The Gallo-Roman vestiges in Moingt and a dozen listed buildings stand as mementos of Montbrison's 2,000-year history, during which it was the capital of the Forez province.
Nowadays, it is the outstanding quality of life that makes people flock to it. As well as being the lung of the Loire department, it has all the assets of a large city: with 16,000 inhabitants and its locations at the centre of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - halfway between Lyon and Clermont-Ferrand - , it strikes the perfect balance between urban and rural environments.
As the administrative centre of the Loire-Forez agglomeration community (108,000 inhabitants), Montbrison has all sorts of educational, healthcare, security, cultural and leisure facilities. It lies on the doorstep of the countryside, which comes to town every Saturday to sell local produce at an eight-century-old market that energises commercial life in Montbrison.
The Fourme festival, which revolves around this emblematic cheese, and the Easter International Basketball Tournament are some of the highlights of local life. The Critérium du Dauphiné is just the icing on the cake!
Belleville's location at the confluence of major communications routes makes this the ideal stage to discover Beaujolais and Val de Saône. The town, founded by Humbert III, Lord of Beaujeu, in the 12th century, quickly grew into an exchange and trade centre with merchants, coopers and a river port. The 12th-century Church of Notre-Dame and the 18th-century Hôtel-Dieu stand as mementos of its rich history. Belleville boasts close to a hundred sports, cultural and social organisations, a community hospital, large retail developments, artisans and a wide range shops in the town centre. Locals enjoy a high quality of life padded by all the public services an area like this may need. Belleville, just 30 minutes away from the Lyon Metropolis, is the administrative centre of the Saône Beaujolais federation of municipalities, which spans the Beaujolais Vert around Monsols, the Beaujolais vineyards and its historical capital, Beaujeu.
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