Belfort’s Citadelle and Lion crowned France’s Favourite Monument of 2020

PUBLISHED: 09:50 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:12 21 September 2020

Belfort's Citadelle and Lion. Pic: Pixel-68/Getty

Belfort's Citadelle and Lion. Pic: Pixel-68/Getty

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The Bourgogne-Franche-Comté landmark fought off competition from 13 other sites to win

An immense sandstone statue created by Statue of Liberty sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, as well as its neighbouring citadelle, have been voted France’s Favourite Monument of 2020 after a public vote. La Citadelle et le Lion de Belfort, which take pride of place in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté commune, fought off competition from the likes of the Canal du Midi and Paris’ Saint-Chapelle to win.

The immense structure is 70 feet long. Pic: Eyewave/GettyThe immense structure is 70 feet long. Pic: Eyewave/Getty

Its victory was televised as part of popular TV programme Le Monument Préféré des Français, presented by Stéphane Bern on French channel France 3. It follows in the esteemed footsteps of the Bas-Rhin commune of Hunspach, which was awarded the accolade of France’s Favourite Village in a similar televised vote earlier this year. Le Monument Préféré des Français was first broadcast in 2014 and sees one top landmark from each of France’s regions selected to battle it out.

Belfort’s magnificent citadelle dates back to the Middle Ages, although it was strengthened by architectural mastermind Vauban in the 17th century. The huge lion sits at its base as a tribute to the people’s resistance to the Siege of Belfort, the Prussian assault in the 1870s. Built in 1880, it’s a whopping 37 feet high and 70 feet long.

The quirky Palais Ideal in Drome. Pic: JackF/GettyThe quirky Palais Ideal in Drome. Pic: JackF/Getty

Coming second in the competition was the Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval, the palace built by a humble postman in Drôme. The fascinating structure took Ferdinand Cheval 33 years to build and is today a popular tourist attraction in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

The ornate Temple Narassingua Peroumal. Pic: Auregann/WikimediaThe ornate Temple Narassingua Peroumal. Pic: Auregann/Wikimedia

In third place was the Temple Tamoul Narassingua Péroumal on the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion. This fantastic, colourful building was built in the 19th century by some Indian military volunteers who were shipwrecked on the island.

Here are the result in full:

4 - La villa Cavrois (Hauts-de-France)

5 - Le Fort La Latte (Brittany)

6 - L’Arsenal de Rochefort (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)

7 - Le Parc du haut-fourneau U4 d’Uckange (Grand Est)

8 - Le Canal du Midi (Occitanie)

9 - Le Château et les Jardins de Villandry (Centre-Val de Loire)

10 - Le Château de Brézé (Pays de la Loire)

11 - La cathédrale Saint-Nicolas de Nice (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)

12 - La Sainte-Chapelle (Île-de-France)

13 - Le Château du Champ de Bataille (Normandy)

14 - La Chapelle Impériale du Palais Fesch d’Ajaccio (Corsica)

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