Besançon…the district of Battant

Hi everyone. Today I’m taking you into the town center of Besançon, to the quartier Battant, the Battant district. It’s only a small part of the center, but it’s a very important part, one of the oldest and most distinctive streets of the city. And you will see that Besançon is a town of great variety. We start at the train station, near the ramparts that I showed you last week. By the way, you can read about Besançon here. And here.

This is the central train station, the Gare Viotte

1_Gare Viotte

…from which we can take the city’s new tramway to go downtown…


…this tram car is named after Louis Pasteur, a local boy:

3_Tram Pasteur

(Of couse, a few other towns in the region have claims on Pasteur too).


But I’m not going to take the tram, I’m going on foot. Here, I’m walking through the ramparts:


(You may remember seeing this scene in the previous entry, but from the other direction.)


I soon turn onto the Rue Battant and head towards the town center…

5_Battant 1

…and we soon come to the Place Battant with its fountain:

6_Battant 2 7_Battant 3 - fountain


Battant is a district of ethnic diversity, as we see in this North African pastry shop, La Rose de Tunis:

8_Rose of Tunis 1

In the back of the shop you can see the owner.

He kindly let me take pictures inside his shop…

9_Tunis 2

…but he didn’t want to pose.

10_Tunis 3


On we go down the street…

11_On we go down the street

…past numerous shops, such as this small grocery store. Battant is an everyday district, where everyday people live, work and shop…

11bis_grocery store

…this kebab shop, not quite open yet…

10_kebabs, not quite open yet

…a hardware shop…

12_hardware store

…a variety store…


…a music store…

14_Battant musique

…and Italian specialties, where you can eat outside…

16_Italian specialties

…or inside…

16b_or in

…from this appetizing menu…

16c_appetizing menu

…or maybe take it home with you…

16d_or take it home

…along with something to drink:



Here is shop where I’ve bought many gifts over the years…

15_a shop where I've bought...

…table cloths, napkins, dish towels, small utensiles. This store is famous in town.


This shop, Kausia, Par tous les Temps (For all types of weather) , is aptly named. Besançon has a cool-to-cold and rainy climate (though summer heat waves can be torrid) and this shop is designed for it:



And the Horlogerie de Battant, a watch and clock shop. Besançon has always been the watch capital of France, ever since the first watches were invented. One of the city’s most renowned museums is the Musée du Temps (the Time Museum). You can read about it in French here.



And here is a chocolate lover’s paradise named Hors les sentiers battus... (Off the beaten paths)…

17_Chocolate 1

It’s a cacao bar…

18_Chocolate 2

… with chocolate in all its states.

The shop window has a very Christmasy look at the moment…

18b_a Christmasy window display

…there’s a welcoming chocolate-floral arrangement just inside…

18c_welcoming chocolate...

…and as I’ve said, this shop is a chocloate lover’s paradise:

18d_as I said...


We finally arrive at the river, The Doubs, where we meet up with the tramway once again…

19_we arrive along the Doubs River to meet up with...

…a look back up the rue Battant

19b_looking back up the street

…with the Church of La Madeleine behind us:

20_la Madeleine

…the Pont Battant (the Battant Bridge) is ahead of us now…

20_b_Battant bridge


Onto the bridge we go, and look to the right…

21_on the bridge-right

…and to the left…



Once across the bridge we look straight ahead up the Grande Rue, the town’s main street…

…on a Saturday afternoon…

23_across the bridge, straight ahead

…and on a Sunday morning:

25_crossing the bridge, looking up...

I’ll take you up there one day soon, but we’ve seen enough for today. And I have something else to show you first.

6 thoughts on “Besançon…the district of Battant

  1. Hi John,
    Quand tu en auras le temps, reprends la rue Battant et fais-la la tête levée ; tu apprécieras les différentes époques dont les façades portent les traces : les gargouilles, les fenêtres, les balcons, la pierre bleue et blanche.
    Certains porches, comme le 37 si mes souvenirs ne me trahissent pas, valent la peine d’être poussés : cette rue (comme celles du centre–ville) cache derrière sa ligne première de façades de charmantes cours intérieures, aujourd’hui hélas protégées pour la plupart par des digicodes – et quelquefois des arrières-cours également où ne pénètre plus aucun bruit de la rue… écoute !


    • Merci, Chris, de ta suggestion. J’y avais pensé aussi et j’ai l’intention de faire un “Retour à Battant” à terme. Je pourrais même en faire plusieurs: le haut des façades, les cours intérieures, les rues qui traversent, l’animation dans la rue… Battant est incroyablement riche.


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