Like most Americans in Paris, I often serve as travel advisor to friends and family seeking advice about France. This year, many people have been asking for offbeat, non-skiing destinations for winter weekends out of Paris, and one great answer is Besançon, a fine old town in the Franche-Comté region with many excellent restaurants and museums, including the Musée Comtois in the city’s splendid Vauban citadel, with exhibits on regional folklore and history. In addition to such fine tables as Le Saint Pierre, which specializes in fish, and Barthod, for local Franc-Comtois specialties, the new address not to miss is Chez Bon. It’s an attractive dining room with polished cement floors and wood-paneled walls, and ideal for lunch, with a menu of hearty soups, pastas, salads and quiches made with mostly organic produce, and a variety of excellent desserts. On two recent visits, I enjoyed really excellent avocado-cucumber-and-mint soup, penne with Savoy ham and salad, Comté quiche with salad and cheesecake—comfort food at its best.
52 rue des Granges, Besançon, 03.81.48.85.89. €30 per person without wine
Originally published in the February 2012 issue of France Today