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Triomphal arch of the Porte Saint-Pierre

Pontarlier (Latin: Ariolica) is a commune and one of the two sub-prefectures of the Doubsmarker department in the Franche-Comtémarker region in eastern Francemarker.


Pontarlier occupies the ancient Roman station of Ariolica, in Gallia and is placed in the Tables on the road from Urba (modern Orbemarker, Canton Vaudmarker, Switzerlandmarker), to Vesontio (modern Besançonmarker). Although the distances in the Antonine Itinerary do not agree with the real distances, French geographer D'Anville recognized a transposition of the numbers. The Theodosian Tabula names the place "Abrolica", which William Smith states as a possible error of transcription.

The city of Pontarlier is briefly mentioned in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. It was to this city that convict Jean Valjean was to report for his parole after being released from the gallies. Breaking these instructions is a major turning point in the novel, and also creates some major conflict for Valjean later in the story.

Pontarlier was famous for the production of absinthe until its ban in 1915. The distilleries switched over to producing pastis. With the ban partially lifted in the 1990s, distilleries are once again producing absinthe in Pontarlier.


Pontarlier was also a pionnière city of aviation. The beginning of the aeronautical history of Pontarlier took place on October 29, 1910 by Auguste Junod has edge of his Farman biplane of 50 cv. This first flight caused the admiration of the large crowd that had come to admire this magic machine. July 2 of the following year was marked by the arrival of 2 other machines has Pontarlier to carry out the first air meeting of Franche-Comté. This event attracted approximately 10.000 people. The aero club of Pontarlier was created only 20 years later, on March 12, 1930 by a handle of impassioned aviation. At that time, the association, chaired by Mr. Eugène Thévenin did not yet have a plane for lack of sufficient funds. Their actions were thus limited to propaganda in order to raise money. May 13, 1934 was a great day for the aero club, with the arrival of the first plane, a POTEZ 43, monoplane-three-seater of 100 CV baptized for the occasion "Ville de Pontarlier". A whole generation of apparatuses followed in continuation of this precursor. Today, the aeroclub took true flies away and for an aero club of province it is well equipped: 2 track of 1000 m whose one into hard and the other out of grass, as well as fleet of 4 planes of all types, has wing high, has wings low, two-seater, three-seater or four-seater.


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