Castle of Ferrette★★★★☆
Castle of Ferrette is one of the oldest in Alsace. It was first mentioned at the beginning of the 12th century when Frederic of Montbeliard built a castle, probably on the ruins of an earlier observation tower built by the Romans.
Frederic I inherited the lands of upper Alsace, which later formed the county of Ferrette; as a result, he became the first Count of Ferette. Seven Counts of Ferrette succeeded one another as masters of the castle. When the last Count died, his daughter Jeanne de Ferrette inherited the County of Ferrette. She married the Archduke Albert II of Habsburg, and the county passed into the hands of the House of Austria.
The Habsburgs installed a bailiff at the castle; they also funded some restoration works to gradually adapt the site to firearms. Between 1540 and 1570, the castle was given to the Fugger family (a prominent family of bankers from Augsburg), who virtually transformed the castle into a garrison. By that time, the castle was made up of two parts: the upper and the lower castle.
During the Thirty Years War, the site was attacked by Swedish troops and the upper castle was destroyed. The lower part survived and it was later restored by its new owners.
At the Treaty of Munster in Westphalia (in 1648), the Emperor of Austria gives the Ferrette County to the King of France, Louis XIV, who offers it to his minister, Cardinal Mazarin as a gift. The title of Count de Ferrette exists today in the person of the Prince of Monaco, through the marriage of his Grimaldi ancestor with the heiress of Mazarin.
The castle today
The castle was burnt during the French Revolution and later served as a stone quarry. Today, the ruins are privately owned but remain open to the public. The upper and lower parts of the castle offer exceptional views of three countries: the French Vosges, the Swiss Juras and the German side forest.
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