A tiny town in the northen French département
of Meurthe et Moselle
Pietmont is only one street long and has a population of a few hundred, many elderly as the nearest large town, Longwy, offers little in the way of job prospects. A few orchards surround the street, many still maintianed by families who have been on the land for generations. The little primary school is still in operation and at the head of the street a Liberty tree dating back from the revolution marks the entrance to the town. Aside from the giant bridge motorway to Luxembourg crossing the fields in the distance the town is quite picturesque, an agricultural haven amongst the crumbling industrial landscape that charecteries this part of France. It is still very primitive, many houses lacking indoor plumbing and up until the 1970s each house had a manure pile by the front door.
Piedmont has existed for time immemorial and several of the houses proclaim to have been built in the 16th and 15th centuries. The stone church dates back hundreds of years earlier and as far as anyone can tell several buildings have doubtless been in more or less the same shape since the time of the Romans.
The town's most famous landmark is perhaps the spring, around which a stone enclosure was built hundreds of years ago. Here, local legend has it, Napoleon's army decided not to stop for the night, instead pushing on to another similar facility a few miles up the road.
The border with Belgium is a five minute walk over the fields or through the remnants of forest. Since the early 1990s there has been no regular border patrol (although of course you can be stopped at any time) and in the summer locals will often walk to the little Belgian chalet for a menthe, in winter to purchase a freshly slaughtered wild boar.
Though there are a few remaining speakers of the local dialect or patois, which sounds sort of like German but with words and sentences which are definitely French in structure1, they are few and far between, and unlike may other parts of Europe here the local language has pretty much been dead for fifty years or more.
Despite the area's charms, foul weather, chronic unemployment and widespread alcoholism means the locals are pretty weird and unfriendly.
1. Albert Herring informs me that the local patois is "basically Letzebuergesch".