Office de Tourisme des Coteaux du Jura

Natura 2000 sites

Blind valleys in Haute Seille

These intriguing blind valleys with their remote, abrupt endings embody one of the most representative landscapes of the Jura. There are many of them in this area. In addition to the must-see example of Baume-les-Messieurs, other blind valleys await you in Haute Seille : in Ladoye-sur-Seille, Blois-sur-Seille. Only the name "Reculée" links them, the setting of each being quite different.


What is a “Reculée”?

 The Reculées are one of the most typical landscapes in the Jura.

Literally meaning “remote”, the geographical term was defined in the 19th century from a local word “culee” which had been used for a long time to denote these curious blind valleys or box canyons.

For geographers, a blind valley is a long valley through a limestone plateau which has horizontal layers, but which terminates suddenly in a cliff face, at the bottom of a limestone amphitheatre, where a river resurfaces.

The Baume les Messieurs Blind Valley is by far the best example of a blind valley. It cuts through the limestone plateau in the form of a branched valley, each branch finishes at an amphitheatre from where a river springs which then feeds into the Seille. Although it has many small branches the two main branches are 4km long, passing out into lower ground. The northern branch leads to the village of Ladoye sur Seille, passing by Blois sur Seille, and the southern branch heads towards the village of Baume les Messieurs.


Bresse Jurassienne : Natura 2000 represents 80% of the territory

Ponds and forests are a natural heritage and a wild area where the fauna and flora have been preserved. Several measures have been taken under the European label « Natura 2000 » to protect the environment, which proves the importance and the fragility of the biodiversity around the ponds. 30 villages out of 37, which means 80% of the territory, enforce the measures.    


The Mancy hill

What is called « la Côte de Mancy » is a typical example of the landscapes resulting from the erosion of vast geological limestone formation  in the Jura range.The plateau, perched 155 yards over the plain around Lons le Saunier, spreads over 113 acres. On the west side the slope is gentle whereas the east side is steep (cliffs and scree).

A favourable orientation, thin soils, a poor capacity to retain water, and the absence of any enriching agents give this environment the characteristics of calcareous soil  grass.

A few miles from the nature reserve of the Gravelle cave, the « Côte de Mancy » is one of the main places providing food (insects) to the colonies of  bats living there.



The unexpected saxifrage de Gizia

These little white flowers measuring 4 to 10 centimetres in height grow at an altitude of 450 metres on the Reculée de Gizia. This area of special ecological and wildlife interest (ZNIEFF) shelters their kingdom, where several hundreds of clumps are scattered over a 400 metre-long area.

Watch out carefully for this rare, discreet, iconic endemic species.