Immortalized by Jacques Brel in his song "Vesoul", the capital of Haute-Saône is home to many treasures. Classified as a "Cité Patrimoine", the town boasts a magnificent medieval historic center, built with limestone from nearby quarries. Vesoul also boasts a diverse natural heritage of lakes, hills and plains. Add to this a microclimate offering a rate of sunshine unequalled in the region, and you'll understand that Vesoul has not usurped its nickname of the "Nice of the East". Thanks to JOOKS, you can take advantage of Vesoul's gentle way of life and discover its treasures via three audio-guided routes.
Although remains dating back to prehistoric times have been discovered in the town, Vesoul didn't really develop until the High Middle Ages, around the Castrum Vesulium, a fortified castle perched on the Motte hill. First the seat of a viscounty, then the capital of the Bailliage d'Amont, Vesoul evolved over the centuries. From fortified village to bustling commercial town, then central judicial center and strategic garrison town, Vesoul eventually assumed important administrative and political roles.
As allegiances changed, Vesoul alternated between the Holy Roman Empire and the Spanish Empire, until its annexation by France in 1678. In 1814, it briefly became the capital of the State of Franche-Comté, before reverting to French rule. After the Second World War, the city underwent considerable growth, becoming a major industrial hub. Today, the town is a perfect blend of history, nature and culture, just waiting to be discovered.
City of history
Thanks to its rich history, Vesoul today boasts a rich architectural and cultural heritage. While the medieval fortified castle has sadly disappeared, the town center is full of town houses, religious buildings and other remarkable structures such as the town hall, the Halles and the former Paul Morel hospital.
A town on a human scale, Vesoul is best explored on foot, through its narrow streets, squares and bridges. The Old-Vesoul district is home to many buildings protected as historic monuments, as well as the town's first houses, built at the foot of La Motte.
The town boasts a wide range of architectural styles - Renaissance, Gothic, Baroque - which blend harmoniously into its urban fabric. A stroll through the narrow streets allows you to admire the work of the craftsmen who decorate the facades, a real treat for architecture lovers.
Our Urban trail route will take you through this preserved historic center and its landmarks, from the Place de la République to the Palais de Justice, right up to the hill of La Motte.
City of nature
Vesoul's appeal goes beyond its historic charm. Set amidst a varied natural landscape, the town seduces visitors with its lush plains, verdant hills and serene stretches of water.
La Motte, a limestone hill rising to an altitude of over 370 metres, offers splendid panoramic views of the town and surrounding area. Once crowned by a fortified castle, it is now flanked by a chapel housing a 3.50-metre-high statue of the Virgin Mary. Today, La Motte is a place for meditation and walks, as well as one of the town's most emblematic landmarks.
Known for its remarkable limestone formations, the Sabot de Frotey Nature Reserve also offers beautiful views over the region. Created in 1981, it covers almost a hundred hectares and is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Over 400 different plant species and 500 species of butterfly. Our Sabot Course will take you from downtown Vesoul to the Reserve, where you'll learn more about this exceptional site and the legend of the Sabot.
Vesoul is criss-crossed by four rivers, including the Durgeon, which you can discover on our Sports Course. This 7-kilometer walk, with a few sporting exercises, takes you from the English Garden to the small village of Coulevon, along the banks of the river. In particular, you'll take the green corridor, laid out in the 1980s, which starts to the north of English Garden and continues towards the Rêpes district.
Just a few kilometers from the town center is the Lac de Vesoul-Vaivre. With a surface area of almost 90 hectares, it's sure to delight walkers and sports enthusiasts, whether on land or in the water: cycling, archery, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing or pedal-boating.
Run, walk or cycle with JOOKS, from Saint-Georges Church to the Sabot Nature Reserve!
Find all the routes in Vesoul and over 1300 others in the JOOKS application.