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.

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