Wissembourg is a small picturesque town with 7500 inhabitants (including the adjoining
parishes of Weiler and Altenstadt). It is situated approximately 60 km north of
Strasbourg, on the Franco-German border, at the meeting point of the Northern Vosges and
the Alsacian plain.
The town has its origins in the 7th century with the founding of a
benedictine Abbey. This Abbeys fame spread quickly, largely due to the work of
the monk OTFRIED (869) who translated gospels into verse,
and into the language of the people.
In the 12th century, the village gained independence from the Abbey and
became a « toll-free » town of the Empire ; it was fortified for the first
time in the 13th century. In 1678, Wissembourg became french under Louis XIV. In the 18th
century, it was privileged to welcome Stanislas LESZCZYNSKI. His daughter Marie married
Louis XV, king of France in 1725. The wedding took place by proxy in Strasbourg cathedral.
Louis XV was 15, Marie 22. In memory of these
events, the town's college is called « Stanislas ».
A walk through the town...
We can discover many remnants of the past : splendid half-timbered houses, the home of the Polish King Stanislas
LESZCZINSKI (18th century), the Salt House with its very special
roof, the « Grange aux Dîmes », the old washing stations in the Brush quarter and the town-walls.
Wissembourg is also rich in magnificent old churches : the church of St
Jean where Martin Bucer preached in favour of the 1522 Reform, St
Peters & St Pauls Abbey (13th & 14th centuries) the second biggest
gothic sanctuary in Alsace after Strasbourg Cathedral, with its 14th century
and not forgetting the most beautiful roman church of St Ulrich in
Altenstadt (11th and 12th century).