Bienvenue a Montbeliard- a bizarre, quaint town in the Franche-Comte. As I mentioned at the beginning there is a beautiful chateau, an old city center, beautiful rolling hills, and a plethora of vibrant flowers, as it is a four flower city, the highest flower rating a city can get (weird French thing). Oh and of course don’t forget the fog and rain.
The German, protestant, and Peugeot influences make Montbeliard quite unique.The working class, industrial influence is palpable in the lack of bars, the hard-working mentality of the people, and lack of life on Sundays or after work. So unFrench. However, in spite of this, Montbeliard has pockets of charm.
For example, Montbeliardians love their festivals. Whether it’s fall, winter, or spring- they always find a way for a good ol’ fashioned fête.
The Noël Marche was the longest and most memorable fête. Montbeliard took the wonderful tradition from Germany of illuminating the winter and setting up wooden huts in the center filled with food, crafts, and gifts. It was visual feast of colors and decor as well as a wonderfully merry way to get into the holiday spirit.
Best things from the marche:
- Vin Chaud– Hot, mulled, wine. Delicious and warm.
- Pere Noël and Pere Foutard– Montbeliard is far enough North to have the presence of two Santa figures- the gracious, candy bestowing Father Christmas and the Dark, punishing Whipping Father. Better be nice.
- Mont d’Or– The most decadent, delicious, hot, melted cheese. Usually served over potatoes.
- Marrons grilles– Delicious grilled nuts. They actually smell better than they taste
- Vin Chaud– No mistake. It’s really just that wonderful.
And then there were my favorite places, Les Alizés, a delicious Bretagne inspired creperie, Marco Polo, a sweet Italian restaurant, Obrien’s pub, where Thursday’s karaoke saved our sanity and served much laughter…
…And then the gem of Montbeliard, the Chat Toque. With free wifi, darling decor, delicious homemade pastries, charming old timey french music, and the sweetest servers, the Chat Toque is hands down one of the best cafes I’ve been to in France. I highly recommend the apple crumble.
So if you like festivals, flowers, castles or cool cafes. Give Montbeliard a short visit. Just don’t stay too long or you’ll face the rain.