Haute Saone

The Via Francigena runs through the wooded country of the Haute Marne department, rising towards the Vosges for a distance of 65km, with alternative route totaling 32km.

Named after the Saone River, this small departement is a rural backwater. But 130km of the river are navigable and form a lovely walking route. At Ronchamp is a World Heritage site, Le Corbusier’s masterpiece, the white chapel complex of Notre Dame du Haut, replacing a 4th century building destroyed in the 2nd World War. The Ballons des Vosges regional park is an area of wooded rolling hills with many footpaths.

It’s a transitional zone between the depressed border departements and the centralized areas where the French economy flourishes. The towns are very small, with even the capital, Vesoul, having less than 20,000 people. Agriculture is still a major source of employment, but there is some small-scale industry.

History of Haute Saone

As for the whole of this area, Haute Saone was occupied by the Romans then became part of the Empire of Charlemagne, It’s early history as a departement was marked by the Napoleonic wars with Germany. Local battalions fought unsuccessfully and the Austrians occupied the area for three years. In the 1870’s war returned with the war against Prussia, resulting in the annexation of neighbouring Alsace to Prussia.

The area escaped the awful destruction of the 1st world war, but became a resistance centre during the second, with fighters hiding in the forests and mountains.

The first industrialization was based on mineral resources – oil, precious metals, iron, and salt. So metalworks and textiles developed early. However, as small-scale industry was replaced by larger scale development in the north, the population declined to an all-time low after the 2nd world war, and has still not recovered. More info

Interesting Places in Haute Saone

Champlitte (Commune de Champlitte)

Champlitte was at the junction of Roman roads, and remains of ancient villas have been found nearby. Perched on a low hill, it has a great chateau and earlier medieval buildings.


Tunnel de Savoyeux

The route passes this tunnel and marina on the canal system near Seveux and the Saone river

Frasne le chateau

The huge chateau is now an historic hotel complete with antiques; the village has another chateau, other 16th C houses and an ancient fountain.

Bucey-lès-Gy (Commune de Bucey-lès-Gy)

A’ small city of character’, on the slopes of the Mont de Gy. The Church of St Martin, which is on a hillock above the town, has a flamboyant 15th C bell-tower.



A village of winding streets of stone houses and a small chateau.

Cussey sur L’Ognon

This bridge marks the division between Haute Saone and Doubs.


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