Pontarlier, the mountain town on the Swiss border, is situated at an altitude of 837 meters and is the capital of the 'Haut Doubs'. Thanks to its geographical location, the town played an important role in the exchange of goods between northern and southern Europe from an early date, becoming a commercial center in the 12th century. Today, Pontarlier is also a stop for the French express train T.G.V. and has preserved beautiful memories of its past: the gate and landmark Saint Pierre, built in 1771 according to the plans of the engineer Jean-Claude Eleonor Le Michaud d'Arcon, the 17th century chapel Annonciades, the 19th century court and the church Saint Bénigne, which has also become famous for its modern stained glass windows Manessier.
The 'Green Fairy', as the Absinthe was also called, made Pontarlier world famous. Although it was banned in 1915, its history is still alive in the Pontarlier museum and antique dealers. Since 2001, this famous drink has been restored in two distilleries. Today a tourist and cultural itinerary is dedicated to it: La Route de l'Absinthe.
In addition to tourism, cattle breeding and the timber industry are the main activities of the city with its 19,000 inhabitants. The city of Pontarlier owns national and international companies that employ about 400 people. These companies are specialized in construction, mechanics and the food sector. Pontarlier is also a starting point for walks, bike rides and excursions to the Château de Joux, in whose cells famous people like Mirabeau and Toussaint Louverture were imprisoned, to Lac Saint Point, Besancon or even to Yverdon-les-Bains. In winter, the region invites you to enjoy its magnificent ski resorts.
Specialities include cheeses such as Comté, Morbier and Mont d'Or, smoked meats and sausages, as well as the aforementioned absinthe, Jura wine and 'Le Pontarlier Anis', a local aniseed-flavoured aperitif.
More about the town twinning:
The partnership with the town of Pontarlier is the oldest international twin town of our town and exists since 1964 (celebration in Villingen in 1965). As a war veteran in enemy territory, the later administrative director of the city of Villingen, Theo Arnold, made many friends in the French Jura.
The towns of Vöhrenbach and Hüfingen, located in the Black Forest Baar district, also maintain town twinning relationships with towns in the French Jura (Vöhrenbach to Morteau and Hüfingen to Ornans).
The relations with Pontarlier could be maintained well, especially because of the not too far distance. The cities can also share many similarities, both in geographical and human terms.
The range of association activities is broad, from art and culture, fire department and sports to intensive mutual activities between schools, the Red Cross and the Villingen Angling Society. The German-French Society Villingen-Schwenningen and the Association culturelle franco-allemande in Pontarlier also maintain intensive mutual contacts.