The rocks of the Cave of the Dwarves form an impressive gorge about 25 meters high called Erdwibalaschlucht (the parade of the little women of the earth) and formed by the working of water in the 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 Dwarves. Located at the bottom of the gorge, the cave takes on the appearance of a slit that opens in the rock wall and continues through two guts, all developed over about fifteen meters.
Above the gorge, you can access the Plateau des Nains. From there, we have 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 parking lot of the Communauté de Communes in Ferrette (3A route de Lucelle) and take the red diamond path 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 leaving the village, take the forest path on your left indicated by a wooden sign "Sentier des Nains". Continue to the car park located a few hundred meters further on. From the car park, count 15-20min walk on a beautiful path accessible by 4X4 stroller.
Oltingue was the most populated of the 33 villages of the seigneury of Ferrette before the Thirty Years' War. The village has kept the borrowing of the old terraced cultivation which gave pride of place to the vines favored by a dry climate attributed to the location of the village, at the foot of a hill, in the blind spot of atmospheric currents. The Ill crosses the town with many sites to discover.
To see :
- The Peasant Museum of Oltingue : created in the 70s, it presents, in a half-timbered peasant house, the collections assembled by Father Etienne Bilger (1901-1980) and enables us to understand how the Sundgauvians lived before the rapid development of the countryside in the XNUMXth century.
- The church of Saint-Martin-des-Champs : former mother church of three villages, listed as a Historic Monument and dating from the fourteenthe century, it contains tombs from the 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 north-east 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, now replaced by a farmhouse which attracts many tourists in fine weather.
- Lth big trees trail from the parking lot of the St Brice chapel
A small town nestled at the foot of its castle, the town of the powerful counts of Ferrette is nestled on the first foothills of the Alsatian Jura ... This town with a prestigious past will charm you with its narrow and romantic paths which lead to the haughty ruins of the Ferrette castle and the mysterious Dwarf Cave 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 a quasi-sovereign state for nearly 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 Mazarin family.
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 walking tour, 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 : count 1:30 to 2 hours and plan to wear good shoes.
- Visit of the castle: 45 / 60min. Pedestrian access 15 min from the parking lot of the Tourist Office. To be well shod. Walking guide to discover the castles from the Alsatian Jura: € 3
- Guided tour of the town and the castle, every Thursday at 16 p.m. in summer, from July 16 to August 6, 2020.
- 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.
The flowery village of Friesen, in the Vallée de la Largue, has preserved around fifty half-timbered buildings, the construction of which spanned from 1497 to 1878: corbelled houses, traditional farms, fountains, monobloc farms, short timber houses, forges… put on a show.
A guide, available at the Tourist Office, offers you an easy walk through preserved and richly flowered streets to discover this unique heritage, including the oldest half-timbered house known in Alsace.
The skilful geometry of the traditional sundgauvian half-timbered house, the result of a construction technique developed over five centuries by the corporation of carpenters, is revealed there. The old farm buildings, adapted to modern life, have retained all their old-world charm and the geraniums put the finishing touches on the picture.
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.
Sundgau, South Alsace, Cycling Paradise, it is above all a set of routes where pleasure and discovery go hand in hand. We offer nearly 300 km of marked discovery tours allowing you, in all serenity, to explore one of the most beautiful regions of Alsace, authentic, mysterious and preserved from mass tourism.
On a scale of 1: 75, this map, available free of charge from Sundgau tourist offices, presents 000 cycling 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 a guide which describes the 9 routes at a price of 5 €.
Nestled in lush greenery, the Château du Morimont is 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 took an oath there to free their country from the Bernese yoke to form a new canton, which was the case in 1978.
Visit of the ramparts, guard towers, an exceptional vaulted cellar whose dimensions make it unique in Alsace. An access path allows you 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.
Fried carp is THE typical Sundgau culinary specialty.
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 conceived without tasting this typical specialty. Served with a salad, fries, always with lemon and mayonnaise, carp is eaten with the fingers.
Eager to promote local traditions, around thirty restaurateurs, with their traditional know-how, have come together in the “Sundgau, Routes de la Carpe Frite” Association.
The Maison de la Nature du Sundgau, built by the Communauté des Communes de la Porte d'Alsace, offers nature discovery activities for all audiences.
Animations to live:
All year round, the Maison de la Nature du Sundgau offers activities for young people and the general public:
- She supports teachers in their educational project on nature,
- It organizes courses or camps with "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 Sundgauvian natural heritage, original evenings or fun workshops for families (program available on the website). For those who prefer to walk the Sundgau paths in complete autonomy, it also distributes guides for walks from Altenach.
The most curious will also take the time to browse, on the Altenach site, our discovery trail, the small geology gallery "the key to the soil" and they can spend a few moments in the Strange Grange, to meet a very particular universe ...
Hirtzbach is proud of its four flowers, awarded at the national and European level for the quality of its flowering, 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.
The city is home to Sundgauvien Museum and Rhine Center for Contemporary Art to discover all year round.
The Priory of Saint Morand, 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 golden signs, it also organizes many and varied cultural events such as: the Enchanted Forest in December, the Music Festival, Sound'Go Festival and street performances in summer, concerts and many other shows carried 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
Romanesque jewel of Sundgau, the church dates from 1144. Designed by Count Frédéric I de Ferrette as a burial place for himself and his family. Listed as a historical 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 old roads. These pilgrims came mainly from the Palatinate, passed through Strasbourg. The restored church was solemnly inaugurated on July 1, 3 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 !