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Republic of Saugeais

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Republic of Saugeais
Unrecognized micronation
map of the Republic of Saugeais
Claimed byGeorges Pourchet
Dates claimed1947–present
Area claimed128 square kilometres (49 sq mi)
Location11 municipalities in the départment of Doubs, France

The Republic of Saugeais (French: La République du Saugeais, pronounced [so.ʒɛ]) is a self-proclaimed micronation located in eastern France, in the département of Doubs. The republic comprises the 11 municipalities of Les Alliés, Arçon, Bugny, La Chaux-de-Gilley, Gilley, Hauterive-la-Fresse, La Longeville, Montflovin, Maisons-du-Bois-Lièvremont, Ville-du-Pont, and its capital Montbenoît.



Summer landscape of Saugeais.

Around the year CE.1000, the Saugeais Valley was a wild and deserted country like a large part of the Jura mountains. A hermit named Benedict is said to have settled there in the CE.11th century[1] · .[2] Subsequently, the sire of Joux gave this territory to canons regular of Saint-Augustin from Saint-Maurice-en-Valais, living under the rule of Saint Augustine, and dependent on Saint-Maurice d'Agaune. The first prior mentioned in Narduin's texts in 1130. The limits of the territory are fixed in the charter of Henri de Joux [fr] in 1228. The Coutumier du Val du Saugeais in 1458 lists the laws and rules in force in the territory.[3][4] The abbey was built in several stages. In order to redeem mistakes, Landry, lord of Joux, donated this uncultivated land covered with forests to Humbert de Scey, List of bishops and archbishops of Besançon [fr]. The latter called on the canons of Territorial Abbey of Saint-Maurice d'Agaune [fr] (Switzerland), as well as to Savoyards [fr] to clear it and build the abbey of Montbenoît.[5]

Organized by a hermit named Benedict, who had come to retire since the end of the previous century to “a solitude in the snows and among the bears”, the religious community of the abbey exercised seigniorial power over this land until the Revolution and contributes greatly to the development of this portion of the Doubs Valley. Of diverse origins, the settlers bring with them their dialect and their traditions. As for the abbey, it is today the only medieval religious ensemble thus preserved in the department of Doubs. The cloister dates from the CE.12th 15th century. The church has twenty-six carved wooden stalls, particularly expressive (heads, figures) as well as an old vaulted kitchen with oven. Other migratory traces on this land date back to CE.1348 and 1349, at the time of the great black plague, including the arrival of a Chaboz (Chabod) at the farm of “Chez la graine”, who after a myth taken up in the anthem, will give birth to a whole line of Saugeais (Chabod, Bole-Richard, Bolle-Reddat, etc.) Speak Sauget [fr], whose use was still common around CE.1900 but which has since been lost (a few older people know bits of it), differs from other local patois. Its roots lie with the first settlers from the canton of Grisons and the Savoyards who accompanied the canons regular of Saint-Augustin.[6]

The Republic[edit]

Map of the Republic of Saugeais

In CE.1947, the prefect of the Doubs, Louis Ottaviani, passing through Montbenoît, had lunch at the Hôtel de l'Abbaye, whose boss was Georges Pourchet. When the prefect enters the hotel, the owner jokingly asks him if he has a pass to come to the Republic of Saugeais. Surprised, the prefect asked him: "Mr. Pourchet, explain this to me." After the explanations, the prefect also joked to him: "A republic needs a president. Well, I appoint you President of the Free Republic of Saugeais. Georges Pourchet then decided to take charge of this title[7] · [8] · .[9]

Martial Jeantet, parish priest of Montbenoît from CE.1964 to 1982, also participated in reactivating the folklore of this community. Indeed, this architecture enthusiast found the necessary funds to renovate the abbey. The dynamic initiated by these works sees the reappearance of an increasingly important regional folk current.[2]

After the death of Georges Pourchet in CE.1968, the Republic remained without a president for four years. In CE.1972, while his widow Gabrielle Pourchet organized a fair meal for the benefit of the restoration of the abbey, she was elected president for life.[10] It then tried to structure the Republic by appointing ambassadors, minting coins or creating a passport.[10]

There is a Hymn of the Saugeais [fr], composed in CE.1910 to music by Théodore Botrel, the Breton bard, by Canon Joseph Bobillier, born in Montbenoît.[2] In addition, a French stamp of 2,50 francs, including the symbols of Saugeais (medieval coat of arms, Montbenoît abbey, river), was published in CE.1987.

