Besançon is a massive fortress near Switzerland's border that has earned several accolades—it was declared France's first green city, and its Citadel has become a UNESCO heritage site. In 58 BCE, it was taken by Caesar, and a thousand years later, it became a free imperial city liberated by a Holy Roman Emperor. Few landscapes are as saturated in history as this one, but it has a contemporary side to its character, too. The Guardian called it "the French City that tourism passed by", but that only makes tours to the region more rewarding. Without crowds and queues to waste your day away, you can explore its gorgeous squares and belle époque bars in style. Approach Besançon with every inch of your curiosity intact because it's heaven for avid explorers. The nearest Enterprise Rent-A-Car branch is at Dijon Train Station, about an hour's train ride away.