Comté région in 1921. Today the city is best known as the manufacturer of TGV trains.

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