Made up of 58 structures, the Maginot Line is a line of fortifications built by France between 1929 and 1940 along its 750 kilometres of borders from Belgium to Italy, crossing areas including Alsace from north to south for nearly 200 kilometres. Built to counter foreign military invasions, it consists of many concrete blocks topped with domes or metal gun turrets. Its cloak of military secrecy, mysterious underground installations and complex organisation make the Maginot Line particularly appealing to visitors, and it fits in naturally with the other military remembrance sites.
Spread over 160 hectares and boasting 10 kilometres of tunnels, the largest of the sites is the Hackenberg Fortress in Veckring, which can be toured aboard a vintage electric train. Outside are a pedestrian circuit and an anti-tank wall, unique in the region.
Other highlights include Fort Schoenenbourg in Hunspach, also one of the largest structures and open to visitors since 1978. Securing the north of Alsace, it saw more combat than any other Maginot Line structure during the Second World War, with more than 17,000 shells fired in 10 months. Further sites to see are the Four-à-Chaux Fortress in Lembach, a listed Historic Monument that still has all its original equipment; and the Simserhof Fortress, a few kilometres from Bitche, which visitors can tour aboard automated vehicles.
The Maginot Line Path, which is 71 kilometres long, is a great way to discover the fortresses as well as some typical villages.