An aerial view of Belfort with the cathedral of Saint-Christophe in the foreground
|Department||Territoire de Belfort|
|Canton||Cantons of Belfort-Centre, Belfort-Est, Belfort-Nord, Belfort-Ouest, and Belfort-Sud|
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Damien Meslot|
|Area1||17.10 km2 (6.60 sq mi)|
|• Density||2,900/km2 (7,600/sq mi)|
|• Urban (2008)||112,336|
|INSEE/Postal code||90010 / 90000|
|Elevation||354–650 m (1,161–2,133 ft)
(avg. 358 m or 1,175 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Belfort (French pronunciation: [bɛl.fɔʁ]) is a city in north-east France in the Franche-Comté région, situated between Lyon and Strasbourg. It is the biggest town and the administrative town of the Territoire de Belfort département in the Franche-Comté region. Belfort is 400 km (249 mi) from Paris, 141 km (88 mi) from Strasbourg, 290 km (180 mi) from Lyon and 150 km (93 mi) from Zürich. The residents of the city are called ‘’Belfortains’’. It is located on the Savoureuse, on the strategically important natural route between the Rhine and the Rhône – the Belfort Gap (Trouée de Belfort) or Burgundian Gate (Porte de Bourgogne). The city of Belfort has 50,199 inhabitants. Together with its suburbs and satellite towns, Belfort forms the largest agglomeration (metropolitan area) in Franche-Comté region with an urban population of 308,601 inhabitants.
Previously an Austrian possession, Belfort was transferred to France by the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), that ended the Thirty Years' War. The town's fortifications were extended and developed by the military architect Vauban for Louis XIV.
Until 1871, Belfort was part of the département of Haut-Rhin, in Alsace. The Siege of Belfort, between 3 November 1870 and 18 February 1871, was successfully resisted until the garrison was ordered to surrender 21 days after the armistice between France and Prussia. Because this part of Alsace was French-speaking, while the rest of Alsace was German-speaking, the area around Belfort was not annexed by the Prussians. It formed, as it still does, the Territoire de Belfort. The siege is commemorated by a huge statue, the Lion of Belfort, by Frédéric Bartholdi.
Alsatians who sought a new French home in Belfort made a significant contribution to its industry (see Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques).
The town was bombarded by the German army during World War I and occupied by it during World War II. In November 1944 the retreating German army held the French First Army before the town until French Commandos made a successful night attack on the Salbert Fort. Belfort was liberated on 22 November 1944.
Belfort is a heavy industries place, mostly dedicated to railway and turbines. Belfort is the hometown of Alstom where the first TGVs (Trains à Grande Vitesse, High Speed Trains) were produced. As well as of the GE Energy European headquarter and centre of excellence for the manufacturing of gas turbines.
Like many other European cities, motor traffic in Belfort increases continually and dominates transport. Belfort is situated at only 25 mi (40 km) from the commercial port of Mulhouse-Rhin which allows international transit. Motorway A36 from Beaune to Mulhouse is routed around the south and east parts of the city. It forms the main axis linking Belfort to other French and foreign cities. A national road, N19, is another main road which joins the south of Belfort with Paris, Nancy and Switzerland.
EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is located about 60 km (37 mi) east of Belfort and takes an hour to drive.
Belfort is well connected with the rest of France, major destinations such as Paris, Dijon, Besançon, Mulhouse, Strasbourg, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier and Lille being directly possible by train., including high-speed trains. Some trains operate into Switzerland, such as Basel and Zürich stations. There is also a train service to Frankfurt am Main in Germany.
- Gare de Belfort is the main railway station in the centre of the city.
- Gare de Belfort – Montbéliard TGV is the high speed railway station, 9 km (6 mi) south of the city.
After 2015, regional trains will connect Belfort with Belfort-Montbéliard TGV station using the new Belfort–Delle railway link. This service will open Belfort and its area to Switzerland and Swiss towns like Delémont, Bern, Fribourg and Lausanne will be connected to Paris and other cities by the high-speed train net. Before 2020, the service Épinal-Belfort will be electrified and modernized. This will allow a link between LGV Est and LGV Rhin-Rhône in Belfort-Montbéliard TGV station, opening new destinations like Nancy, Metz and Luxembourg.
