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The Jewel in Caesar’s Crown

By Linda Tancs

Julius Caesar described the ancient city of Besançon in eastern France as the jewel in his crown. No wonder, considering its strategic location in the loops of the Doubs River among key trans-European routes. Long a free city-state within the Holy Roman Empire, the French ultimately prevailed in acquiring control, building an imposing citadel (a UNESCO site) to block the neck of the river bend. A well-preserved historic city largely overlooked by tourists, the locale’s jewel in the crown this time of year is its classical music festival, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious events. It’s particularly known for its competition featuring young conductors.

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