Besançon is the capital of the department of Doubs in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. The city is located in Eastern France, close to the Jura Mountains and the border with Switzerland.
Capital of the historic and cultural region of Franche-Comté, Besançon is home to the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté regional council headquarters, and is an important administrative centre in the region. It is also the seat of one of the fifteen French ecclesiastical provinces and one of the two divisions of the French Army.
In 2018 the city had a population of 116,775, in a metropolitan area of 279,191, the second in the region in terms of population.
Established in a meander of the Doubs river, the city was already important during the Gallo-Roman era under the name of Vesontio, capital of the Sequani. Its geography and specific history turned it into a military stronghold, a garrison city, a political centre, and a religious capital.
Besançon is the historical capital of watchmaking in France. This has led it to become a centre for innovative companies in the fields of microtechnology, micromechanics, and biomedical engineering.
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