Over the centuries, the small department of Territoire de Belfort has been the scene of a fierce battle. Reason: clashes between the Germanic and Latin cultures who lived close together, one in the Rhine and Danube valleys and the others in the Rhône valley. And in time, not exactly in a peaceful way. Proof can be found in the city the territory is named after, Belfort.
Belfort is a lively old town with a unique example of military heritage: the fortifications built in the 19th century to keep the Prussians at bay. They have been beautifully preserved and you can walk around freely. The impressive Lion of Bartholdi carved in stone watches over the fortress and symbolizes the audacity of its inhabitants. The artist after whom the lion was named has also designed the Statue of Liberty in New York.
There is much to see in and around the 'Citadel de Belfort' and in the season many activities are organized for children. The city itself, which has a beautiful historic center, is worth seeing. There are two major art museums, a beautiful indoor market and many music and cultural events take place. Every first Sunday of the month, from March to December, the streets of the historic center are dominated by one of the largest flea markets in Eastern France. The first weekend of September, the 'Vol de montgolfières' takes place. Then dozens of manned hot air balloons rise from the fortifications, good for a colorful spectacle.
The Territoire-de-Belfort is not only proud of its military heritage. The industrial heritage has also been well preserved. Beautiful examples are Giromagny, which thanks to the medieval silver and copper mines, once had more inhabitants than Belfort. Beaucourt, had a huge clockwork industry which existed until 1979. Brebotte has a large craft museum, Botan a farm museum and in Étueffont we learn everything about the profession of blacksmith. Montreux-Château is a city for lovers of sailing and pleasure cruising, where the Rhône-Rhine Canal of 236 km runs through, dug in 1883. Beautiful plane trees line the banks and were planted in the past to protect the boaters against the sun.
In addition to urban beauty and culture, the Territoire-de-Belfort offers unspoilt nature. Depending on the season, the 'Ballon d'Alsace' offers endless cross-country skiing and hiking opportunities. In flatter areas, more than 70 km of green cycle routes are indicated as 'voies vertes'. Wonderful beaches and water sports facilities can be found on Lake Malsaucy.
The Territoire-de-Belfort having experienced so many battles in the past, is located in the former Franche-Comté region. Taste various regional dishes: treat yourself to a special cuisine. The famous sauerkraut is based on the region's white wines. Not to be missed 'Coq au Riesling'. Another regional specialty is 'L'epaule du Ballon', a deboned lamb shoulder, filled with blueberries. The same blueberry determines the taste of the 'Brimbal', a fruity aperitif appreciated by the local inhabitants. The French like to go to the market on Saturday mornings to buy their food. This is also possible in Belfort, Delle, Giromagny, Grandvillars and Valdoie.