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Famous names

Victor Hugo, Courbet, Pergaud... our region is certainly not lacking in geniuses: be they writers, artists, scientists, or renowned industrialists, they all have one thing in common; Franche-Comté is their homeland, a land of invention, discovery, and dates that have changed the course of history.

hommes célébres

- ©CRT de Franche-Comté

>> 1773 :  The first steam boat successfully navigated the water in Doubs, the fruit of the labours and genius of the naval engineer and architect, Claude Jouffroy-D’Abbans.

>> 1792 : Rouget de l’Isle, born in Lons-le-Saunier in the Jura, composes la Marseillaise. Its success was such that it quickly became the national anthem.

>> 1802 : Victor Hugo was born in Besançon in the shadow of the majestic citadel. The famous French writer, dramatist, and poet soon left the region’s capital but maintained an active correspondence with local luminaries.

>> 1802 : After being arrested in Saint Domingue, Toussaint Louverture was transferred to France and then imprisoned in Franche-Comté, in the Château de Joux where he was to die one year later.  Franche-Comté was chosen for this for its distance from the coast, which reduced any risk of escape. Today, it forms part of the Abolition Trail.

>> 1849 - 1850 : Courbet, the local boy who had always painted his region’s landscapes, painted “l’enterrement à Ornans (Funeral in Ornans)”. This canvas caused a scandal at the 1850 Salon de Paris as it was the first time that an artist had used this large format, usually reserved for “noble” paintings of historic events, to show such a realistic, everyday subject.

>> 1863 : Pasteur, who had remained attached to the region of his birth, set up his laboratory in Arbois. This was where he carried out his first experiments using wine and developed pasteurisation.

>> 1896 : The Peugeot family had lived in Sochaux for generations in the Pays de Montbéliard  founded the “Peugeot Automobile Company” with factories in Audincourt and Lille. Peugeot’s industrial and car empire was born, and now operates as PSA Peugeot-Citroën.

>> 1912 : the birth of Petit Gibus, a character in the Pergaud’s famous novel, War of the Buttons, written the same year. The novel was inspired by his life in the village of Landresse in Doubs, where the author taught for two years. It would be the subject of several successful film adaptations.

>> 1923 : Birth of Bernard Clavel in Lons-le-Saunier. He received over twenty prizes in literature, including the Prix Goncourt. Film and TV have taken a lot of inspiration from his work.