Although it was originally created in Val-de-Travers in Switzerland in the 18th century, it was thanks to the town of Pontarlier that absinthe from the Jura Mountains distilled its incomparable aromas and its wild reputation around the world. Around 1900, the capital of the Haut-Doubs was producing 15 million litres of the legendary elixir.
From the rivers to the cabarets, the Green Fairy brewed myths
Thanks to absinthe and a fire that caught hold on 11 August 1901 in the Pernod factory, it was discovered that the River Loue is a resurgence of the River Doubs. In danger of exploding, the contents of the vats of alcohol were emptied into the Doubs River. Then, some days later, the water at the source of the River Loue gave off the colour and smell of absinthe.
Franco-Swiss Epic Craze
The “green fairy” worked her way into as many myths as posters in the cabarets, grand brasseries and seedy bistros from Montmartre to Auvers-sur-Oise. It inspired the Impressionists, inebriating them and their muses… A craze as outrageous as its consumption was excessive. It was said to make you go mad, owing to the thujone, a molecule that causes convulsions and other hallucinatory phenomena widespread among habitual drinkers. So much so that in 1915 it was banned. This ban, fortunately was lifted in 2001, following the determined efforts of the Pontarlier distillers who strengthened the legend and generated a true contraband market. This wonderful Franco-Swiss saga is recounted along the Absinthe Route. From plantation to cellar, distillery to museum, gastronomic products for festivities and from Pontarlier to Noiraigue (Switzerland), the whole culture surrounding Artemisia absinthian is described.