Besançon…the ramparts

Hi everyone,

The Olsen Road will be starting up again soon for my Christmastime travels to Dublin to see my daughter and her family. In the meantime I hope to find time to take some pictures and write a few posts about Besançon, the town I live in here in France. While I was travelling in the States these last few months several people asked me about this town that I’ve now lived in for more than forty years, so I thought I’d introduce you. And Besançon is a worthy travel destination in its own right, not just because I live here.


November 11, 2014

Armistice Day

Here’s a view from my kitchen window one recent rainy morning:

2_rainbow bis

Besançon is a relatively rainy town, known as the greenest city in France.

I quickly run downstairs to get a picture of the other half of the rainbow:

3_rainbow ter

This will give you a better view of my neighborhood.


Later in the day I take a walk down to the ramparts, the few remaining vestiges of the old city wall and fortifications. Here we see some autumn colors  along with the Tour Carrée, the square tower.

4_autumn colors and tower

The Tour Carrée a little closer…


…and closer still:

6_tower closer


The ramparts are a good place to go at the moment to see autumn colors:

7_autumn colors2


The promenade leading down to the Doubs River:

8_autumn colors and trail down to river


The Promenade des Glacis along the top of the ramparts:

9_autum colors remparts


The ramparts are crisscrossed by some major traffic arteries…

10_autumn colors street through remparts

…modernity oblige.

10bis_street in remparts

This is a good way to see how the new and the old live together in Besançon. Of course, the afternoon of a major national holiday is not the time to see how busy these streets can be.


The ramparts are a also good place to take pictures of the town center. Here we see the Citadel de Vauban on the hills opposite. The Citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage site now. You can read more about it here.

11_view of city center

And with the zoom:

13_citadel bis

I’ll take you up into the citadel some day soon. It’s a very interesting place.


The roofs and chimineys of Besançon are well known.

14_citadel ter


The ramparts are full of monuments and since the commemoration ceremony for the First World War took place this morning, wreaths have been placed at the foot of these statues…

16_monuments aux morts 17_wreaths were deposed this morning

…such as this one from a group known as the Gueules Cassées, the broken faces. These were soldiers who came home from the war extremely disfigured.

18_such as this one from...


This monument is dedicated to all those who gave their lives for France and who are buried abroad:

19_monument to those buried overseas

Statues of soldiers…

20_monument to the soldiers 21_another monument

…and La Mère Patrie.

22_monument to la mère patrie


Sculptures are also to be found here and there  in the Promenade des Glacis. This one, by Jorge Soler, is dedicated to foreigners who fought in the resistance during the Second World War…

23_numerous sculptures inhabit the promenade

…and this one by the Senegalese sculptor Ousmane Sow…

24_such as this one

…with a child hidden under the robe:

25_by Ousmane Sow

The form of the child is hard to make out, but the feet are very clear:

26_with a child hidden under the man's robe


There is much more to see in and around Besançon. Little by little I’ll try to show you as much as possible.




4 thoughts on “Besançon…the ramparts

  1. Oh good! I’ve been missing your blog and am delighted to see photos of your lovely city! Diana

    Sent from my iPad. Make it a beautiful day!



  2. My family and I are moving to Besancon for a one year teacher exchange. We live in Calgary, Canada now. My husband will teach at a local school and my teenage girls will attend school. You mentioned in your blog that tn tends to rain a lot, please advise on what are the essentials for clothing. (I love your blog about your hat, very practical)


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