It’s only a short walk from the town of Belfort to the top of the citadel, and the climb is not very challenging even for someone of my advanced age. But for those with mobility issues, or those travelling with small children, or those who arrive in the middle of a blistering heat wave (la canicule in French), there is an alternative in the form of a little tourist train that starts at the Place d’Armes and goes up to the citadel by some sort of circuitous route through the fortifications.
This is not the sort of train that runs on tracks, but a string of small wagons pulled by a tractor disguised as a locomotive. I haven’t ridden on one of these little trains since my grandchildren learned to walk properly, but I suspect I will start to appreciate this form of transport as I get (even) older, provided the coronavirus doesn’t get me first.
From the top of the Belfort citadel you have nice views in all directions, including a look back down at the Place d’Armes, where the train started.
Here the little tourist train, nearly empty, is on its way back down the hill.
The nearby city of Besançon has a similar tourist train, but theirs gets more business since their citadel is on a higher hill and the walk up and back is longer.
Another way to get up to the Belfort citadel is to take the number 2 bus in the direction of Justice, and get off at the stop called Parant. This gets you quite close to the rear entrance of the citadel.
Also near the bus stop is a military cemetery, with row after row after row of graves of fallen soldiers from the First World War.
Location and aerial view on monumentum.fr.
My photos in this post are from 2016. I wrote the text in 2020.
See more posts on Belfort, France.