Now I’m not sure how it’s pronounced in French, but there’s no doubt that in English, this is a fabulously good town name. It’s another unexpected stop that proves quite lovely.
We’re back in the Lorraine region, very close to the German border – it’s an interesting blend of the two cultures. The local dialect is a blend of French/German that we struggle a bit with, but this is more than made up for with the excellent sausages available – there’s no doubting the German influence there. The weisswurst are particularly good. Stuffed with cheese, they cook up a treat.
The morning is lost to chores but the afternoon brings the opportunity to explore. Bitche is the regional capital, famous for its impressive Citadel.
Built in the 1740s, it’s been used as a key defence fort in virtually every war since. The celebrated poet Victor Hugo’s father fought a key battle here as part of the Franco/Prussian war – he was the lead general.
The town itself is pretty, manicured perfectly, with the bonus of an art display on show.
Much of the town features a reddy/pink stone and shutters feature prominently.
As do cats! We spot 4 on the way though, sunning themselves on window sills.
Elsewhere, we see hundreds of tiny lizards who live in the tiniest of burrows taking advantage of the late summer sun.
There’s an impressive church,
and Hotel de Ville,
the latter complete with an enormous stork’s nest on top of its chimney.
The art works are metal sculptures that range from this cheeky cancan girl
to my little furry friends who have been remarkably absent on this trip.
We lap the town then go for coffee and cake – Chris’ idea (…wonders never cease!). It’s delightful too, generous wodges of delicate sponge sandwiched with cream, topped with jelled raspberries. Delightful! Chris had always been partial to a good sponge.
All that walking up and down hill, not to mention all those chores call for a lazy late afternoon in the sun. Champagne takes up far too much room in the fridge and I do my best to oblige by reducing its volume.
Thus fortified, we tackle the walk around the Citadel which offer fabulous views of the town below and and an up close view of what an impressive defence system it was.
Three levels of defence, Chris deems. The outer perimeters, which you have to scale a large hill to get to, the dry moat, another high wall to scale, then the 75 metre high Citadel itself. You’d want to be really committed to your cause…
Later, the twilight skies and back lighting offer a new view:
No matter which way you look at it, it’s a very impressive structure.
Bitche is a great spot, well worth stopping.