Located in the Vosges mountains, on a rocky outcrop high in the Orschwiller commune of the Bas-Rhin département, Haut-Koenigsburg is one of Alsace’s main visitor draws.
Over 600,000 people come here every year to enjoy the strategically blessed 12th century castle with a turbulent history.
Its original purpose was to provide a defensively sound lookout for the wine and wheat routes to the North and the silver and salt routes from West to East but fell into ruin over time.
Abandoned for 200 years until 1865, in 1899 it was rebuilt by Kaiser Wilhelm II as a museum to fathfully reflect life in the Middle Ages. Inside, rooms are decorated with murals, Renaissance furniture and enormous cast-iron stoves.
Tours of the two-floor building and medieval garden, with stunning views to the Alsace plain 757 metres below, are available.
Also not to be missed:
Tour de France
Join the crowds to cheer on the péloton
The Passage du Gois on Ile de Noirmoutier has the honour of hosting the tour opener this year, before the riders head off for the gruelling 21 stage bike ride. The race begins a week later than normal because of the football World Cup.
Known to English-speakers as Bastille Day, this French bank holiday celebrates the day French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille prison in 1789, putting an end to the ancien
régime and helping to kick-start the French Revolution. Military displays and parties aplenty up and down the land.