Forest of Chaux

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Forest of Chaux
French: Forêt de Chaux
Grand-Contour la gare.JPG
The defunct railroad station of Grand-Contour, situated within the forest
Map showing the location of Forest of Chaux
Map showing the location of Forest of Chaux
Location Jura, Franche-Comté, France
Coordinates 47°04′03″N 5°34′50″E / 47.06754°N 5.58042°E / 47.06754; 5.58042Coordinates: 47°04′03″N 5°34′50″E / 47.06754°N 5.58042°E / 47.06754; 5.58042
Area 204 square kilometres (79 sq mi)
Status Dominial
Governing body National Forests Office
Dominant tree species Sessile oak

The Forest of Chaux is the second largest forest in France. Its 20,493 hectares are located in the region of Franche-Comté on the plains west of the Jura mountains.

Exploitation of the forest dates back to the thirteenth century, and there is an ancient tradition of raftsmen floating timber down the Loue to the Saône and the Rhone, and thence to the Mediterranean. Today, the "Confrérie Saint Nicolas" maintains the raftsman tradition on the Loue.[clarification needed]

When Franche-Comté became part of France in 1678, the Crown took possession of the Forest because of its potential for supplying timber for the Royal navy. In 1779, Louis XIV ordered the construction of the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans near the forest so that the works could use its wood to produce salt by boiling brine.