Wissembourg is a town in the Bas-Rhin, in the Greater East, north of the former Alsace region, 30 km northeast of Haguenau. Its territory borders on Germany (state of Rhineland-Palatinate) and is included in the Regional Nature Park of the Vosges du Nord, of which it is the "gate town" thanks in particular to its 2,700 hectares of forest (a little more than Half of the 48 km² of the area of the commune).
Wissembourg which has a population of about 8,000 since its merger with the village of Altenstadt (750 inhabitants) in 1974 was founded by Benedictine monks who established an abbey there during the High Middle Ages. Its development and its radiance are rapid and the city endowed with ramparts adheres to the League of Rhineland Cities in 1254 and is part of the Decapolis in 1354, the alliance of the ten free cities of Alsace. After the Treaty of Westphalia, which placed the city under French sovereignty, Wissembourg had the privilege of welcoming the exiled King of Poland, Stanislas Leszczynski. His daughter Marie learned of Louis XV's request for marriage, and the marriage was proclaimed in the church of the city in 1725. Having already suffered from the wars of Religion (the city had chosen the Reformation) then conflicts punctuating the seventeenth, XVIIIth and XIXth centuries, Wissembourg is the scene of decisive fighting in 1870 then in 1944 and 1945.
However, the city has preserved an important architectural and cultural heritage. In the heart of a green environment, this makes the city where animations are varied a tourist stage of great interest.
From its rich and sometimes eventful past, Wissembourg has inherited many monuments and buildings that make the city a real jewel.
A visit can begin with the discovery of the abbey church Saints-Pierre-et-Paul, considered the second Gothic building of the region. Its cloister, its monumental fresco and its stained glass windows (but the centerpiece of the eleventh century, depicting Christ, is deposited in Strasbourg), made its celebrity. Do not forget the Romanesque chapel and the Dubois organ. Open every day from 9 am to 6 pm from April to October and from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm from November to March. Free or guided tour. For further information, please call +33 3 88 94 16 31.
We will continue with the former convent of the Dominicans that the monks abandoned during the Reformation, in the middle of the sixteenth century. It then became a hospital, then a barracks, and now a cultural center. Close on Sunday. For further information, please call +33 3 88 94 11 13.
It is still necessary to see the church of St. John, where the Reformation was preached as early as 1522. It should be noted that its Romanesque bell-tower dates from the thirteenth century. Open every day. Free or guided visit by calling +33 3 88 94 10 11.
The Salt House (15th century), a hospital transformed into a salt deposit, the Stanislaus Palace, where the former King of Poland lived, or the Tithes Barn, where the tax was collected from the thirteenth century onwards Must also be included in the course. The ramparts dating from the 13th century and remodeled in the 18th century or the town hall (XVIIIth) will not be forgotten.
Note that the Westercamp museum, devoted to local history (military collections and archaeological elements), housed in an old vineyard house, is closed until further notice due to renovation.
However, it is still necessary to include in the visit to the city center, which was called the Alsatian Venice because of its habitat along the river Lauter, the house known as the Ami Fritz. Dating from 1550, an ancient tannery, its portal and its decors are typical of the Alsatian Renaissance. It was here that the film adapted from the famous novel by Erckmann-Chatrian, which gave the building its name, was shot in 1932.
Finally, without counting many typical houses or the Romanesque church of the old village of Altenstadt, the ultimate must-see is the Geisberg monument on the homonymous hill where the Prussians dominated the French troops on 4 August 1870. One Superb panorama on the city and the vineyard await you there.
It should be noted that historical routes of the city and its immediate surroundings have been designed. Guided tours of the city are also possible, unless you prefer a small tourist train or a rosalie tour. Information and brochures on +33 3 88 94 10 11.
In another area, the astonishing private museum of the Solex bike, which features models of all ages and in working order brought together by a private individual, is worth a visit. Guided tour. Information on +33 3 88 94 18 73.
The city and especially its vast territory (notably its forest, partly protected under Natura 2000) are the object of many excursions. Some of them use part of the GR53 linking the North Sea with the Mediterranean, the old road to Saint-Jacques or the cross-border path of the chapels. Maps and information on +33 3 88 94 10 11.
For cycling and mountain biking enthusiasts, circuits have also been designed, such as the cycle path along the Lauter valley. For further information, please call +33 3 88 94 10 11.
For the sportsmen, you can also reserve tennis courts at the local club by joining the +33 6 08 67 70 06 or enjoy the swimming pools. One is covered (contact the +33 3 88 94 51 90), the other is open air in a green setting (open from June to the end of August, information on +33 3 88 54 28 18).
In a different genre, horse racing enthusiasts can go to the Hardt racecourse which regularly hosts meetings with betting. For further information, please call +33 3 88 94 10 11.
Finally, in this rich wine-growing region, discover the vineyards and their nectar (with moderation, of course) seems inescapable. This can be envisaged at the Cellars of Wissembourg. For further information, please call +33 3 88 54 93 80.
In late May or early June, the festivities of Pentecost are undeniable. On the program: folkloric procession, craft market, musical animations and folk dances. Fireworks on Monday evening.
The second Saturday of June, a large flea market around the abbey. Information on +33 3 88 94 16 31.
The first fortnight of June, funfair.
The last weekend of June, the Outre Festival which takes place outdoors at the foot of the ramparts essentially programs jazz concerts. For more information, please call +33 3 88 94 11 13.
Throughout the summer, at the level of the ramparts, ambulatory shows (street arts, music, theater).
From mid-August to the beginning of September, the International Music Festival offers a classical program mainly devoted to chamber music and piano. For further information, please call +33 3 88 94 10 11.
From mid-December, Christmas market and traditional entertainment.