Along the Doubs River (Baum-les-Dames to Besançon)

Short day of riding, under 40km, but a busy day nevertheless.

We left the very nice and quiet camping bungalows outside Baum-les-Dames just before 0930 and headed into the centre of town to join a bilingual guided tour by the head of the local tourism office.

Apparently the Baum in the town name comes from the Celtic word for cave (limestone hill country around here, so lots of caves) and the Dames part from the abbey that dominated the town from it’s founding in the 5th C until it’s dissolution during the French Revolution in the 1790s.

Neat compact old town centre, although much less polished than similar small towns we saw in Austria or Germany – this is a fairly working-class area of France these days.

We left Baum-les-Dames for Besançon around noon, and had a (slightly too long) tour of Besançon’s new art gallery/conservatory in the afternoon.

No riding tomorrow, our first true rest day in just over three weeks of riding. We’re staying at some sort of student hostel in Besançon, only two of us to a room in a quiet part of town, which is nice for our day off.

We’re getting a tour of the town’s famous Citadel tomorrow, which should be cool, as the town still has most of it’s Vauban-designed 17th C fortifications intact.