The centre of Lauterbourg is a mix of styles. Not much is preserved from before the fire of 1678, for example the Episcopal Residence. In the 18th century some remarkable houses have been built. In the side streets you'll also spot some pretty half-timbered houses. The old town is worth a stroll.
Examples of inetresting or just pretty town houses are shown in this travelogue.
The little protestant church is well hidden in a side lane. It looks a bit unusual and there is reason for that. The building originally served as powder magazine for the Vauban fortress. Itw as built in 1708.
In 1887 the protestant community bought the building to turn it into a church. This proved difficult. Windows and doors had to be broken into the walls which are 1.70 m thick. The floor had to be lowered. A small bell spire, just a wall with two arched openings for the bells, was added on top of the gable.
I would have liked to see the interior, but it was closed and there was no mentioning of opening times, so I assume they only open it for services.
The catholic Church of the Holy Trinity is the centre and landmark of the town. It is located on a platform above the main square (Place de la République), from where you have the best view.
The building still has some medieval (gothic) parts in the choir and the sacresty. It was badly damaged in the wars of the late 17th century, though. The nave has been renewed in 1716. Details of the architecture reveal the origins of the architect: Dominicus Elmenreich had learned his craft in Vorarlberg.
The church is open in the daytime. The interior still contains one piece from the old church: the pulpit, dated 1581.
The Latin inscription above the main portal: "hIC sVM faVente Deo paCe et Vrbe", can be translated as: Here I am, thanks to the Lord, peace and the city. It is a chronogram. The enlarged letters can be read as Roman numbers and give the year of the construction: M D CC VVV I = 1716.
Walk round the church and renjoy the view of the main square with its flower beds from the edge of the platform.
The town gate was built in the place of a medieval gate in 1708. It is part of the baroque fortifications in Vauban style. The outward side shows a relief with a sun in the triangular gable: the symbol of the Sun King Louis XIV, which is presented to every visitor who enters from the German border. Landau is the name of the nearest larger town on the German side.
This gate made history in the German-French War. German troops, Dragoner from Baden commanded by Count Zeppelin, marched into France through here on July 24, 1870. This was the first act of this war (which lead to the foundation of the second German Empire).
... or that's what it looks like. No idea if it has a name; this is my title for it.
An imaginative artist has painted the facade of this small town house in a really weird way.
The house is located next to Porte de Landau. The pink colour makes it impossible to miss. Fancy, huh?
The much smaller Jewish cemetery is surrounded by a high wall, and the gate is locked. But you can catch a glimpse through the wrought-iron gate. The cemetery was opened in the second half of the 19th century, the oldest tombstone present dates from 1877. Most tombstones are pre-World War II, for obvious reasons.
The two cemeteries of Lauterbourg, the Christian and the Jewish (see separate tip) are located next to each other outside the old town along Rue de la Chapelle. The Christian cemetey is the bigger one, and open in the daytime.
The active part of the cemetery has a mix of older and modern tombstones. The older monuments are on family graves that have recently received a new 'inmate', otherwise they would have been cleared after a certain time. The bones are then put to rest in the ossuary next to the little chapel.
A custom that was new to me are the little stone or brass plates on the graves, each donated by a family member or friend with a memorial wish for the defunct.
In the back of the graveyard there are two rows of historical, mostly 19th century tombstones along the hedge, obviously taken away from the graves and put on display there. Some of these marked the graves of members of the local freemason loge "Persévérance". The symbol of this loge was the bee, and it is depicted on their stones.
The little chapel is the first historical building that you will spot on the way from the station into town. It was built in 1667 (date above the portal) after the plague hit the town. Only 200 inhabitants of Lauterbourg survived, and they donated the chapel here outside the town. This was the location of the cemetery where the victims of the epidemy had been buried.
The cemetery is gone. Behind the chapel there is a modern residential quarter with large apartment blocks, named "Cité de la Chapelle".
The town hall of Lauterbourg is a baroque building in the main street, easy to find because of the flags in front of it. The beautiful sandstone portal shows the town crest and the date 1731.
The ground floor hosts the tourist information office, which might be useful for visitors. Even if you don't want to visit it, walk in through the portal to see the vaulted vestibule.
The mairie was enlarged by a modern annex on the left of the historical town hall. I have not found out what the sculpture on the facade is supposed to mean.
The tower and the adjacent ruin are remains of Lauterbourg's medieval fortification. The tower is nabed the "Butchers' Tower" because the butcher guild was in charge of this tower. To each guild a part of the fortification was assigned where their members had to stand guard in case of war or siege. Later on the tower was used as prison.
The tower is not in good shape and the wall is crumbling. Watch out for falling bricks.
The main sight in Lauterbourg is this church. The existence of a parish church and its first certified mentioning is dating back to 1390. The actual chorus, which was vaulted, was finished by 1467, the date of its consecration by the bishop of Speyer, Matthias von Rammung (1417-1478). The sacristy and the staircase tower date back to about the same time. The nave was rebuilt or maybe only restored in 1683 and again rebuilt but bigger in 1716, by the architect Dominique Elmenreich (1674-1722), a native to the Vorarlberg. The date of its accomplishment (1716) is given by a chronogram on the portal: hIC sVM faVente Deo paCe et Vrbe (I am here by the favour of God, thanks to the peace and with the help of the city). It was consecrated in 1719 by the bishop Hugo von Schoenheim. Inside you can see a pulpit made of sandstone (1581) and colourful windows from the Parisian artist Jean Gaudin (1950). The organ body was made by the organ builder Ferdinand Stieffell from Rastatt.
The Town hall, constructed in 1731 has a very nice Renaissance portal with a wrought-iron gate. This remarkable wroughtiron work depicts two vases of flowers around which blooms a sumptuous vegetation of acanthus leaves.
Volutes and plant forms which ornament the door jamb, as well as the Corinthian capitals in bas-relief manifest the worry to enliven a rather strict facade. The same worry can be seen at the opposite school building where a corner is decorated with two twisted columns in oak.
To the left of the old town hall building is a new modern architecture extension.
from Monday to Friday 8:00 - 12:00 and 13:30 - 17:30
Saturdays 9:00 - 12:00