Small city nestled at the foot of its castle, the city of the powerful Counts of Ferrette is nestled in the first foothills of the Alsatian Jura ... This city with a prestigious past will charm you with its narrow and romantic paths that lead to the haughty ruins of the castle of Ferrette and the mysterious Cave of the Dwarves where a famous legend is told.
Everything in this city refers to the history of the Counts of Ferrette who founded the most powerful of the seigneuries reigning in an almost sovereign state for almost two centuries in the Middle Ages. Today, Prince Albert II of Monaco still bears the title of Count of Ferrette due to the marriage of his ancestor Grimaldi in 1777 with the heiress of the Mazarins.
Come and discover this charming little town, his castle, its listed church and town hall, its Tourist Office, its many hiking trails without forgetting its Dwarven Cave hidden at the foot of an impressive limestone gorge.
To do :
- Ferrette, the castle and the Cave of the Dwarfs : 4,5 km / 2 hours. Topoguide to download here
- Discovery tour of the old town and the castle : allow 1 to 30 hours and bring good shoes.
- Castle visit: 45 / 60min. Pedestrian access 15 min from the parking lot of the Tourist Office. To be well fitted. Walking guide to discover the castles from the Alsatian Jura: 3 €
- Guided night tour of the city and the castle, every Wednesday evening in summer.
- Access to the Rossberg Panoramic Tower : 30/45 min round trip from the parking lot of the Ferrette motorhome area. Possibility of making a larger loop from Ferrette or Vieux Ferrette.
- For families, a fun ride is offered via the "Track and Treasure" application on a smartphone.
The flowery village of Friesen, in the Largue Valley, has preserved around fifty half-timbered buildings, the construction of which spanned from 1497 to 1878: corbelled houses, traditional farms, fountains, monoblock farms, short-timbered houses, forges… perform.
A guide, available at the Tourist Office, offers an easy walk through preserved and richly flowered streets to discover this unique heritage, including the oldest half-timbered house known in Alsace.
The clever geometry of the traditional Sundgauvian house made of half-timbering, the fruit of a construction technique developed over five centuries by the corporation of carpenters is revealed. The old farmhouses, adapted to modern life, have retained all their charm of yesteryear and the geraniums put the finishing touches on the table.
Nestled in lush greenery, the Morimont castle was mentioned for the first time in 1183 and controlled the upper valley of the largue. It was destroyed during the Thirty Years War by French troops.
In 1826, a group of Jura patriots swore to liberate their country from the Bernese yoke to form a new canton, which was the case in 1978.
Visit the ramparts, watchtowers, an exceptional vaulted cellar whose dimensions make it unique in Alsace. A path allows to go around the castle.
A guidebook entitled "Discovering the Three Castles of the Alsatian Jura" presents the castle and offers a walking tour around the castle.
The Sundgau Nature House, built by the Community of Communes of the Porte d'Alsace, offers nature discovery activities for all audiences.
Animations to live:
Throughout the year, the Sundgau Nature Center offers activities for young people and the general public:
- It supports teachers in their educational project on nature,
- It organizes internships or camps for “nature” activities for young people during the holidays,
- It also offers the general public a program of guided outings to discover the natural heritage of Sundgau, practical ecology workshops, festive events, etc.
What about summer?
The MNS offers guided outings to discover the Sundgauvien natural heritage, original evenings or fun workshops to do with the family (program available on the website). For those who prefer to travel the Sundgau paths independently, it also distributes trip sheets from Altenach.
The most curious will also take the time to explore our discovery trail, the little geology gallery “la clef des sols” on the Altenach site, and they will be able to spend a few moments in the Strange Grange, to meet a very special universe…
Fried carp is THE typical culinary specialty of Sundgau.
It gave its name to a tourist route, Les Routes de la Carpe Frite, which is today a Remarkable Site of Taste, a label awarded by the National Council of Culinary Arts.
Discovering Sundgau cannot be imagined without tasting this typical specialty. Served with a salad, fries, always with lemon and mayonnaise, the carp is eaten with your fingers.
Eager to make local traditions known, around thirty restaurateurs, strong of their traditional know-how, joined together in the Association "Sundgau, Routes de la Carpe Frite".
The city is home to Sundgauvien Museum and the Rhenish Center for Contemporary Art to discover all year round.
The Saint Morand Priory, Notre-Dame Church, the old city walls and its other medieval remains reflect the cultural and architectural diversity that can be observed there. As many guided tours for groups and individuals are available on request. You will also find at the Tourist Office a tourist map to discover the city for yourself.
Modern city with an original spirit, strong of a dynamic commercial fabric, grouped within the association Altkirch Traditions awarded with two gold panels, it also organizes numerous and varied cultural meetings such as: the Enchanted Forest in December the Fête de la Musique, Sound'Go Festival and street shows in summer, concerts and many other shows hosted by energetic local associations.
Free guided tours of the city are organized every summer and you can also discover Altkirch and its surroundings through short hikes.A street art circuit allows you to discover the city differently! Brochure available at the Tourist Office.
