FRANCE FRANCE-COMTE BELFORT Belfort Lion of Belfort WikiBelfort (pop 50,700) is a relatively new member of the Franche-Comté region. The city is also known as the Territorie du Belfort and it has a unique cultural identity, thanks to its location on the Belfort Gap, which stands at the doorstep of Switzerland, sandwiched between France and Germany. Belfort is sheltered by the Vosges and Jura and is the only French region, where two mountain ranges meet.

The city’s centrepiece is the Vauban Citadel [Le Château Citadelle de la Liberté +33 384228422 ad/ch €7/Free (including museum admission)], which stands imposingly on a rock face. This citadel was built by Vauban and was used as a military stronghold, as it withheld a 103-day siege by the Prussians in 1870. Today the monumental structure as well as its ‘guardian’ lion located at its foot, stand as a reminder of Belfort’s resistance to the Prussians in 1870 and 71. During this time, Belfort fought to remain French, while the rest of Alsace became part of the German empire. The 11m lion statue is an icon of the city and was sculpted by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi of Statue of Liberty fame. Today, the citadel functions as a historic site on its own, as well as the home of the local Musée d’Histoire.

Belfort is also quick to remind us that it is still a place for the young and vibrant, as it  plays host to two popular festivals annually- the Les Eurocknées in July, and the international Entre Vues film festival in November.



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BELFORT:   1. Tourist office  2. Train station  3. Vauban Citadel  4. Lion of Belfort