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Pontarlier is a commune and one of the two sub-prefectures of the Doubs department in the Franche-Comté region near the Swiss border in eastern France.HistoryPontarlier occupies the ancient Roman station of Ariolica, in Gallia and is placed in the Tables on the road from Urba (modern Orbe, Canton Vaud, Switzerland), to Vesontio (modern Besançon). Although the distances in the Antonine Itinerary do not agree with the real distances, French geographer D'Anville recognized a transposition of the numbers. The Theodosian Tabula names the place "Abrolica", which William Smith states as a possible error of transcription.After the Burgundian invasion in 5th, Pontarlier became an unavoidable way of trade from the kingdom of Burgundy to Switzerland, Germany or Lombardy. It was the easier way to cross Jura mountains until the 17th.The city of Pontarlier is briefly mentioned in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. It was to this city that convict Jean Valjean was to report for his parole after being released from the galleys. Breaking these instructions is a major turning point in the novel, and also creates some major conflict for Valjean later in the story.
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