Market days :
Thursday morning : from 7 a.m. to 13 p.m., large market throughout the city center
Saturday morning : from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., small farmers market, place Xavier Jourdain
The Ste Catherine Fair : the last Thursday of November, big fair in the whole city
The rocks of the Cave of the Dwarves form an impressive gorge about 25 meters high called Erdwibalaschlucht (the parade of small women of the earth) and formed by the work of water in karst limestone. According to legend, these little women of the earth lived with the Erdmanala (little men of the earth) inside the Cave of the Dwarfs. Located at the bottom of the gorge, the cave takes on the appearance of a slit which opens into the rock wall and is continued by two hoses, all developed over fifteen meters.
Above the gorge, you can access the Plateau des Nains. From there, there is a beautiful view of the Ill valley and the villages of Bouxwiller, Werentzhouse. The place also bears the name of Erdwibalafelsen (Roche aux Fées).
2 possible accesses:
- park in the community of Ferrette car park (3A route de Lucelle) and take the red diamond trail along the road towards Sondersdorf. Allow 30 to 35 minutes to access the cave (1,8km).
- park in the Keucht car park located in the forest. Take the direction of Sondersdorf and, a little before the exit of the village, take on your left the forest path indicated by a wooden sign "Sentier des Nains". Continue to the car park located a few hundred meters further. From the car park, allow 15-20 minutes of walking on a beautiful path accessible by 4X4 stroller.
Le Sundgau, Sud Alsace, Paradis du vélo, is above all a series of routes where pleasure and discovery go hand in hand. We offer nearly 300 km of marked discovery circuits allowing you, in complete serenity, to explore one of the most beautiful regions of Alsace, authentic, mysterious and unspoiled by mass tourism.
At a scale of 1: 75 this map, available free of charge from the Sundgau tourist offices, presents 000 bike circuits, from 9 to 25 km with the main tourist sites crossed. The map highlights the secure cycle paths including the Euro Vélo 45 which crosses the Sundgau. The card is completed with guide which describes the 9 courses at a price of 5 €.
Oltingue was the most populated of the 33 villages of the seigniory of Ferrette before the Thirty Years War. The village has kept the imprint of the old terraced culture which gave pride of place to the vine, favored by a dry climate attributed to the situation of the village, at the foot of a hill, in the dead angle of atmospheric currents. The Ill crosses the town, rich in numerous sites to discover.
To see :
- The Peasant Museum of Oltingue : created in the 70s, it presents in a half-timbered peasant house collections collected by Father Etienne Bilger (1901-1980) and allows us to understand how the Sundgauviens lived before the rapid evolution of the countryside in the XNUMXth century.
- The church of Saint-Martin-des-Champs : former mother church of three villages, classified as a Historic Monument and dating from the XNUMXthe century it contains tombs of viie century and viiie century highlights and frescoes prior to 1350 depicting characters from the Old Testament and saints.
- Saint Martin's church : Built in 1824 by the bailiff of Ferrette, who found the Saint-Martin-des-Champs church too small and above all too far away, it contains a Callinet organ classified as a Historic Monument in 1973. Magnificent interior furniture is also to be discovered.
- The Saint-Brice Chapel : attested in 1361, partially rebuilt in 1669, it is located, isolated, 3 km northeast of the village of Oltingue in a clearing. Formerly Saint-Brice was a famous place of pilgrimage, appearing in 1576 on the map of Alsace under the name of Saint-Brixi. In 1567 a hermitage stood near the chapel, today replaced by a farm inn which attracts many tourists in fine weather.
- Lth big trees trail from the parking lot of St Brice chapel
Romanesque jewel of Sundgau, the church dates from 1144. Designed by Count Frédéric 1er de Ferrette as a burial site for himself and his family. Classified as a historic monument, the church is today the oldest in Alsace dedicated to St Jacques le Majeur. The pilgrims' path to Compostela passed through Feldbach, the crossroads of many ancient roads. These pilgrims came largely from the Palatinate, passing through Strasbourg. The restored church was officially inaugurated on July 3, 1977 by Mgr Brand Auxiliary Bishop, now Archbishop of Strasbourg.
Find the Feldbach church on the Route Romane d'Alsace website!
Lovers of geocaching and treasure hunts, you will also find geocaches in this area !
Hirtzbach is proud of its four flowers, awarded on a national and European scale for the quality of its flowers, it is a village where life is indisputably good.
Following the course of the stream (the Hirschbach), we discover beautiful half-timbered houses, as well as an alley of hundred-year-old lime trees. As you walk through Charles de Reinach Park, you can admire the last Sundgau glacier, wonderful vegetation and the Reinach Castle.
The Sainte-Afre chapel and the parish church are full of artistic and architectural remains including a painting by Gutzwiller, a fresco by Limido (in the church) and a pietà from the XNUMXth century (in the chapel).
Do not miss the 1st weekend of August The celebration of Nature, a big street party organized over two days which enlivens the whole village and attracts every summer some 10 people to Hirtzbach: exhibitions, craft stands, street entertainment, folk music and fireworks round off the festivities.
It was transformed into a garrison according to Vauban's plans (1689), burned and bombed in 1817 and finally classified as a Historic Monument in 1923. XNUMXth century dungeon, towers, remains of the chapel and the well offer a pleasant green stroll. . Free visit all year round.