The education authority
Despite being rather small in terms of its school population (around 30 lycées), Besançon education authority is rather large in terms of its size, lying at the foot of the Vosges (Alsace) to the north, close to Lyon to the south and between Dijon, to the west, and the Swiss border, to the east.
Winters here can be very cold, particularly in the mountainous regions of the Jura, which form the border between France and Switzerland and are a popular destination among skiers. The Franche Comté region also experiences regular rainfall, which is why it is so magnificently green!
One major university city, Besançon, which is also one of the greenest cities in France, a handful of medium-sized towns (Belfort, Lons-le-Saunier, etc.) and many smaller towns (Dole, Vesoul, Luxeuil, etc.), all of which also offer post-baccalauréat courses, hence the number of young students in the region. The north of the region is an industrial hub dealing primarily with other EU countries and Switzerland.
The largest towns and cities can be reached by train (2hrs 30mins from Paris on the TGV) and a network of regional trains and buses linking the smaller towns. Basel-Mulhouse airport is 1hr 30 minutes by road from Besançon.
Tourist and cultural attractions
The education authority is home to 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, these being the city of Besançon and the fortifications designed by Vauban, the military architect of Louis XIV, and the Salines Royales ('Royal Saltworks') of Arc-et-Senans, by visionary 18th-Century architect C.N. Ledoux. The region also hosts a large number of musical events, from the Besançon international classical music festival to the Eurockéennes rock music festival held in Belfort, not forgetting the Belfort International Festival of University Music, and is home to a wide variety of choirs and music training courses. The karstic landscape of the region, as celebrated by painter Gustave Courbet, provides an ideal setting for hiking, mountain-biking, climbing, canoe-kayaking and cross-country and downhill skiing at its numerous winter sports resorts (green tourism). It also boasts a number of museums of fine art and local tradition, whilst Jura wines, traditional local beers, salted meats, wild mushrooms and cheeses (Comté) feature heavily in the gastronomy of the region.
Alsace, Germany, Switzerland and Lyon are all close by, with a public transport network serving all of these destinations. The region has maintained its traditional, provincial nature whilst at the same time developing an international outlook thanks to its population of students from around the world (Centre of Applied Linguistics, European academic mobility programmes, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Micro-Mécanique ('National School of Micromechanics'), etc.).
The place of the teaching assistant within the education authority
Host school setup
There are five lycées in Besançon itself and one in each town in more rural areas.
Specifics of the role of the assistant within the education authority
Assistants are assigned to lycées and may be required to work a few hours at a collège or a vocational lycée in the same town if these establishments are working on a particular international project (such as the Section Européenne, an exchange programme with another country, an innovative educational project, etc.).
Almost allassistants are given free or low-rent accommodation (around €100 + bills included) at the lycée.