Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ribeauville, France - June 10, 2012

Ribeauvillé is in the Haut-Rhin department of the Alsace region in north-eastern France. The picturesque town is located around 10 miles north of Colmar and 47 miles south of Strasbourg. The first known mention of the town was in 768 CE as Rathaldovilare, roughly translated as "Villa of Ratbold" where, in old German "Ratbold" signified "the boldest man of the counsel".
Over time, the town passed from the bishops of Basle to the lord of Rappoltstein the king, or protector, of the wandering minstrels who purchased his protection by payment of a tax.
The Rappoltstein family died out in 1673 and the Pfeiferkonig office (king of the pipers)  passed to the palatine counts of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld. The minstrels had a pilgrimage chapel near Rappoltsweiler, dedicated to their patron saint, Maria von Dusenbach, and here they held an annual feast on 8 September. The Counts of Ribeaupierre were the last lords of the town before the Revolution.
Essentially a one street town, Ribeauvillé is still partly surrounded by defensive walls, contains many well maintained medieval houses and two excellent Gothic churches. On the hill to the west of the town stand the ruins of three famous castles, Saint-Ulrich, Girsberg and Haut-Ribeaupierre, which formerly belonged to the lords of Ribeaupierre.
Overall, a well managed and nicely presented tourist attraction in which to while away an interesting day or two. More pictures here.

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