Even if you’ve never heard of the name ‘Louis Pasteur’ before, no doubt you’ll have benefitted in some shape or form from one of his discoveries. Because not only did Pasteur uncover the pasteurisation method that is so-named for him today, but he also discovered rabies and anthrax vaccinations. The French scientist hailed from Dole, a long-forgotten town in Jura. And for those who wish to follow in the footsteps of Louis Pasteur in Dole, here’s a quick guide!
Collegiale Notre Dame de Dole
Like seemingly every other city in France, the town’s main church (a collegiate church rather than a cathedral owing to the lack of a Bishop’s See) is called ‘Notre Dame’. Extensively restored during the past decade or so, it was in the Collegiale Notre Dame de Dole where Louis Pasteur was baptised on the 15th 0f January 1823.
The collegiate church itself dates back to the 16th-century. While the choir and nave were constructed between 1509 and 1574, the clocher (bell tower/ belfry) was a later addition, only being added in 1596. Today, entrance to the church is free, though bear in mind that you won’t be able to wander around freely on a Sunday when mass is taking place.
Free walk around guides with descriptions of the stained glass windows, 2000+ pipe organ, and Renaissance furniture can be found in French and German. And for the very best view of Dole? Head to the tourist office, ask nicely, and if available, you can borrow the keys to ascend the 200+ steps to the top of Dole Belfry to get a bird’s eye perspective of the city from above!
Musée Pasteur / Maison Natale de Pasteur
In the heart of a maze of cobbled streets and timber-framed houses that form the historic quarter of Dole, the Maison Natale de Pasteur lies on the edge of the Canal des Tanneurs, a pretty waterway in the middle of the city. You’ll know you’re in the right place (address 43 Rue Pasteur, 39100 Dole) when you spy a small memorial garden dedicated to Pasteur outside the house.
Pretty and well kept, this small garden signals the entryway to two doors. The door on the right will lead you down a few steps to the free-to-visit basement. This area is dedicated to the history of tanneries in Dole, of which Louis Pasteur’s father was one.
Head through the door on the left, up the stairs and you’ll soon discover the birthplace of Pasteur. Since transformed into a museum, that you’ll have to pay a few euro to enter, this is the first museum dedicated to Pasteur in France. Once inside you can expect to find a series of interactive exhibitions about Pasteur’s discoveries, as well as what life would have been like in Dole during the early 19th-century.
La Fresque des Dolois, Rue de la sous-préfecture
For a glimpse of more of Dole’s most famous residents, you simply must head to the Dole Mural in the heart of town. Minutes away from the tourist office, on Rue de la sous-préfecture, this trompe l’oeil work of art covers a windowless building next to the space where a wooden pub called Le Bar Jurassien once stood.
Now a square, from this newly opened space you can even spy the unique staircases of Terrier de Santans. Back in the square, the mural is reminiscent of those in Lyon and covers a larger than life space, commemorating many of the city’s most famous residents. Created in 2017 by the ‘Haut Les Murs’ fresco painters, among famous people featured are Louis Pasteur and Jean Boyvin.
How to visit Dole, Jura, France
Situated among swathes of vineyards and a mass of limestone hills, the small town of Dole was once the busy, bustling and prosperous capital of the Burgundy region. All this changed when Louis XIV (the Sun King of Versailles) conquered the region and moved the town’s university and administrative centre to Besançon.
Back in the present day, this means that Dole has been left in history and retains a distinctively historic feel which becomes particularly apparent when wandering around the maze of pedestrianised cobbled lanes in the historic centre. Now, Dole can be found in the Franche-Comté region and is located alongside the River Doubs, somewhere on the train line between France’s greenest city, Besançon, and the French capital city of mustard, Dijon.
As a result, Dole Ville can be reached as an easy day trip on the train from either city within around half an hour. Tickets are typically priced around €10 one way from Dijon to Dole and just half that if you’re under 26. If you’re looking to stay longer, then Dole has a series of accommodation options, the best prices of which can be found here.