A local bus network operates within the city. The name of service is Optymo. You can find the updated details in the following site. www.optymo.fr. Tickets can be bought from any newsagent in the city. Alternatively, a user can send a sms 'BUS' to 84100 and show the confirmation sms as a ticket.
The region of Belfort already has cycling tracks of around 70 km (43 mi) and still more are under construction. Visit tourisme office for the latest cycle tracks. Coulée verte in the west, malsaucy-giromany in the north and the Euro Velo6 is just around 20 km (12 mi) to the south. Numerous cycling events are organised,enabling people to explore the area in the company of an official guide.
- Belfort is the home of the Lion of Belfort, a sculpture (that expressed people's resistance against the siege in the Franco-Prussian War (1870)) by Frédéric Bartholdi – who shortly afterwards built the Statue of Liberty in New York.
- The Belfort Citadel - A unique example of Vauban pentagonal fortifications.
- The Belfort Cathedral, 18th century
- The old town
- The Belfort city museums are structured within three main poles:
- History (from archeology to military) in the old barracks on the top of the citadel.
- Art (mainly from 16th to 19th century) in the Tour 41.
- Modern Art in the Donation Jardot.
- Since July 2007, a tourist sight of the citadel has been open to the public – with a sound-, video- and light-animated trail in the moats and the big underpass of the citadel. Its name: "La Citadelle de la Liberté" (Citadel of Liberty).
- By climbing on a tall building or going up the nearby mountains on a clear day, the ice-capped mountains of the Alps in Switzerland can be seen.
- Grand souterrain de la citadelle de Belfort- An underground passage of Belfort Citadel.
Belfort's best known cultural event is the annual Eurockéennes, one of France's largest rock music festivals.
Belfort is also well known for hosting the annual Festival International de Musique Universitaire (FIMU) held in May each year. FIMU usually involves over 250 concerts at different locations around the city and around 2500 musicians, most of them students or amateur groups from countries across Europe and the rest of the world. Music styles performed are extremely diverse and include traditional, folk, rock, jazz, classical and experimental.
Belfort was the birthplace of:
- Marie-Anne Françoise Brideau (1751-1794), Carmelite nun (Sœur Saint Louis), one of the sixteen Martyrs of Compiègne
- François Joseph Heim (1787–1865), painter
- Jules Brunet (1838–1911), a member of the first French Military Mission to Japan in order to help modernize the armies of the shogunate
- Louis-Gabriel-Charles Vicaire (1848–1900), poet
- Tahar Rahim (1981– ), actor
- Raymond Forni (1941–2008), politician
- Jean-Pierre Chevènement (9 mars 1939), politician
- Gérard Grisey (born 1946–1998), composer
- Alexander Toponce (1839–1923), American pioneer
- Frederic Duplus, footballer
- John Glele, footballer
Twin towns – Sister cities
- Delémont, Switzerland
- Leonberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
- Castel San Pietro Terme, Italy
- Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine
- Stafford, United Kingdom
- Tanghin-Dassouri, Burkina Faso
- Communes of the Territoire de Belfort department
- Fortified region of Belfort
- The works of Antonin Mercié
- "Population légale par commune". INSEE. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
- "Population légale 2009" (PDF). AUTB. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
- "Mobilité et transports" (PDF). Agence d'Urbanisme du Territoire de Belfort (in French). 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "La liaison Belfort-Delle" (in French). Facs. 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- "La liaison Épinal-Belfort." (in French). Facs. 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- La Citadelle de la Liberté, a new way of visiting Belfort's magnificent citadel (French)
- FIMU Music festival website (French)
- "Belfort - Les Relations Internationales" [Belfort - International Relations]. Belfort Mairie (in French). Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
- Міста-побратими м. Запоріжжя [Twin Cities Zaporozhye]. City of Zaporizhia (in Ukrainian). Шановні відвідувачі і користувачі сайту. Archived from the original on 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2013-08-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Belfort.|
- City council website (French)
- La place forte de Belfort 1870 – 1914 (French)
- Tourist office website
- Visiting Belfort
- Webpage about the fortifications
- Léon Delarbre (French)
- Georges Vérez. Sculptor of Belfort War Memorial.