Off the Beaten Path: Rodemack, France

Updated on February 14, 2018
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Zeko likes traveling and sharing her travel experiences and photos with other like-minded people.

The medieval village of Rodemack, France
The medieval village of Rodemack, France | Source

France is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and with its endless lavender fields in Provence, glamorous Riviera resorts, Parisian landmarks, and legendary fine cuisine, it's not hard to see why. The country has a lot to offer and this naturally draws huge tourist crowds. However, if the prospect of huge crowds and hectic cities is not particularly appealing to you, why not step off the beaten path and into the tranquil backcountry? There are many other beautiful, picturesque, and interesting places you can explore. One of them is Rodemack. Ever heard of it?

Location

A markerRodemack, France -
57570 Rodemack, France
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The small medieval village of Rodemack is located in the North-Eastern part of the Lorraine region. The area is known as “the land of the three frontiers” because Lorraine is the only region in France to have three international borders - with Luxembourg, Germany, and Belgium. Because of its location, the village has been fought over, exchanged, and occupied various times by several countries, but in 1769 it officially became French.

9 Things to See and Do in Rodemack

You won't need more than a couple of hours to explore this little gem. If you are into history or photography, you will love its quiet streets, the ramparts, the castle and the colorful window shutters.

Although off the beaten path, Rodemack is by no means unknown - this charming community receives a decent amount of visitors, but it is the kind of place that is visited mainly by French tourists rather than foreign ones.

Rodemack is listed as one of France's 153 most beautiful villages.

1. Gate of Sierck

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Fortified medieval gate of Sierck, Rodemack, FranceAn old wooden wagon, filled with flowers, sits near the gate of Sierck.
Fortified medieval gate of Sierck, Rodemack, France
Fortified medieval gate of Sierck, Rodemack, France
An old wooden wagon, filled with flowers, sits near the gate of Sierck.
An old wooden wagon, filled with flowers, sits near the gate of Sierck. | Source

To enter the walled village, you go through the fortified gate of Sierck, flanked by two towers. This gate was reconstructed in 1989 because the original one, built in the 14th century, was torn down during the Second World War by the American troops, who liberated Rodemack, to accommodate their tanks.

The entrance is free, and there is also a free parking lot near the gate.

2. "Gate of Sierck" Square and St. Nicolas Church

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"Gate of Sierck" square, Rodemack.The fresh water fountain in the middle of the "Porte de Sierck" square, close to the gate.Flowers and colorful shutters.
"Gate of Sierck" square, Rodemack.
"Gate of Sierck" square, Rodemack. | Source
The fresh water fountain in the middle of the "Porte de Sierck" square, close to the gate.
The fresh water fountain in the middle of the "Porte de Sierck" square, close to the gate. | Source
Flowers and colorful shutters.
Flowers and colorful shutters. | Source

As soon as you enter the historic part, you will see the "Gate of Sierck" square with its fresh water fountain and the Neo-Baroque church of St. Nicolas. You will also be greeted by colorful window shutters and beautiful floral displays.

3. Explore the Quaint Streets

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One of the streets of Rodemack and its charming houses.Rodemack, FranceThe building of the old post office in Rodemack.A narrow cobblestone street, weaving between old stone houses that seem unchanged for hundreds of years.The combination of flowers against the harsh stone and masonry is really lovely!Tiny, secluded garden, filled with plants.A cute window, decked with quirky, cat lace curtains, a herb planter, and a basket full of mushrooms.
One of the streets of Rodemack and its charming houses.
One of the streets of Rodemack and its charming houses. | Source
Rodemack, France
Rodemack, France | Source
The building of the old post office in Rodemack.
The building of the old post office in Rodemack. | Source
A narrow cobblestone street, weaving between old stone houses that seem unchanged for hundreds of years.
A narrow cobblestone street, weaving between old stone houses that seem unchanged for hundreds of years. | Source
The combination of flowers against the harsh stone and masonry is really lovely!
The combination of flowers against the harsh stone and masonry is really lovely! | Source
Tiny, secluded garden, filled with plants.
Tiny, secluded garden, filled with plants. | Source
A cute window, decked with quirky, cat lace curtains, a herb planter, and a basket full of mushrooms.
A cute window, decked with quirky, cat lace curtains, a herb planter, and a basket full of mushrooms. | Source

As you stroll through the quaint streets, lined with picturesque old houses, you will get a glimpse of what life once was. You will notice, however, that not all of the buildings are from the medieval era. Because throughout its history Rodemack has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, there is a mixture of 19th-century French country homes and buildings dating back to the 14th century.

Across the street from the tourist office, there is a big house, built in 1560, that used to serve as a residence for the representatives of the Lords who governed the region. People call it the “small castle” and some say that its entrance was mentioned by Victor Hugo in one of his poems.

Another charming aspect of this little commune, along with the cobalt blue shutters and the flowers, is the beautiful wrought-iron signs hanging over shops and businesses to advertise what is sold inside. These medieval-style signs feature images rather than words because during the medieval period most people were illiterate.

