Road trip along the Doubs (France) - Cruizador Routes & Travel

Road trip along the Doubs (France)

Roadtrip le long du Doubs

Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to travel well! and proof that there are still regions not very frequented by bikers and which deserve to be discovered. Also, we take you this time to the French-Swiss border, in the Doubs department, for 1 to 2 days of riding. Road trip along the Doubs 

In a nutshell
  • Countries: Switzerland and France
  • Starting point : Sugiez
  • Ending point: La Vue-des-Alpes (Chaux-de-Fond)
  • Duration : 1-2 days, depending on your tempo, bike, etc. 
  • Main sights : Besançon, le Doubs (river), Lods, Chasseral, etc.

This region, less known than the Route des Grandes Alpes  for example, offers many advantages and not the least. Indeed, being less frequented, it allows you to discover it in good conditions, i.e. without hordes of cyclists, caravans, etc.. In addition, and this is the paradox, the region benefits from a tourist promotion of the department targeted on the motorcyclists. The result is a feeling of being welcome when you are on your bike, unlike other regions where the strongly hostile reactions of the inhabitants towards bikers, rightly or wrongly, can often spoil the ride.

Road trip along the DoubsRoad trip along the Doubs 

Some noteworthy info

Last but not least, given the proximity of Switzerland, whether you start from Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg, Bern or Basel, you can easily do the loop in one day, depending on your rhythm and your bike. However, we recommend you to do the ride over two days because you will have time to stop along the river to refresh yourself and/or enjoy the gastronomy!

However, you should adapt your pace to the conditions and especially to the state of the road. Some sections are a little less well maintained than others, and we noticed the presence of gravel, stones, potholes, etc.

This being said, here is our road book for this road-trip. We voluntarily didn’t choose the itinerary which the most twisties in order to find a good compromise between riding time and break and especially, to make it accessible to beginners. So hop on and…enjoy the ride out!

Last but not least, distances/times are purely informative and do not take break into account. 

Day 1

Sugiez – Chasseral -> St-Imier -> Les Breuleux -> Saignelégier -> Trévillers -> Saint-Hypolite -> Dambelin -> Pays de Clerval -> Roulans -> Besançon (200km, about 4h30)

Road trip along the Doubs 

Roadtrip le long du Doubs
Itinerary, day 1

For those who would start from Fribourg/Bern, we give you as starting point the Migrolino gas station in Sugiez. This station is reputed to be one of the cheapest in the region, so take advantage of the opportunity to fill up your bike.

Once you have filled up your tank, you will head for the Chasseral to enjoy the panoramic view. Be careful though, this pass is not open all year round, so check online to make sure you don’t find yourself in front of a closed gate. If this is the case, you will find an alternative route.

Once you reach the top, enjoy the view and, if you feel like it, have a coffee. If not, you will have other possibilities further on. You will then head towards St-Imier, then Saignelégier. Take advantage of the wide-open spaces offered by the Jura with its low stone walls and cattle in semi-freedom. A change of scenery guaranteed!

Typical landscapes of the Franches region (Swiss Jura)

Before crossing the border

For those who have not filled up, take advantage before crossing the border to save a few dimes.

Once the border is crossed, you will have the possibility to stop for lunch according to your timing and your desires. Personally, we pushed on to Saint-Hyppolite to have a picnic by the river, at the municipal “beach”. On a hot summer day, you can also take a dip to cool off. So don’t forget to have your bathing suit at hand.

Roadtrip le long du Doubs
A little jump in the blue waters of the Doubs to cool off?

Back on your bike, you will head for Dambelin, then Pays-de-Clerval and Roulans to finish in Besançon.

Roadtrip le long du Doubs
Here is a sign that tends to put a smile behind the visor of bikers

You will also pass through many small villages with a lot of character.

Small village in Le Doubs, before reaching Besançon

Stage for the Night : Besançon

Less known/touristic than Annecy, Besançon will nevertheless be one of the other excellent surprises of this trip. Historical cradle of the French clock industry, this city has a strong historical and architectural heritage. And thanks to its fortifications built by Vauban, the famous 17th century military architect/engineer/urban planner, the city has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2008. Also, it has many tourist attractions: citadel, Granvelle palace, Saint-Jean cathedral, Vauban quay, etc. So, plan some time to visit if you feel like it.

Roadtrip le long du Doubs
La Porte Noire, Besançon, Doubs

For those for whom visits are not their cup of tea, you can stroll through the many pedestrian streets and/or stop at one of the many terraces for a refreshing drink and watch the crowd of onlookers. You will see a whole student population that energizes the city at all hours. Good vibes guaranteed! 

Roadtrip le long du Doubs

Le Quai Vauban, Besançon

Road trip along the Doubs 

Where to sleep in Besançon?

Depending on your budget/envy, we recommend that you check online offers on booking. You’ll probably find some good deals.

