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Places to visit Leisure, Sports, Festivals... Places to visit around Pontarlier Hotels, Restaurants, Camping...

General Information

Pontarlier is located near the Swiss border, at the foot of Jura mountains and is known to be the second highest town in France. Its industrial dynamism and its numerous activities and year-round sports also make it the "Haut Doubs" (High Doubs) region's economic and touristic capital.
It is a convenient base into the outdoors, with access to countless ski runs, both downhill and cross-country. 18km (11 miles) from Pontarlier, six villages got together to create the resort called "Métabief Mont d'Or". This resort lies at the foot of the Mont d'Or mountain (altitude 1,463 meters) and offers many winter and summer activities.
In the 19th Century, Pontarlier was the capital of "absinthe", an aperitif drink with a very high alcohol content, and it was an important industry here until it was banned in 1915. The town keeps the distillery tradition alive by producing the "Anis of Pontarlier", a drink to which water is added.


Old Town

Eglise St. Bénigne

A church from 15th century, rebuilt in the 17th Century, and housing some valuable sculptures.

Porte St. Pierre

It is an "Arc de Triomphe" erected to celebrate the rebuilding of the town and to commemorate the French conquest of the Franche-Comte in 1678.

"Musée Municipal": A 16th Century bourgeois house converted to a museum of local history.

"Ancienne Chapelle des Annonciades": A chapel, converted to an exhibition center.


"ESPERA" Automobile Exhibition

An exhibition center of dream cars created by the automobile stylist Franco Sbarro. He hopes to share his passion and knowledge by opening a training school.

Skiing | Mountain Biking | Tennis | Swimming pool | Canoeing | Fishing | Hiking | Horseback Riding


Chateau de Joux

A Castle located 5 km (3 miles) south of Pontarlier, at an altitude of 940 meters. Perched on a steep hill, this castle with its 1000 years of history is evidence of the evolution of defensive structures through the ages: massive towers from the Middle Ages, bastions from the time of the architect Vauban, the relatively modern fort built in front of the castle by Joffre from 1879 and three moats with drawbridges.

The castle is home to an arms museum with fine collections from the 18th and 19th Century, including several exceptionally rare pieces.
Every summer the castle houses the "Festival des nuits de Joux" (Festival of Joux's nights).


A town known for its 11th Century abbey, one of Jura's most beautiful architectural monuments. Its sculpted wood stalls are remarkable.


A mountain village offering a remarkable site for cross-country skiing. It boasts a typical 17th Century farmhouse of the Haut-Doubs area, listed in the National Register of Historical Landmarks. Daily life then, was centered around a large chimney called "tuyé", when smoking meats, baking bread and making cheese...


A town known for its fine clockmaking and a clock museum retracing the history of this industry from the end of the last century to the present. A famous gastronomic speciality of the town is the smoked sausage called Saucisse de Morteau.

Natural sites

Lake St. Point

At 900 meters of altitude, in a valley enclosed at both end by mountains, it is the biggest lake of the Doubs, stretching on 8 km (5 miles).

The Grand Taureau

11 Km (8 miles) south of Pontarlier, this summit (elevation 1,328 m) offers a spectacular view of the whole Jura Massif and the Alps.

Mont d'Or

Mountain with an elevation of 1463 m (4,799 feet), overlooking the Alps. It gave its name to the Métabief Mont d'Or resort. It is one of the best places for skiing in winter and for mountain biking in summer.

Saut du Doubs

Spectacular waterfall of the Doubs river, 27 m (88 feet) high, classified as the 1st natural site in Franche-Comte. From the town of Villers-le-Lac, excursion boats follow the river's meanders through picturesque gorges. At the Saut du Doubs, a path leads to the 2 viewpoints overlooking the waterfall.
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