If Montbéliard in Doubs looks nothing like a French town it’s because it wasn’t actually French until the Revolution. Before that it had been in of the Duchy of Württemberg, and that German flavour is still obvious today. When the population swelled at the start of the 1600s Montbéliard was updated by a Swabian master architect, and a lot of the houses, churches and engineering from this project remain.
Meanwhile if you’re an automobile fan you may be excited to hear that Sochaux next door is the home of Peugeot. There’s an awesome museum taking you back to the brand’s humble origins, while its factory, the largest, most high-tech car plant in France, is open for tours.
Lets explore the best things to do in Montbeliard:
1. Château de Montbéliard
There has been a castle resting on this crag above the confluence of the Allan and Lizaine Rivers since the 900s.
Needless to say things have changed a lot over time, and the building is now a maze of interconnecting rooms, mostly from the 1700s.
The oldest elements on the outside are the two bulky circular towers, dating to the 1400s and crowned with lanterns.
But the building’s value lies in what it symbolises, as the seat of the Dukes of Württemberg and a residence for historical figures like Margravine Friederike of Brandenburg-Schwedt.
She is an ancestor to several monarchs reigning today, like the current Queens of England and Denmark and the Kings of the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Spain.