Towering over the town atop its pink sandstone rock, Bitche Citadel is a masterpiece of military art designed by Vauban in the 17th century.
A listed Historic Monument, the citadel was reputedly impossible to conquer, and distinguished itself in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 by continuing to resist for 230 days after France had capitulated. This underground city included kitchens, a chapel, dormitories and an infirmary, and had room for 1,000 men, 5 barracks, 10 guardhouses and 5 cisterns, all spread across around 3,000 m² underground. Its chapel, the only remnant of the castle built during Vauban's time along with the bakery and arsenal, stands 15 metres above the ramparts.
The citadel is open to visitors, with an original museum exhibition that includes archive footage, uniforms and weapon collections. Infrared transmitters send commentaries in several languages into headphones as the visit goes along, accompanied by scent effects.
At the foot of the citadel lies the Garden for Peace, which features regularly updated creations by the gardeners of Bitche, combining wrought iron, glass, crystal, plants and more.