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Pontarlier

Travel Guide Europe France Franche-Comté Pontarlier

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Introduction

Pontarlier is located near the border with Switzerland, at the foot of the Jura mountains and is known to be the second highest town of France with an average elevation of over 1,000 metres. Its is a commune of the Doubs Department in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France and has well over 20,000 inhabitants.

Pontarlier acts as a convenient base for various outdoor activites, with access to numerous high quality ski-runs. Just 18 kilometres from the city lies the beautiful resort at the foot of the Mont d'Or mountain (1,463 metres), which offers many summer and winter activities. The town is also famous for its production of absinthe, although this came to an end almost 100 years ago, making place for pastis.

For more information about the city and its surroundings, have a look at the official Pontarlier tourist website.

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Sights and Activities

  • Porte St Pierre is an 'Arch de Triomphe' erected to celebrate the rebuilding of the town and to commemorate the French conquest of Franche-Comte region in 1678.
  • Eglise St Benigne is a 15th century church housing many valuable sculptures.
  • Musee Municipal is a 16th century traditional house converted to a museum showcasing the articles related to the local history of the region.
  • Ancienne Chapelle des Annonciades is a formerly chappel converted to an exhibition centre
  • Espera Museum is an exhibition centre of stylish cars and its prototypes created by the automobile stylist Franco Sbarro.

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Events and Festivals

Pontarlier was a pioneer town regarding aviation and the Local Aviation Club usually has some events throughout the year.

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Weather

Summers last from June to September with generally temperatures close to 25 °C at the lower parts. Nights can be chilly though and thunderstorms occassionally strike the mountainous area. Winters last from December to March with snow and frost at night, but mostly above zero during the day at the lower areas. The higher slopes are perfect for skiing though.

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Getting There

By Plane

The closest airports with a significant number of flights throughout Europe are the Euro Airport near Basel and the Geneva Airport.
The Euro Airport Mulhouse/Freiburg/Basel has most flights with many lowcostairlines serving the area, including flights to Turkey, other southern Europe destinations as well as many cities throughout the west and central parts of the continent.
The Geneva Cointrin Airport has more flights, including lots of flights to places outside Europe. It also has many flights with lowcostairlines like Easyjet.

By Train

The TGV Train is available from Paris CDG Airport to Pontarlier via Besancon and there are trains from Geneva or Zurich to Pontarlier as well, sometimes with a switch of trains.

By Car

Pontarlier is located between the A36 highway in France (near Besancon is the access route) and the highways number 1 and number 9 in Switzerland, leading towards Lausanne and Geneva.

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Keep Connected

Internet

France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.

Post

La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.

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This is version 7. Last edited at 8:03 on Sep 20, 13 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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