Personally, we stopped at the Best Western Citadelle. This *** hotel represents an excellent quality/price ratio. Located a few steps from the city center and the citadel, it offers all the necessary comfort and the staff at the reception is very welcoming, helpful and smiling. Moreover, you can park your bike in the inner courtyard under cover. And, if you don’t arrive with 50 bikes, they probably won’t charge you for parking, as they did for us.

Where to eat out in Besançon? 

Again, you may have a desire of your own. But let us give you 3 options:

  • For the meat lovers: L’effet bœuf. Located near the hotel, this restaurant offers all the variations of meat you can dream of.
  • For groups with mixed desires: the Café Café. Located about a 15-minute walk from the hotel, this restaurant offers French cuisine with fresh local products. Vegetarian options are available and I hear the pastries are worth the trip!
  • For lovers of Asian cuisine, the Petit Atelier. It was originally our first pick, but as we didn’t have a reservation, we couldn’t find a table available. The menu was however very tempting and the setting very nice.

Otherwise, it seems that the Brasserie 1802 is also a sure value, although more expensive, and the Alsacien Besançon was also very busy and the atmosphere looked good. After that, do we really want to eat Flammenküche, a typical Alsatian dish, in the Doubs? It’s up to you…

If you want to go for drinks afterwards, head to the Quai Vauban and you’ll probably find something to suit your taste.

Here are some snapshots of Besançon to get an idea of the atmosphere: 

Road trip along the Doubs 

Day 2

We chose not to have breakfast at the hotel but rather in one of the many bakeries downtown. We settled on the Boulangerie Baud and raided the pastries, just to have 2-3 calories before starting the road. You will also have the possibility to have a coffee on the spot. But personally, we preferred to take it a few blocks away, at Identité Café. It’s primarily a tea/coffee shop, but also offers coffees on the spot or to go. And we were not disappointed with our choice.

Identité Café, Besançon, France
Small café with a Brioche, a perfect way to start the day (Identité Café)

Once the pilot is refueled, it will be time to get on the bike and ride! Here is our road book for the day:

Besançon -> Ornans -> Lods -> Cirque de Consolation (D39)-> -> Pierrefontaine-les-Varans -> Laviron -> Provenchère -> Maîche -> Le Russey -> Villers-le-Lac -> Le Russey Biaufond -> Col des Roches -> Le Locle -> La Chaux-de-Fond -> La Vue-des-Alpes (190km, about 4h15)

Road trip along the Doubs 

Roadtrip le long du Doubs
Itinerary, day 2 

This part of the road trip will probably be the one with the most difference in altitude. Don’t expect a hill climb though. However, the itinerary will be lined with pretty little villages, like Lods for example: 

The village of Lods, classified among the most beautiful villages of France

And always with these fields with cattle in semi-freedom, these large green areas and the river as the blue thread of your road trip.

At times, we would almost catch the feeling we are in the middle of Montana (USA)

As far as your lunch is concerned, personally we stopped in a good bakery, that goes without saying, in order to buy our picnic, which we took a little further, along a river.

Roadtrip le long du Doubs
Local inhabitants living their life along the river…

If we had to retain a highlight for this second day, it would be the part towards the Cirque de Consolation by the D39. This atmosphere of the end of the world, while we are only a short distance from Switzerland, will certainly give you a change of scenery.

Our trip will end at La Vue-des-Alpes via Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fond. And depending on whether you will return to Neuchâtel, Lausanne, Geneva or Bern, you are free to choose the itinerary for the last part of the trip, depending on your desires and your state of fatigue.

Note that for those who would like to shorten the trip, you will have different possibilities:

  • To cross the border and return to Switzerland via Pontarlier and Vallorbe, and then fall back on Yverdon-les-Bains and/or Lausanne.
  • Once in Lods, to branch off to Morteau and to head directly for the Saut-du-Doubs, on the French-Swiss border. Mini-cruises are organized to admire the gorges.

And to conclude some impressions of the trip:

Roadtrip along the Doubs

That was it! We hope you enjoyed the ride. Of course, the views may not be as breathtaking as at the top of the passes of the Route des Grandes Alpes (our road book here). But this region is still interesting for its historical, gastronomic and cultural heritage and deserves to be discovered. And its proximity to Switzerland makes it accessible even for a single day. So, if you are looking to get away from it all and test new rides, give it a try!

And in the end, isn’t the ability to marvel at all the things in life, big and small, the best thing for bikers who love adventure and discovery?

Something to think about!

We look forward to seeing you again for a new adventure.

Until then, ride on !

Road trip along the Doubs 

Cruizador

Hey! Je suis le fondateur et le Chief Biker Officer chez Cruizador. Motard et passionné de voyage depuis longtemps, c'est en 2018 que j'ai décidé de lancer ce nouveau service, en espérant qu'il parle aux plus grands nombres de motard(e)s qui partagent la même philosophie et la même soif de grands espaces. C'est avec plaisir que je prends note de vos commentaires, idées d'amélioration, etc. Ride on!

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