And if Vauban had been a gardener

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Clou de jalonnement circuit Vauban


From garden to garden, these marker studs show us the way to go, with the Place Abbatucci as a start and finish point.

King’s tree nursery

Vauban jardinier : illustration Pépinière du Roi

The Soldier Tree

No regrets when I say that planting flowers for beauty’s sake never crossed my mind when I designed the stronghold during the 17th century! My only obsession at that time was to create something functional to provide for the needs of men, and to secure the defence and counterattacks when enemy canons started firing away. But nature was already my ally at the time as the trees surrounding the fortifications formed a first sort of shield against the projectiles, simultaneously producing wood to build, to heat or to be used for basketwork.

No regrets either as once the walls fell down the trees entered the city, and even more today thanks to the idea of the landscaper Michel Desvignes, who decided to plant a thousand trees around a new public outdoor area from the Rhine banks to the Place Abbatucci. An area “at peace” where trees replace soldiers, a magnified place where the garrison has become the King’s tree nursery !


Around the bridgehead

Around 1680, rumours of a coalition project with the European powers worried the general staff in Versailles. The King ordered a reinforcement of the fortification ring around the kingdom. Deeming the Huningue outer wall to not be safe enough, Vauban undertook the construction of a bridge and a bridgehead to make the fortress more defensive. The workers started in 1684 on the left bank of Cordonniers Island, then in 1686 on the right bank.

At the end of 1697, the Ryswick Treaty signed between Louis XIV and the Holy Roman Empire established peace for over more than a century in the region but stipulated the demolition of the works on the right bank of Cordonniers Island and of the bridge.

History of the Huningue bridges

After the Vauban-built bridge was demolished, a new one was built in 1702 allowing the Duke of Villars, future Marshal of France, to cross the Rhine to win a battle in Friedlingen against the imperial troops. This bridge collapsed two years later. The pontoon bridges built in 1721, 1742, 1746 and 1796 didn’t hold up much longer.

From one pontoon bridge to another

It was only in 1843, following an agreement between the grand duchy and France, that the Huningue flying toll-bridge began functioning. It was composed of two 60-metre spans starting from each bank with a raft in-between which was used as a ferryboat. The whole was dismantled in 1870 with the outbreak of the Franco-German war.

Pont à bateaux

After the annexation of Alsace by Germany, the Bade region was connected to Reichsland Elsass-Lothringen by ten pontoon bridges of which the one furthest south was in Huningue. It continued to work during the First World War and up until the beginning of the Second World War. It was demolished in 1939 and was rebuilt by the Germans as of 1940. Fragilised by the Royal Air Force bombs, it was carried away by a flood in 1944.

The ferryboat

After the Second World War a ferryboat was commissioned between Huningue and Weil am Rhein which appeared unable to absorb the growing traffic. The Palmrain bridge replaced it further downstream in 1979.

The Passerelle des Trois Pays

Since November 12, 2006, instead of these bridges, there the Three Countries’ Bridge crosses the Rhine with a unique span of 238 metres. Designed by Feichtinger Architectes, this asymmetrically-curved, steelwork structure has been awarded some prestigious prizes such as the German Bridge Construction Prize (Deutscher Brückenbaupreis) and the most acclaimed international distinction, the Arthur G. Hayden medal.

Pose de la passerelle des Trois Pays (2006)

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