Exploring Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle in France

posted by Sharon November 10, 2019 13 Comments
Koenigsbourg Castle France

A visit to Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle in France takes you back to the 1100s and all the layers of history between then and now. The castle stands as a fortress in the hills of Alsace, near the border of Germany. It’s been occupied by the French and the Germans through the years, and was once destroyed by Swedish invaders. My first impression on arriving at the castle is that each succeeding conqueror built higher and higher, reinforcing the brick and tile structure to withstand the inevitable next invasion.  Koenigsbourg Castle France

To enter the castle grounds, you walk up a leafy lane past the outer wall. Purchase your ticket and grab an audio guide that will take you to well marked points throughout the castle. Koenigsbourg Castle FranceKoenigsbourg Castle France

In the main courtyard, look up and ponder the various architectural styles that make up Haut-Koenigsbourg. After its destruction in the Thirty Years War in 1633, the castle sat in ruins for about 200 years. Then Kaiser Wilhem II of Germany undertook restoration in the style of the times, to honor his family, the house of Hohenzollern. Unfortunately for the Kaiser, World War I resulted in Germany’s defeat, and Alsace reverted to French control in 1919. Haut-Koenigsbourg was declared a National Palace and it’s been meticulously restored to its Medieval style. A sign notes that excavations produced 2.5 tons of articles such as roof tiles, crossbows, cooking pots, doors, chests, windows, clothing decorations, pieces of glass, and cut stones. These were all used to inform the latest reconstruction.Koenigsbourg Castle FranceKoenigsbourg Castle France

Start your tour in the courtyard and take a look at the front gate. The spikes are ready to descend on any unwelcome visitors. Koenigsbourg Castle France

A 1937 movie, The Grand Illusion, was filmed here. You can learn more about the movie at this audio tour stop. And be sure to enjoy the view here, too!

Koenigsbourg Castle France

Many stairways and ladders lead here and there. The audio tour makes a path through the parts of the castle so you won’t get lost. Koenigsbourg Castle France

Koenigsbourg Castle France

Koenigsbourg Castle France

Heavy doors everywhere let you know that security was of utmost importance.Koenigsbourg Castle France

You’ll find fascinating details inside and out. Intricate iron work decorates the castle and likely dates to many different eras. Koenigsbourg Castle FranceKoenigsbourg Castle France

The paintings that decorate the walls and ceilings depict scenes of battle.Koenigsbourg Castle France

And then there’s the lovely colored glass. Koenigsbourg Castle France

Koenigsbourg Castle FranceKoenigsbourg Castle France Imagine the artistry that went into fashioning these tiles, with their different earthy tones of clay and rounded edges. Koenigsbourg Castle FranceKoenigsbourg Castle France

Koenigsbourg Castle FranceThe tour takes you to three floors and includes the Kaiser’s dining room, bedrooms with their ceramic tile heaters, and a room dedicated to knights in shining armor. Koenigsbourg Alsace FranceKoenigsbourg Castle France

I always love seeing children who are soaking in history. Koenigsbourg Castle France

What good is a castle without a moat? And a wall still partially surrounds the entire fortress. Koenigsbourg Castle France

Koenigsbourg Castle FranceAfter winding up through the castle on your audio tour, you finally climb to the top where the guards looked out on the 360-degree view of Alsace and into the Black Forest of Germany. Koenigsbourg Castle FranceKoenigsbourg Castle France

 

Up here, I also found canons. I’m always intrigued around canons. Koenigsbourg Castle France

 

Koenigsbourg Castle FranceKoenigsbourg Castle FrancePlan to spend 3 hours here (4 if you eat lunch). There’s plenty to see, and you’ll want to take time to enjoy the vistas, too.Koenigsbourg Castle France

Practical Information

How to get to Haut-Koenigsburg: The castle is in the hills above the train line that runs from Strasbourg to Colmar in Alsace, France. Get off at the Selestat Station. A shuttle bus runs from the station up to the castle and back for a cost of about 4 Euros. Be prepared to pay this in cash, as the bus driver doesn’t take credit cards.

Ticket Price: 9 Euro for adults; audio is 4.5 Euro (and well worth it)

Eating at the castle: A remarkably tasty lunch is available at the Chateau de Haut-Koenigsbourg at the bottom of the castle hill. Snacks and drinks are served at a deli with outside seating. Relax here and enjoy the view before taking the shuttle back to the train station.

Where to stay: The castle is an easy journey from either Strasbourg or Colmar, which both have many hotel choices. We stayed in Strasbourg at the excellent Bouclier D’Or.

More information: Visit the castle website for more about the history and your visit.

Linking up with Image-in-ing, The Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, Our World Tuesday, Weekend Wanderlust, Faraway Files, Wanderful Wednesday, Feet Do Travel, My Corner of the World, and Weekend Travel Inspiration.

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13 Comments

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William Kendall November 10, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Beautiful architecture!

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Tamar A Strauss-Benjamin November 10, 2019 at 12:32 pm

Straight out of a fairy tale!

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image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup November 11, 2019 at 6:35 am

Beautiful photos of a place I hadn’t heard of. Thank you for taking us along for a virtual visit, and for sharing your photos at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/11/happy-veterans-day.html

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// Heidrun November 11, 2019 at 8:41 am

A wonderful travel, I enjoyed to read here…

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Carol November 11, 2019 at 9:15 am

Another beautiful place to explore – fascinating.

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Junieper/Jesh November 11, 2019 at 10:39 am

Wow, a great castle. Most of all I love all the details you caught: the round towers with the pointy roof, the spikes – jikes, the tiled heater (they were still in German houses when I lived in Berlin), and all the other wonderful historic details. The canon made me laugh. The owners were dead serious about life and death! Many thanks Sharon for showing this wonderful castle to All Seasons! Have a wonderful week:)

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Mother of 3 November 11, 2019 at 1:22 pm

That is really pretty! I just love all the architectural details that really give you something new to see everywhere. And that view from the top is amazing!

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betty - NZ November 11, 2019 at 2:56 pm

I love castles! Thanks for sharing this one, it’s gorgeous!

My Corner of the World

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Jogi Prajapati November 11, 2019 at 4:39 pm

Simply Astonishing. I always wonder how those castle survives for hundreds of years while our modern construction has shorter life spam.

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Margy November 11, 2019 at 8:11 pm

So much history to observe and explore. – Margy

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Shiju Sugunan November 12, 2019 at 9:00 pm

Very creative shots! I like the angles you chose.

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Mandy November 13, 2019 at 9:35 am

Gorgeous castle! Looks like it was a beautiful day to explore it!

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My Corner of the World November 13, 2019 at 1:40 pm

I’m glad to see you at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!
My Corner of the World

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