Citadel of Bitche, Bitche, Lorraine, France

The imposing Bitche Citadel with its thick, solid walls flanked with fortified bastions perches on a rocky promontory brooding over the town. Its magnificent outline appears as startling landmark among the high peaks of the Northern Vosges. Between 1680 and 1754, both Vauban and Cormontaigne contributed to the castle structure, built to buttress the power of the French kings.

It is a perfect example of military fortification from the 17th and 18th centuries with its singular design and advanced techniques. A large screen cinema in the underground galleries shows extracts from ‘The Besieged Fortress’. This 2006 film by the director Gérard Mordillat is a stunning epic about the historic 1870-1871 siege during the Franco-Prussian war.

The restored Chapel displays the original scale model plan of Bitche and entertaining, interactive touchscreen kiosks zoom in on the architectural details. ‘The Men of the 1870 War’ is a museum that has a realistic approach to the conflict, displaying archival images and soldiers’ accounts. 13 audio visual points are distributed above ground detailing the major areas of interest.

Visit France. Epic France Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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