Montbéliard in Franche-Comté was once the property of the dukes of Württemberg, sitting in peaceful countryside on the Swiss border, and is the home of Peugeot cars.
Ruled by the Dukes of Württemberg for more than 8 centuries, Montbéliard is still home to their medieval castle, the Château des Ducs de Württemberg, which stands proudly on a rocky outcrop in the town centre. Brought under the ownership of this German family by the marriage of Henriette, Countess of Montbéliard to Eberhard IV, Count of Württemberg, the town soon became a German Protestant enclave in Catholic France. Montbéliard is probably most famous as the home of Peugeot, which has one of its main manufacturing plants in the town and its founder Armand Peugeot was born nearby. There is even the Peugeot Adventure Museum where you can discover the history of one of the world's first car manufacturers and visit a nearby restoration workshop where a team of specialists are restoring Peugeot's from days gone by. Inside the château you'll discover the castle museum with collections relating to natural history and archaeology, contemporary art, and, of course, the château itself with many portraits of the dukes and duchesses of Württemberg. Find out more about the history of the town with a visit to the Museum of Art and History in the Beurnier-Rossel mansion whose Grand Salon is an historical monument. It also holds a rare collection of L'Epee music boxes in the attic.
For those who like to get outdoors, there is much to do around Montbéliard. The EuroVelo 6 route passes through the town, past the pretty marina, travelling across Europe from the Atlantic coast to the Black Sea. There are other cycle routes and hiking trails including La Coulée verte and the path of remembrance and peace. Visit the 84 acre base nautiques du pays de Montbéliard, a lake just 8km north of Montbéliard, which has a sandy beach popular with swimmers and which opens from mid-June to September. It is also great for other water sports including windsurfing, water-skiing and sailing as well as having numerous routes for joggers, walkers and mountain-bikers. Relax in Montbéliard's beautiful parks and gardens, or take a picnic. The Parc du Près-la-Rose even hosts concerts in the summer. Montbéliard caters well for children and was named a child-friendly city in 2009. It hosts festivals for them such as Festival des Mômes, which is dedicated to creativity, and the Citadédroi Montbéliard - a week of workshops, games and performances focused on educating about children's rights. The town also hosts several other festivals throughout the year including a carnival in April, the clown festival, Festival du Nez Rouge, hosted biannually in May and a medieval festival at the end of September. If you visit around Christmas time, be sure to visit the fantastic Christmas market and see the wonderful Christmas lights!
Wander the streets of Montbéliard to find boutiques, bakeries, clothes shops and more. Buy some traditional gifts such as the diari, a woman's cap designed to cover a bun that was symbol of Protestantism and often made from satin or dark velvet, or perhaps a souvenir made with the design of verquelure, a fabric of plaid hemp cloth, traditionally blue and white, that is synonymous with the town? The most famous food speciality from the area has to be the saucisse de Montbéliard, a sausage gently smoked over sawdust and seasoned with garlic and cumin that has been made here since the 14th century. The area is also famous for Montbéliarde cattle whose beef has AOC status and whose milk is used to make comté cheese. Other specialities to try include Audicourt pie, or croque-rave, which is made with ham, mushrooms, chicken and raves salées (similar to sauerkraut), and toutché cake, that is made from brioche dough and can be sweet or savoury. Enjoy your meal with wines from the Jura region.
Region: Franche Comté
Holidays in France
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