Nestled in the gap between two mountain ranges – the Vosges to the north and the Jura to the south – lies Belfort, a town assured of a place in French hearts for its history as an insurmountable stronghold on this obvious route for invaders. The town is remembered particularly for its long resistance to a siege during the 1870 Franco–Prussian War; it was this resistance that spared it the humiliating fate of being annexed into the German empire, a fate suffered by much of neighbouring Alsace-Lorraine. The commanding officer at the time was one Colonel Denfert-Rochereau (known popularly as the “Lion of Belfort”), who earned himself the honour of numerous street names throughout the country, as well as that of a Parisian square and métro station.
More about France
Find out more
First staged in 1989, today Eurockéennes (weurockeennes.fr) is one of France’s biggest and most diverse annual rock festivals, attracting top international artists as well as plenty of up-and-coming French acts. The three-day festival takes place over the first weekend in July in a lovely setting on the shores of the Lac du Malsaucy, 6km northeast of Belfort, and the vibe is suitably relaxed and friendly, despite crowds of 100,000 or more. There’s a free campsite nearby with 12,000 spaces for those who want the full rock festival experience.