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Via Francigena- From Bar-sur-Aube to Besançon

Stage 6
12 days
Starting From

Bar-sur-Aube to Besançon Map
As you move closer to the border of Switzerland, this sixth section of the Via Francigena highlights the architectural side of the country. Early in the tour, there is a chance to visit the Clarivaux Abbey, where Victor Hugo was influenced and inspired to write his most famous piece of literature, Les Misérables.


Clairvaux Abbey

This Cistercian monastery is located near Bar-sur-Aube. The original building was founded in 1115 and is now in ruin. The abbey that you can visit which stands here now dates from 1708. In 1808 the building was bought by the State and converted into a prison.

The Abbey is now divided into two parts: the prison and the museum. You can visit the museum section. Discover these fascinating buildings with their cellar and dorms.

Fortification of Langres

Do you want to explore a truly medieval city? Well, here you go! The city of Langres is a treasure trove for anyone who loves medieval history.

The fortifications around Langres were originally built by the Romans and contain a dozen towers and seven gates. During the following 2,000 years, the fortifications were modified and renewed so they are still a prominent landmark on the Langres Landscape. Take a walk around to the Petit sault tower and the Navarre and d’Orval Tower.

Besançon Citadel

Designed by Vauban for Louis XIV, the citadel of Besançon was built during the 17th century. The citadel dominates the city at 100 meters in height. The 12-hectare Citadel has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.

Pride of the Franche-Comte, the Citadelle is considered one of the most beautiful of France. Climbing to the highest point of the citadel will offer you an incredible view of the region. Surrounded by rivers, the citadel is a hotspot for tourism and cultural events.

Bar-sur-aube to Besancon
Via Francigena
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Included in this package
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Specially chosen 2-3* hotels or equivalent
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
  • Our Holiday or Pilgrim Pack
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Premium Accommodation
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Additional Night
  • Dinners
  • Day Tours Available
Not included
  • Flights/trains
  • Insurance
  • Drinks/Lunch


Day 1


Arrive into Bar-sur-Aube. This old picturesque medieval town is perfect for strolling through and admiring the architectural and historical buildings.

Day 2


Leaving Bar-sur-Aube, you will cross the Aube River before arriving into the first village of today, Fontain. From here, you will continue along the gently sloping hillside that is covered in rows of grapevines before winding your way down into the next village that lies before you, Baroville. Climbing up a small ridge out of this village through more vineyards, you will then descend across more fields to continue walking through the Clarivaux forest before arriving into the village of Clarivaux. Here, there is a former Abbey that was founded by Saint Bernard, but now is a high-security prison but you can still visit. It is this Abbey and the prison that was notorious for its treatment of prisoners during the time of Napoleon that influenced Victor Hugo to pen a short story in 1834 that then went on to influence his most famous piece of work, Les Misérables.

Day 3


Today’s walk is not much longer than yesterday’s. Leaving behind the small village with its high-security prison, you could be forgiven that you feel like you are part of a novel as your destination for today does sound as if it was named by a James Bond villain – Châteauvillain! Today, when you reach the village of Maranville, you will have passed over into the department of the Haute Marne and as you pass through one village to the next it will not be long before you see your final destination on the horizon. Châteauvillain is a quiet town nestled in a bend of the River Aujon and is a maze of alleys and parapets for you to explore. Unlike a James Bond villain who has dangerous animals in their layer, Châeauvillain has over 100 deer roaming freely in the Parc aux Daims.

Day 4


From Châteauvillain you will go through the Parc aux Daims unless it is closed for breeding season. Keep a lookout for the park’s many animals, including deer, stags, ferrets, wild boar, foxes and many species of birds. Brink a picnic and some snacks and take plenty of breaks in this gorgeous natural place.

Your stop for tonight is Mormant which is not too far from the park over the fields.

Day 5


Rolling crop fields, small quiet villages, and woodland await you today. Wander across La Bonnelle River and up shady roads to beautiful views. Langres is a fortified town that has some breathtaking views from its walls. You can visit a museum about Denis Diderot, whose most famous work was the Encyclopédie during the Age of French Enlightenment. Make sure to try the speciality of the region, Langres cheese, which goes incredibly well with Champagne! For any Canadians, this town is the birthplace of the co-founder of Montreal, Jeanne Mance.

Day 6


The walk today is relatively short. Leaving the town of Langres behind, you will walk through large crop fields before entering a wooded stretch. Coming out the other side you will meander your way down to the village of Balesmes-sur-Marne. Traversing through more rolling green hills, you will arrive down into Chalindrey, where you will stay for the night and can relax and enjoy some freshly prepared French cuisine.

Day 7


Leaving Chalindrey today, you will also be leaving behind the Champagne region of France and entering the Franche-Comté region. This region is known for its church towers that are usually domed shaped. Walking down out of Chalindrey, you will cross over a forested hill down into Grenant. Winding around a forested hillside you will emerge into arable land and follow the road up to your destination, Champlitte. This small town had a rich history and beautiful architecture. After wandering around you can treat yourself to one of the local wines. Both white and red are made here.

Day 8


From Champlitte, you will make your way through the countryside, through lush fields and small sleepy French villages. Crossing the La Salon River then re-crossing it to arrive at your destination for today, Dampierre sur Salon. Wander around this typical French country town and relax as you will have a long day walking tomorrow.

Day 9


You’ll see more bountiful fields full of produce today before crossing the River Saône then following this until you reach a forest. Coming out the far side of the forest, you will wind your way down into the village of Sainte-Riene before coming to the large village of La Chapelle Saint-Quillan. This is a lovely spot for a picnic. Pop into the church which has a 16th Century statue of the Irish Saint Quillan for a quick visit. Gy is your stop for the night. Continue down a road flanked on either side by forest before emerging out onto a flat plain of crop fields that welcome you to Gy.

Day 10


Today’s shorter walk takes you to Cussey-sur-l’Ognon. Get your camera set up for the dappled light of forest pathways before returning to the open fields and arriving at Cussey-sur-l’Ognon. Nestled in a bend of the Ognon River, this peaceful French village offers an opportunity to relax and enjoy another delicious traditional French meal.

Day 11


Take a country track through fields and past a forest to Geneuille, the first village today. Here you can take a morning break and grab a coffee and pastry should you wish. Continuing on, you will cross the railway line and climb a forested ridge before coming down into Ecole Valentin. Soon you will reach your final destination for this section, Besançon. This large town is built around a horseshoe bend of the Doubs River and has many historic sights to visit. The most popular tourist attraction here is the 17th-century military Citadel designed by Vauban which is also a World Heritage site. You can also visit the St Jean’s Cathedral, one of the museums, or even take a boat trip on the Doubs River.

Day 12


After breakfast, we bid you farewell, or welcome you to the next stage of the Via Francigena walk to Rome.

Bar-sur-Aube to Besançon Elevation

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