PONTARLIER, a frontier town of eastern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Doubs, 36 m. S.E. of Besancon by road. Pop. (1006), 7896. It is situated 2750 ft. above sea-level on the Doubs, about four miles from the Swiss frontier, and forms an important strategic point at the mouth of the defile of La Cluse, one of the principal passes across the Jura. The pass is defended by the modern fort of Larmont, and by the Fort de Joux, which was originally built in the 10th century by the family of Joux and played a conspicuous part in the history of Franche-Comte. Pontarlier is the junction of railway lines to Neuchatel, Lausanne, Lons-le-Saunier, D61e and Besanc.on. A triumphal arch of the 18th century commemorates the reconstruction of the town after the destructive fire of 1736. It was at Pontarlier that the French army of the East made its last stand against the Prussians in 1871 before crossing the Swiss frontier. The distillation of herbs, extensively cultivated for the manufacture of absinthe, kirsch and other liqueurs, is the chief industry. The town is the seat of a subprefect and has a tribunal of first instance and a communal college.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)