Office de Tourisme Alsace Rhin Brisach

Neuf-Brisach, ideal city of Vauban

The masterpiece of Vauban

Discover Neuf-Brisach, a fortified town. Enjoy your time by mixing together history and a stroll all around the fortifications. You can visit this incredible architectural heritage, his fortified towers, his gates and his military courtyard… still intact.

The history of the town

In 1661, Louis XIV realized the strategic importance that had Breisach am Rhein (Germany). 

In 1664, Breisach belongs to the French territory.

Vauban repairs, refurbishes and upgrades the city which stayed on the French territory until the treaty of Ryswick in 1697, where the King Louis XIV had to give back Breisach to Austria against his will.

Since that major loss, the King commanded Vauban in 1698 to find a place to build something big enough to be a threat for Breisach.

After a while of hesitation, Vauban decided building between Volgelsheim and Wolfgantzen, far enough to be out of the canon firing line coming from Breisach.

During the wars

1870 : war declaration to Prussia.

The city has been equipped and invested in. Those combats were brutal, over 6000 bombshells landed on this city. In only five years, up to 75% of the city has been reconstructed and it went through some improvement and modifications.

Far away from the battlefront of the First World War, Neuf-Brisach was luckily out of danger and has not suffered from any destruction. In 1918, the city became French again and got his initial strategic position back.

Around 1939, Neuf-Brisach was situated in the operation zone in the Maginot Line. The whole town had to be evacuated. The city was occupied by the Germans since 1940. They made a prison camp out of Neuf-Brisach, where over 40 000 French soldiers were imprisoned.

In 1945, wrong information was given to the US army, they though that Germans would still occupy the city, that’s why they bombarded it, even though the Germans were already gone. Over 85% of Neuf-Brisach was destructed, but fortunately the fortifications were not hit and are still intact.

Main facts

This unique site in Europe has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.

NEUF-BRISACH can be discovered during a guided tour with a guide (on request), or with the city map.

Also worth a visit is the town of Breisach am Rhein, or “Old Brisach”, on the other side of the Rhine!