Morteau is a town in the Doubs region in Burgundy-Franche-Comté region, 65 km south-east of Besançon and less than 10 km from the Swiss border.
The town developed in the upper valley of the Doubs, in the heart of the Jura mountains.
The center of the city borders the river, but part of its territory (whose altitude rises from 750 to 1114 m) is included in the Val de Morteau, composed of pastures and woods, sometimes with harsh slopes.
The locality grew from the twelfth century after the installation of a Benedictine priory whose monks participated in the clearing of the valley.
Seigniory prosperous although located in a region where conflicts were numerous, Morteau integrates the kingdom of France only to the signature of the treaty of Nijmegen, in 1678.
The development of the watch industry from the 18th century contributes to its reputation, as well as the richness of its breeding and its gastronomic products (sausages and salting), including the sausage Morteau now protected by a label and a protected geographical indication.
While the watchmaking industry is declining, agri-food and automotive subcontracting remain vibrant, and tourism has also become a center of economic development for Morteau (about 7,000 inhabitants).
Despite several fires over the centuries (XVIIth, XVIIIth and XIXth centuries), several elements of historical heritage have been preserved. With its exceptional natural environment, this makes the city a popular stop, summer and winter (skiing).
Several heritage buildings are worth a visit. This is the case of the Château Pertusier, built in 1576 by a rich family of the city. In 1639, during a Swedish mercenary offensive, a turret was the prey of the flames and the facade was machine-gunned (impacts are always visible). Renaissance style, the house and the park were acquired by the city in 1935 and the whole now houses the Museum of Watchmaking. In this setting of choice, the permanent rooms and collections allow to understand the history of the measurement of time and the universe and the techniques of the watchmakers of yesteryear... and today. Many unique pieces are presented. Open every day from May 1 to September 30 and from Monday to Friday the rest of the year. Guided tour on reservation. Entry 3 and 6 euros. Contact us at +33 3 81 67 40 88.
The town hall, which dates from 1590, was also occupied by soldiers and religious. It was acquired in 1791. It now houses part of the municipal services and is preserved in a "Book Black "in which in 1454 a notary consigned all documents relating to the priory to the origin of the city. It contains charters, stops and treatises that allow to retrace the ancient history of the commune...
The conventual buildings of the priory, precisely, were rebuilt at the end of the eighteenth century and transformed into a school. Recent excavations have led to the discovery of burials.
At its side, the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, inscribed in the supplementary inventory of historical monuments, dates from the 15th century. But only the chorus is original. Several fires resulted in rearrangements and reconstructions. There is a bell tower with a double-decker roof with a typical Franche-Comté dome. The interior is composed of six bays. A 17th century high altar made of carved wood, an 18th century pulpit, and several wooden statues (including a Virgin of the 16th century) are housed in the edifice...
For a tour of the city center and its main notable buildings, in the historic heart, contact +33 3 81 67 18 53.
In terms of recreation, in summer, many hiking (on foot or mountain bike) are possible from Morteau to the surrounding peaks. Some circuits are marked out with steps to discover the work of watchmaking craftsmen in neighboring villages, and establishments where sausages are produced from Morteau. Maps, brochures and information at +33 3 81 67 18 53 or at +33 3 81 21 29 99.
In winter, if the alpine ski slopes of the Val de Morteau are located along the border, outside the communal territory, the practice of cross-country skiing (80 km of tracks) is however possible at Morteau itself. All information and rentals of snowshoes and cross-country ski equipment at +33 3 81 67 48 72.
In the beautiful season, practice framed archery, tree climbing, climbing or orienteering at Espace Morteau. Possibility of canoeing on the Doubs. For further information, please call +33 3 81 67 18 53.
In addition, the nautical center offers swimming pools, pools and play facilities, a beach and tennis courts. Admission: from 4,50 euros. Information on +33 3 81 67 25 48.
As for fishing enthusiasts, they can obtain information at +33 3 81 41 19 09 for landscaping and regulations.
The last weekend of March or the first weekend of April, book festival (meetings with authors, readings).
In the middle of July, carnival.
The last Saturday of August, forum of associations.
The first Saturday of September, Morteau Cyclo Rando: cycling, mountain biking or walking trail of varied distances, marked by gourmet halts at the producers, then place of the town hall, tastings, musical animations, contest and concert.
On the first Tuesday of every month, from 8 am to 6 pm, there is a trade fair (with entertainment) and a market is held every Tuesday and Saturday From 7 am to 1 pm Place de l'Hôtel de Ville.