Wissenbourg: French flair, German coziness at the foot of the Vogese

Story and photo by Nicole Karsch-Meibom
Contributing writer

If you take Parisian street cafe flair and mix it with the coziness of a small German timber-framed town, you get Wissenbourg. This petit French village situated at the foot of the Vogese National Park is located south toward Karlsruhe, and a little over an hour away from Kaiserslautern. It belongs to the border region of France and Germany, the Alsace, which has developed its unique mixture of both cultures.

Wissenbourg offers all that a holiday destination needs. Especially in springtime, it is a fabulous getaway for a day or two. Visitors can stroll through little streets along medieval houses, flowery parks and the Lauter rivulet. Another way to relax is to enjoy a hot drink in one of the street cafes on Rue de Marché aux Poissons and Rue National, or to try the regional specialties like Tarte Flambee, a dish made from a thin layer of pastry topped with sour cream, onions and bacon.

Built of the relics of a 7th century Benedictine monastery, Wissembourg — or Weißenburg as it reads on the German road sign — is a place of great architectural interest. Right in the middle of the town, you can see the abbey of Saint Pierre et Paul.

This edifice is the second largest gothic church in the Alsatian region with a Romanesque bell tower from the 11th century and amazing glass panes dating back to the 1400s.

In the adjacent parks, visitors can detect parts of the former fortification. Also noteworthy is the Maison du Sel with its unusual terrace-like roof. At Quai Amselmann visitors will find beautiful mansions like Maison Vogelsberger with Renaissance portals.

Despite its size, Wissembourg is always great for a shopping trip. Every Saturday morning, the market with regional food and arts and crafts takes place on Place de la Republique. Lovers of interior decoration will enjoy strolling through Le Jardin de Stanislas (Rue Stanislas), for example. Go for a sweet treat at La Boite a Biscuit (40 Rue Nationale) or chocolate manufacturer Daniel Rebert (7, Place du Marché aux Choux).

A mini train takes visitors on a 45-minute ride through the town. It departs at the Place de la Republique and includes guided tours in French, German, Dutch and English.

Starting today and ending in May, the train runs from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday through Sundays. Beginning June 1, the tour is offered daily. Tickets are available at the departure location and cost €3 for children 6 to 14 years old and €5.50 for adults.
For more information, e-mail info@ot-wissembourg.fr.

Wissembourg is perfect for a relaxing and enjoyable day out, but if you are planning on staying longer, include a visit to the Vogese National Park or even bring lots of time for Strasbourg. For details, visit www.tourisme-alsace.com/en/.