Saint-Pierre door© Philippe Ohrel
• 6-times stage-town
• Population 19,300
• Sub-prefecture if the Doubs (25)
A town in the countryside, set in the heart of vast fir tree forests, at an altitude of 840 metres, Pontarlier is a town that enjoys year-round sport and cultural events.
Economic capital of the Haut-Doubs region, positioned at the crossroads of major transport routes (N 57, high-speed rail station (TGV), Pontarlier remains a booming business district. Its industrial fabric (food industry with Nestlé, mechanics, construction trade, transformation of metal and wood…) ranks highly as a result of the national and international impact of its large industrial groups, together with the 150 small and medium-sized companies and 320 craftsmen and local trades that are also part of the commune.
To describe Pontarlier’s heritage is to evoke relics from the Middle-Ages like the ramparts or the Porte Saint-Pierre (Triumphal Arch); the entrance to the 17th century church of the Annonciades and the Capucins chapel; the 18th century Marguet Barracks; the former distilleries, reminders of the absinthe years, when this aperitif guaranteed the town’s economic prosperity and worldwide reputation; but without a doubt Pontarlier’s most beautiful monument remains the Saint-Bénigne church (15th-20th century), with its stained glass windows, created by Alfred Manessier (1974).
The Attelas© Verbier Bagnes Tourism
• 1st-time stage-town
• Population 2,700
• Village located in the township of Bagnes in Valais canton (Switzerland)
Verbier: a name that is internationally acclaimed and associated with an active holiday in a stunning alpine setting. The resort sits in a sun-drenched bowl facing south-west towards the Massif des Combins and Mont-Blanc.
The adventure began in the 1920s when a few skiers regularly hiked up – on foot! – the snow covered slopes. More and more tourists started flocking to the resort and in 1950 the first lift system was installed.
Today, Verbier forms part of the 4 Valleys, the largest ski area in Switzerland, with 410 kilometres of ski runs.
Activity in Verbier is dedicated to a comprehensive range of winter sports and the 4 Valleys ski area is a skier’s paradise.
During the summer months, Verbier is home to active leisure activities and illustrious events like the Verbier Festival and the Grand Raid. Hiking, mountain biking, golf and paragliding are proposed, along with a classical music festival, a horse show and visits to further acquaintance with local traditions.