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.

You can call me Vauban !

My name is Sébastian Le Prestre de Vauban - you can call me Vauban - and I’m here to teach you about the history of Huningue.

More precisely the history of the stronghold which I designed in 1679, commissioned by Louis XIV who wanted an iron ring around our borders.

And of course the city history after 1815, following the orders of Basel to demolish our ramparts which had become too threatening.

And then, and then… can you keep a secret? You should know that being an army engineer wasn’t my only passion. Can you believe that as a child I wanted to become a gardener?!

You don’t believe me? Follow me for a walk into the heart of Huningue and I will show you my genius regarding botany, blossoming and even ecology.

Vauban jardinier : illustration départ

But to start, let’s take the stairs or the lift to better appreciate the former parade ground.


In the footsteps of Vauban

Inaugurated on August 26, 1681 the day after only three years of building, the Huningue stronghold was reinforced from 1684 to 1687 with a bridgehead being built on the right bank of the Rhine and hornwork on Cordonniers Island.

Contours de l'ancienne place forte

A consequence of the Ryswick peace treaty, the latter were destroyed in 1698. The stronghold resisted to three sieges before it was also demolished after the Napoleonic defeats in 1815, in accordance with a clause from the Paris Treaty ordered by Basel. Therefore, “the Huningue fortifications were razed to the ground with no hope of being rebuilt or replaced by any other structures being less than three leagues from Basel.”

Nearly nothing was left from the ramparts built by Vauban as of 1679. The Place Abbatucci, which was once a parade ground, the garrison church or even the Adjutant-General’s office, which is home today to the local history museum are all legacies from a time when the heroes were called Abbatucci, Chancel or Barbanègre.

For shrewd eyes, there are numerous characteristics which show this was the former Huningue stronghold and reveal its long military past, including the trail “And if Vauban had been a gardener”, which retraces all its major steps.


Armoiries de HuningueRoyal coat of arms

The three fleurs-de-lis and the three golden crowns of the Huningue coat of arms are a reminder that this city was built on the orders of Louis XIV who came here twice, as a royal city and a genuine military barrier for the recently-French Alsace.

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