4. "Fontaine" Square

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"Place de la Fontaine" square, seen from the old washhouse.One of the lovely houses in the square, brimming with blooming flowers. The blue shutters and the vintage ceramic pots on the windowsills add even more charm to the house.  The old public washhouse, Rodemack
"Place de la Fontaine" square, seen from the old washhouse.
"Place de la Fontaine" square, seen from the old washhouse. | Source
One of the lovely houses in the square, brimming with blooming flowers.
One of the lovely houses in the square, brimming with blooming flowers. | Source
The blue shutters and the vintage ceramic pots on the windowsills add even more charm to the house.
The blue shutters and the vintage ceramic pots on the windowsills add even more charm to the house. | Source
 The old public washhouse, Rodemack
The old public washhouse, Rodemack | Source

Right in the heart of the village is the “Fontaine” square. There you will find an old public washhouse, which was in service until 1960. The water that feeds the washhouse comes from one of the numerous creeks that run at the foot of the fortress.

5. Check out the Castle’s Remains and the Citadel’s Park

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The House of the Officers, Rodemack, FranceThe House of the Officers seen from the outside of the fortification wall.
The House of the Officers, Rodemack, France
The House of the Officers, Rodemack, France | Source
The House of the Officers seen from the outside of the fortification wall.
The House of the Officers seen from the outside of the fortification wall. | Source

One of the most prominent historical structures in the commune is the remains of a 12th-century castle. What is actually left of the old feudal castle, built by the first lord of Rodemack, Arnoux I, are a couple of small buildings and the House of the Officers. This house was restored in the beginning of the 20th century, but the building is privately owned and tourists are not allowed inside. However, the citadel’s park surrounding the “castle” is open to the public during the weekends, and the entry is free.

6. Walk the Ramparts

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View of the fortification wall and the main street from the Notre Dame chapel.A narrow path running parallel to the fortification wall.
View of the fortification wall and the main street from the Notre Dame chapel.
View of the fortification wall and the main street from the Notre Dame chapel. | Source
A narrow path running parallel to the fortification wall.
A narrow path running parallel to the fortification wall. | Source

Rodemack is enclosed by almost 700 m of ramparts, built in the 14th century by its residents to protect themselves. After exploring the historic streets and the castle, climb up to the ramparts (near the gate of Sierck) and walk the wall for a bird's-eye view of the place. There is no admission fee.

Because Rodemack is built like a fortress, it is often called the "Little Carcassonne of Lorraine", referring to the famous walled city of Carcassonne, in the south of France.

7. Visit the Medieval Garden

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The fortification wall and the medieval garden.The medieval garden and the creek of Faulbach.Old bridge over the creek.
The fortification wall and the medieval garden.
The fortification wall and the medieval garden. | Source
The medieval garden and the creek of Faulbach.
The medieval garden and the creek of Faulbach. | Source
Old bridge over the creek.
Old bridge over the creek. | Source

Enclosed between the fortification wall and the creek of Faulbach lies a dormant medieval garden. The garden is divided into four parts: one contains medicinal plants like thyme (used for cough relief) and vervain (an excellent remedy for healing wounds); another part grows herbs for cooking (parsley, sage, dill etc.); a third part of the garden is dedicated to vegetables; and the last one is planted with flowers.

The admission to the garden is also free.

8. The Chapel of Notre Dame

The chapel of Notre Dame.
The chapel of Notre Dame. | Source

At the other end of the village you will find the small chapel of Notre Dame. It was built in 1658 by the people that once lived there to thank the Virgin Mary for the end of the Thirty Years War. There is not much to see inside, but you get a nice view of the castle and the main street from there.

9. Attend an Event

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Medieval Fair, RodemackMedieval Fair, Rodemack
Medieval Fair, Rodemack
Medieval Fair, Rodemack | Source
Medieval Fair, Rodemack
Medieval Fair, Rodemack
  • Wine market in April - Every year, in April, winemakers from the villages classified as the most beautiful in France gather in Rodemack for a wine market. The market usually takes place in the cellars of the House of the Officers and the citadel's park. Besides the winemakers, there are also local producers that offer great homemade products such as honey, bread, oil, foie gras, and traditional sweets.
  • Flower market in May.
  • Medieval Fair in June – This is a two-day event that attracts a lot of visitors from the area. During the fair, all participants dress in traditional costumes and the streets of the village fill with knights, troubadours, fire-eaters, and acrobats that keep the people entertained. The admission fee is 10 € (2-day pass is 15 €) and finding a parking spot can be tough.
  • Medieval Christmas market in December.

The Best Time to Visit Rodemack

Late spring, summer, and early fall is the best time to visit Rodemack if you want to enjoy its colorful streets, the medieval garden and the beautiful nature in the region. The winter is usually rainy and the citadel’s park is closed during that time (from September to May).

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 iZeko

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      • GClark profile image

        GClark 6 years ago from United States

        Voted Up on this well-written review complete with beautiful photos. GClark

      • iZeko profile image
        Author

        iZeko 6 years ago

        I’m happy you enjoyed my virtual tour :-). Thanks for the nice comment and the votes!

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

        What a neat visit you give us here! Thanks so much for a great hub. Your photos are stunning, sharing the story with your words in a beautiful way.

        Voted up and awesome.

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