Family-Friendly Jura Biking

“Chocolate Box Jura,”beautiful pastries from the Jura
Our Family-Friendly Cycle Trip in the Jura


On this page, you will find...

For generalities concerning our “Family-Friendly” trips, please see our “Family-Friendly” introductory page.


JuraBikers in the Jura
The Jura is a small line of mountains shared by France and Switzerland, the one that you see on every box of Swiss chocolates and always assumed was the Alps.  Goofy cowbells, achingly beautiful scenery, and Swiss cheese without the holes.  We once asked why there were no holes in the Jura comté, and were told it was because people in Emmenthal don’t stir their cheese well enough to get the bubbles out.  You have to be from the Jura to accuse other Swiss of laziness.

Mountain scenery, quiet roads, beautiful lakes, forests and farms....

Home-made ice cream from dairies which receive daily milk from the cows you hear clanging all around you.  Visit one to watch the process. 

Choruses of frogs from the rivers and streams serenade you in the evening.

Visit trout farms, underground caverns, cheese makers, ancient forts. Admire giant waterfalls, go for walks in the woods, dive into beautiful lakes. Quiet roads link all of these places, and allow for safe cycling with the young'ns.  We spend three nights in the center of a ski village, one in an old mill town, and three more at the end of an isolated canyon, surrounded by nature’s spendor.


Crow family at Chateau Chalon

 

Our Cycle Trips

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Departure Calendar
of our scheduled trips


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or...
Short Trips from Paris
 

What's Included
...
...in the Trip Cost


Additional Services...
...which you can add to your trip.


Other Trips We Offer

 

Day-by-Day Itinerary:  Chocolate Box Jura
Ride distances don’t mean much on this trip, as rides of different distances, 10 - 80 k, are proposed every day
Day of the Week
Description
Typical distances, in km
Saturday
MEET at the TOP of the MOUNTAIN
For help arriving, here are hints on reaching La Cure.

Our trip assembles at the tiny La Cure railway station, on the French / Swiss border, on Saturday afternoon.   A short bike ride, all downhill through mountain scenery, brings us to the neighboring ski resort of Les Rousses, on the French side of the border, and our home for the next three nights.  Should you arrive early, check out the Rouxy garden:  trampolines, mini-golf, giant inflatable slides...  an adult version of horror, but the kids love it, when the little darlings aren't over-excited and in tears.  And there is a bar.

Les Rousses is essentially a ski resort, and it has a pleasant, sleepy feel in summer.  Our hotel is in the center of the village.  The village also hosts France’s 2nd largest military fort, built in the 19th century, and now used as a cheese-aging facility.  We couldn't make that up.  Did we mention the mini golf?


4 k
Sunday & Monday

The SWISS JURA, LAKE GENEVA
Two days for exploring the crest of the mountain, and the Swiss slope of the mountain down to Lake Geneva. 

The Lac de Joux is an idyllic destination, notched in a ridge just to the north, with footpaths on the hillsides for forest walks with views of the lake.  A flat ride gets you there and back.  If the distance seems ambitious for a first day, shorter rides are on offer, or you can walk to a pretty lake beach at the edge of the village, and spend the day there.

Reserve a day to ride down to Lake Geneva, continental Europe’s largest lake.  The journey is marvelous:  a signed bike route on quiet lanes, descending 600+ meters (2,000 feet), and leading to Nyon, a pretty lakeside bourg. Founded in Roman times, Nyon is one of the oldest settlements in Switzerland.  A museum traces the history of Noviodunum, the Roman city.  But just as interesting is the Lac Léman museum, which offers an overview of life on the lake, including arts and crafts, a fresh water aquarium, flora and fauna, navigation....  Museums are only an option if you do this on Sunday:  they are closed on Mondays.

So how do you get back up to the top of the mountain?  Relax:  a cute little train hauls us there :-)

Variable k
Tuesday
St.-CLAUDE
We leave Les Rousses, and trade the top of the mountain for the bottom of the valley.  You could just cycle down the hill in 30 minutes, and be done.  But our route carries you south along the ridge, and then down on the French side, to St.-Claude, capital of the Upper Jura. 

Like most of the river towns in the Jura, St.-Claude's day job is making little tiny things.  Here, diamonds, pipes, little bits of plastic...  It's a bit somber, but not uninteresting, and makes for a good lunch stop.