In CE.1999, the sub-prefect of the district of Pontarlier, Jean-Luc Fabre, was offended by a control.[11] Having "turned on his heel", he wrote a note questioning a "incompatible with the principles that are imposed on the custodians of public authority." However, he apologized before being transferred.[12]

In CE.2006, to succeed her mother who had died the previous year, Georgette Bertin-Pourchet was elected by thirty grand electors "co-opted in proportion to the number of inhabitants" of the 11 communes.[13] In 2022, in order to succeed Georgette Bertin-Porchet, of whom he was Prime Minister, Simon Marguet was elected president of the Free Republic of Saugeais.[14] He is the first president not to come from the Pourchet family.[15]


In 1947, the prefect of the département of Doubs came to Montbenoît to attend an official event. The prefect had lunch in the Hôtel de l'Abbaye in Montbenoît, which was owned by Georges Pourchet. As a joke, Pourchet asked the prefect "Do you have a permit allowing you to enter the Republic of Saugeais?" The prefect asked for details on the mysterious republic, which Pourchet made up on the spot. The prefect responded by appointing Pourchet president of the Free Republic of Saugeais.[16]

Georges Pourchet died in 1968 and his wife Gabrielle initially succeeded as president. She retired in 1970 but remained active in Montbenoît, helping the parish priest to preserve the abbey. To raise funds, a festival was organised in 1972, during which Gabrielle Pourchet was elected President for life by acclamation.

President Gabrielle Pourchet appointed a prime minister, a general secretary, twelve ambassadors and more than 300 honorary citizens. A song written in the Langue Saugette, a Franco-Provençal dialect, by Joseph Botillon in 1910 was adopted as the republic's national anthem. A banknote was released in 1997, and the French Postal Service issued a postal stamp commemorating the republic in 1987.[17]

Gabrielle Pourchet died on 31 August 2005, at the age of 99, and her daughter Georgette Bertin-Pourchet succeeded as president.[16]

List of presidents[edit]

  1. Georges Pourchet (1947–68)
  2. Gabrielle Pourchet (1968 – 31 August 2005)
  3. Georgette Bertin-Pourchet (31 August 2005 – 18 March 2022)
  4. Simon Marguet (18 March 2022 – present)


  1. ^ "My Most Beautiful Village in Franche-Comté: Montbenoît, heart of the Republic and abbey choir!". France Bleu. 17 February 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Lebby Eyres. "A tiny 'country' between France and Switzerland". www.bbc.com. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  3. ^ Valentine Chevassu (2 March 2020). "Of monks and fir trees: monasteries and development of the high Jura chain in the middle of the Middle Ages". Monasteries and mountain convents: circulation, networks, influences in the Middle Ages. Editions of the Committee of Historical and Scientific Works. ISBN 978-2-7355-0890-7. Retrieved 24 January 2019. {{cite book}}: Unknown parameter |collection= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Paul Laurence Delsalle (2003). "Franche-Comté at the hinge of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, 1450-1550". proceedings of the Besançon conference, 10-11 October 2002. Presses Univ. Franche-Comté. p. 512. ISBN 978-2-84867-027-0. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Bulletin N° 15". calameo.com. La 418 Au Son du Cor. November 2019. p. 10. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  6. ^ "History of Saugeais - www.cancoillotte.net". www.cancoillotte.net. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  7. ^ Memoirs of Gabrielle Pourchet
  8. ^ Bertrand Joliot (7 May 2017). "President of the other Republic". estrepublicain.fr.
  9. ^ "Micronation: the Republic of Saugeais". francetvinfo.fr. 22 July 2017.
  10. ^ a b Thomas Calinon (3 September 2005). "Deuil national en république du Saugeais". libération.fr.
  11. ^ "Unusual. Haut-Doubs: the president of Saugeais wants to hand over the reins". www.estrepublicain.fr (in French). Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  12. ^ Kim Hullot-Guiot (13 August 2018). "Georgette Bertin-Pourchet, let it pass!". Libération.fr. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  13. ^ François Baroin. A history of France through towns and villages.
  14. ^ "Haut-Doubs. A page is turning in the history of the Republic of Saugeais with the appointment of a new president". estrepublicain.fr. 27 March 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  15. ^ "Doubs: the Free Republic of Saugeais has already elected its new president". leparisien.fr. 27 March 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  16. ^ a b Lebby Eyres "A Tiny Country between France and Switzerland" Archived 17 March 2021 at the Wayback Machine BBC 12 March 2020.
  17. ^ "La république du Saugeais" [The Saugeais Republic]. Office du tourisme du canton de Montbenoît. Archived from the original on 27 July 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.

External links[edit]