Last week, we spent the afternoon in France and stumbled on the most amazing castle ruins.
Welcome to Chateau du Fleckenstein!
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons– Now, the ruins on a rock, and Then (this drawing is from 1614)
This castle was built by the Fleckenstein family in the early 12th century, and went through many different renovations over a period of hundreds of years. During the 30 years war, this castle provided shelter and protection for many of the families living in the region. The castle was then destroyed in 1689 by a systematic destruction ordered by King Louis XIV during the palatinate succession war.
When you drive up to this castle, you can’t really tell how big, or high it is from the road. It’s right in the middle of the forest, so the tall trees give the illusion that it isn’t very impressive. To climb up to it, you come along the back on a steep sandstone path. On the other side of the castle is a sheer drop off the side of the rock.
On the inside, there are stair wells, the remains of the well system that brought water to the upper levels, and SO much fun for the kids. This castle caters to the little ones- they have a children’s course with signs in English, German and French to encourage the children to solve a mystery while they explore the ruins and learn about life in the middle ages. They tried VERY hard to make it kid friendly, but I would never go with the three kids and only one set of arms. Once you are on the very top of the ruins, there is very little preventing your child from falling a couple hundred feet off the side of a rock cliff.
Not the place to trust my children.
It was a fantastic afternoon, and another reason to love living in this area. Of course we would stumble on something this amazing 2 hours from our home! We had been in that region of the country for a different reason (which I’ll tell you about next week!) but this was really the highlight of our day.
This was another amazing Field Trip Friday, where we cram as much learning as possible into one day a week out on the road exploring Europe. If you’re in the local area, Burg Fleckenstien is near Lembach (Elsass) and offers a children’s program (which is not pictured) for 3 hours. It promises to take your children back to the middle ages and teach them about the forest. I really recommend taking your kids down (with LOTS of adult supervision) to explore this castle! Info, Admission times, and Prices here.