Those up for the effort can then follow the river back to Morez, at the base of the mountain below Les Rousses, via tiny lanes through dense forests.  The river is almost alays audible, and often visible, glinting through the trees.  A beautiful change of scenery.

At the end of the day, we use another “cheater train” to climb the opposite mountain, and spend the night in the Jura’s heartland.  Tonight's hotel is a creaky-floor type of place, with a beautiful dining room...  a relic of 19th century village hotels that once graced every French market town.
20 - 60 k
Wednesday

HEDGEHOG FALLS, the QUATRE LACS, arrival in the VINEYARDS
A beautiful ride today, through scenery that just never lets up.  Lakes, waterfalls, vineyards, dramatic valleys....  The suggested route is long, but there are many ways to shorten it, if the little ones lose patience.  This is our most bike-centric day of the trip.  Giant waterfalls, farms that make their own ice cream, fortified castles, and lotsa lakes line the route.

Evening finds us in Arbois, in a beautiful hotel at the end of a secluded canyon
.  Tired, but hopefully happy. 

All the k you can handle.
Hang on!
Thursday & Friday
The VIGNOBLE of the JURA, the SALINE ROYALE, LOUIS PASTEUR
Taking children to wine tastings may not work very well, but if there is a place to try, this is it! 

Fortunately, there are things on the menu targeted to them, as well.  Louis Pasteur was an Arbois native, and his house, now a museum, is interesting on many levels — including some accessible to children (look, for instance, where he slept...).  The Saline Royale, in nearby Arc et Senans, is aesthetically beautiful (for the parents), and clearly transmits the importance of salt harvesting in the time of the French royalty.

Picnic spots in the vineyards, more waterfalls (including a spectacular one walking distance from our hotel), a trout farm, underground caverns... a beautiful resort-like setting, à la française.
Variable k
Saturday
A SHORT MORNING RIDE
A morning ride through the vineyards brings us to a railway junction in Mouchard, from whence trains are available towards Paris, Switzerland, Germany, and all points everywhere.  The ambitious can instead train to the Jura's biggest city, Besançon, for lunch and exploration.  The trip disbands at the end of the morning, in either Arbois or Mouchard (ongoing train service is the same from either point).
4 - 15 k

Chocolate Box Jura Family Trip — Facts & Figures
2015 Dates
Baggage Services
Offered**
(optional)
Difficulty of the Ride

Not Currently Scheduled

$2,195 US
$2,695 C
1,750 €
Daily
Easy to Moderate

A couple of long days, but you can shorten anything more or less on-demand.  Back-ups are good.  A few “walking” hills (you are in the mountains...); if you voluntarily go up a few more, you have a “Moderate” or a “Challenging” ride on your hands.

* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.  Click here for details.


Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
Currency
$ prices include the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
$US
$150
$340
$C
$180
$425
€uros
130€
295€
130€

Family Pricing / Child Discounts
Age of Child
Desired Lodging
Under 2
2 - 5
6 - 11
12 - 19
Sharing Parents’ Room**
Price* =
$350 US / $395 C / 275€
Price* =
$625 US / $698 C / 495€
40% discount on trip price, net of cycle cost
20% discount on trip price, net of cycle cost
Not in Parents’ Room
30% reduction on base trip cost,
net of cycle cost***
(includes use of high quality child monitors)
20% reduction on trip price, net of cycle cost***
Conditions

*Prices for children 0 - 5 do not include rental bike equipment. 
Child seats, trailers, and tagalong bikes are available at additional cost.

** With separate bed (crib or pack-and-play for children 2 and under)

***The trip’s Private Single Room charge will apply if the child occupies a single room.

________________________________________

  • Discount triple rooms (used by three children) may be twin rooms with an extra bed.

  • Quad parent-and-child “family” rooms cannot be guaranteed, as not all hotels have them, and certainly not in sufficient quantity for multiple families.  When available, they will typically be rooms with one double bed and two single beds.  If you are two parents travelling with two children over 2 years old, you may request such a room when you sign up for the trip.  But you must be willing to accept the alternate (and less discounted) solution of two separate-but-proximate rooms.  If a quad can be assigned at some stops and not others, the additional discount will be pro-rated.  Available quads will be assigned in order of trip sign-up.

  • Child discounts are not cumulable with any other commercial discount, such as “student” or “group” discounts, or discounts accorded to the Founders of Guest-Initiated Trips.  In all cases, the larger discount will be used.












Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... La Cure (on the French / Swiss border)
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Arbois / Mouchard