Friends observers, I present to you my town of Reichshoffen: From the Renardière, leave your car in the parking lot and walk along the rivers: the Schwarzbach and the Falkensteinbach sealed the fate of the old town, and you may know how be to discover the beauties scattered along its paths.
Chateau De Dietrich
At the end of Luxembourg Island, in the city center, hides Château De Dietrich, bordered by its thick forest on one side, and its park on the other.
The castle was built from 1770 on the initiative of John III de Dietrich, holder of the seigneury of Reichshoffen from 1761. The shell was carried out by the master mason Christian G’Styr according to the plans of the architect Joseph Massol. It was a princely residence until the revolution, then changed owners several times until it was bought by the De Dietrich Company in 1951. At the entrance to the castle, the tower resembling a dovecote was built in 1807 to serve as a “water tower”.
St Michael’s Church
The Saint-Michel church, in sandstone from the Vosges, was located on the edge of the second fortified wall of Reichshoffen, on the site of old dwellings, the cemetery and the old church. The first stone was laid in 1772.
Its imposing bell tower 72 m above the old town makes the Saint-Michel church the second tallest church in Alsace after Strasbourg cathedral.
The shell was erected between 1772 and 1774 by master masons C. G’Styr and F.-J. Messmer, according to plans by Christiani Père. The harmonious ringing of the 5 carillon bells meant that they were not requisitioned and melted down by the Germans during the 1st World War. The two oldest date from 1786 and 1812, the latter cast in honor of the birth of the King of Rome.
Inside the church mixes the classic style and the baroque.
The high altar was made by the Walter brothers from Mainz. In the middle of the altarpiece, the painting represents a descent from the cross made by the painter J. Melling in 1790.
The altarpieces of the 2 side altars were made by F. Strohe cabinetmaker from Strasbourg, who also made the admirable pulpit, Louis XVI style. The 2 paintings of the altarpieces represent the Annunciation and Saint Michael executed by J. Schlau.
The church has 2 organs:
The grandstand organ is a work by Stieffel & Stiehr (1777) in a case built by F Schaedel.
The choir organ acquired in 1982 is a Flemish-type organ dating from 1626. The 1983 instrumentation is due to organ builder Albin Unfer.
An unhappy black virgin on her heap of pebbles adorns the church square, in honor of a cholera epidemic which raged in 1855. I am astonished by the ugliness of her plinth and by its unsuitable location, which blocks the perspective of the church. It seems that the subject of his trip (Joan of Arc’s place would be perfect) is not to be raised.
Information from PETIT PATRIMOINE.
At the cemetery
Do not hesitate to visit the cemetery which has some romantic curiosities, such as the monumental and neo-Gothic tomb of De Leusse, and the stone erected in memory of the dead during the war of 1870. The place is quite bucolic, some tombs eaten away by the moss catches the eye. Fortunately the horrible grotto of Lourdes at the exit does not manage to spoil everything.
During your walks in the old town you will notice 2 towers, and maybe even a third of which only a stump remains in private property. This is their story.
In 1286, Reichshoffen was elevated to the rank of city by Rudolf I of Habsburg. From then on, it became the only fortified city north of Haguenau. In the Middle Ages, it underwent an expansion which led to the extension of the enclosure and the separation between lower town and upper town. City gates “Hinterdor”, “Vorderdor” and “Mitteldor”, as well as a night watchman, ensured security. But that was without counting the aggressiveness of the Swedish troops. In 1633 (Thirty Years’ War), they took advantage of a harsh winter to cross the ditches on the ice. This historic event is the origin of the name “Tour des Suédois” (rue de Woerth).
On the two preserved towers, maintenance work was carried out in 1920 and 1933; More recently, the Historical Society cleared one of the towers from the ivy. In 2008, their preservation required real restoration. In order to restore the Reichshoffen towers to their original appearance, conical roofs were reconstructed according to a 17th century engraving.
This information is taken from Fondation Patrimoine.
Magnificent photos of these towers can be admired on the blog of Bernard Schmitt, a resident of the city keen on history and photographs.
The city center
A network of streets and alleys lined with old houses, sometimes uninhabited or poorly maintained: this is at first sight the old town of Reichshoffen. And yet, for those who know how to look, we will discover magnificent half-timbered buildings, charming nooks crumbling under flowers, architectural curiosities, pocket gardens or houses renovated with a lot of love. But the greatest charm of the city of Reichshoffen is not there: it hides in the vegetable gardens which have grown along the rivers, and which are the true green heart of the city. Tiny alleys lined with high fences allow you to walk there, sometimes in cul de sac, sometimes running from one commercial street to another. There grow tiny paradises, often touching by their playful appearance. A strange feature, these gardens in the heart of the city!
I also have to talk about the pedestrian paths that run along the shaded rivers. They beautifully crisscross the city from the old center from the Luxembourg Island (under the windows of La Renardière) to the ALSTOM industrial establishments on one side, the supermarket corner on the other, and they climb gently towards Lake Reichshoffen.
Thanks to these beautiful walks, we forget the closed shops and deserted windows that are the lot of our French villages.
The Reichshoffen’s lake
We also say “Lake Wolfhartshoffen, classified as a Nature Reserve. It is a magical place that I constantly tell my guests, easy to reach on foot from the city center. In short, I love this place full of beauty every season. Ask me to lend you the binoculars to observe the birds: a natural spectacle and full of life.
I copy what RESERVES NATURELLES DE FRANCE says:
This reserve covers an area of more than 24 hectares near the place called Wohlfahrtshoffen, towards Jaegerthal, at the entrance to the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park.
The Reichshoffen body of water is a recently created area, filled in 1982 to regulate the flow of the Schwarzbach, a river on sandstone belonging to the Natura 2000 site “Moder and its tributaries”. Surrounded by forests, in particular the Eyler and Neuwald massifs, it has been designed to accommodate local tourism (walking path around the lake, botanical path, bird observation post, etc.).
The main ecological stake of this artificial water point is the presence of a rich and varied aquatic avifauna. 130 species have in fact been recorded since 1982 on the body of water or in the surrounding wetlands, including around forty nesting species that reproduce there (great crested grebe, red-foxtail, reed bunting). The reserve also hosts the coppery marsh, a rare butterfly in the Northern Vosges and in marked decline in Alsace.
This area is also a breeding ground for amphibians (common toad, red and green frogs, etc.), and fish (pike, trout, carp, etc.). The reserve also has a diverse flora: we can notably mention the cuckoo flower lychnis, the May orchis, the crimson orchis or the false azore iris.
Remnant of a primitive church, in very poor condition when I moved to Reichshoffen, it has undergone careful renovation, thanks to the donation of a local painter.
Here is the municipal link for the explanations. ALTKIRCH IN REICHSHOFFEN
The iron museum
Young and old alike will find interest in this museum, with its animated models, its pretty everyday iron objects made in the city and the city’s history through the centuries. I am quite a fan of this place, housed in the old and vast rectory. In season a couple of storks raise their young there. ALL ABOUT THE IRON MUSEUM
This long article …
… To explain to you that a traveler in a hurry, who stops for one night in Reichshoffen and thinks he will find an intense nightlife there, is on the wrong track. This natural territory is discovered over the course of walks, and it will appeal to lovers of calm, authenticity. It will appeal to those who love the simple pleasures offered by protected landscapes, deep forests, pink sandstone mountains with strange stones, generous rivers, traces of the past.