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Franche-Comté: identity and economy

Ideally situated at the heart of Europe, Franche-Comté has 250 km of borders with Switzerland and is within easy reach of Germany and Italy.

La Franche-Comté au coeur de l'Europe
cliquez pour agrandir l'image Source : ARD Franche-Comté www.ardfc.org

Made up of 4 Departements (Doubs - Jura - Haute-Saône - Territoire de Belfort), it has a population of 1,150,600 and covers a total area of 16,202 km², giving it a population density of 71 inhabitants per km².

Besançon is the regional capital and the largest city.

Urban centres on a human scale

  • Besançon : 171,000 inhabitants
  • Montbéliard : 121,000 inhabitants
  • Belfort : 92,000 inhabitants
  • Dole : 53,000 inhabitants
  • Vesoul : 32,000 inhabitants
  • Lons-le-Saunier : 31,000 inhabitants

With the entry into service of the high speed train line (LGV Rhin-Rhône), the territory now covers an area with 2 million more people. The Rhine-Rhône network covers 8 urban districts and the tri-national Basle Eurodistrict.

Towns and cities accessible from each other in 20 minutes. Efficient connections to major destinations:

  • By TGV high-speed train: 2 hrs to Paris and 3 hrs to Lille
  • By car: 2 hrs from international airports: Lyon Saint Exupéry, Genève Cointrin, EuroAirport Basle-Mulhouse
  • Two motorways: A 36 Mulhouse-Beaune, A 39 Dole-Bourg en Bresse
  • A regional airport (Dole-Tavaux) and business aerodromes (Besançon la Vèze, Montbéliard). With a GDP of 28.47 million Euros, Franche-Comté exports 9.7 million Euros worth of non-automotive goods, relying on 43,520 companies employing 454,456 people

List of the main employers in each Departement :

Doubs (25)

  • Peugeot Citroën Automobile in Sochaux
  • Peugeot Motocycles in Mandeure
  • Faurecia bloc avant in Audincourt

Jura (39)

  • Solvay Electrolyse France in Tavaux
  • MBF Technologies in Saint-Claude
  • Fromageries Bel in Dole


  • Peugeot Citroën Automobile in Vesoul
  • Parisot Meubles in Saint-Loup-Sur-Semousse
  • Vétoquinol

Territoire de Belfort (90)

  • GE Energy Products France in Belfort
  • Alstom Transport in Belfort

A concentrate of know-how

Ranked among France's leading industrial regions :

  • 1st region for toys
  • 1st region for microtechnologies
  • 1st region for spectacles
  • 1st region for watchmaking
  • 1st region for wood turning and flat woodworking
  • 2nd region for blacking-drawing
  • 2nd most wooded region (44% of its surface is covered by woods and forests)
  • 3rd automotive region
  • 3rd region for surface treatment