Château de Frönsbourg

Lembach, France

Château de Frœnsbourg is a ruined French castle near the German border. The castle was indirectly mentioned in 1235. It is attested in 1269, in an account of the brothers 'of Frundsperg'. Until the 1340s, the castle would have belonged exclusively to the Frönsbourgs, who had the same armorial bearings as the Fleckensteins (of which family they were probably a branch).

A little before the middle of the 14th century, the castle was divided between the lords of Froensbourg (who kept half of it), Loewenstein and Sickingen. It was besieged and ruined, in 1349, because of the banditry of Reinhard von Sickingen, but was certainly restored after 1358, the date when the castle was offered as a stronghold to the Palatine Count. The dwelling tower on the southern rock, known as the small castle, was owned towards the end of the 15th century by Fleckenstein, who had it restored. Its main door is dated 1481.

The big castle occupied the whole of the northern rock. At the higher level, on the side of a likely attack, is a keep with living quarters towards the south. On the middle and lower floors were located the common buildings and dependences made of wood - traces of anchorings remain in the rocks - and troglodytic rooms. The lower courtyard stood in the west and there was a ditch to the north. There are several staircases cut into the rock. The castle was destroyed by the French in 1677 but was probably already abandoned at that time.

The castle stands on an isolated sandstone spur oriented north-south, separated from the mountain by a large ditch. The spur, split in two, comprises a longer and higher northern rock, connected at mid-level by a modern footbridge to the southern rock. At the base of the northern rock, on the north-western side, a low room is cut into the rock and joined by a narrow bay (of unspecified date) to a tiny cylindrical room leading to the middle level. This could correspond to an old well-cistern. Above the door is evidence of the anchoring for a drawbridge. Further south, a western projection with access door is located, a winding staircase cut in the sandstone, traces of buildings with a stable, a well in a corner and vestiges of staircases in the rock. At the middle level, to the east (reached via a modern staircase and a largely original door) are two rooms cut in the rock; to the north is the upper part of the old well-cistern. Towards the south, a square cistern close to the modern footbridge gives access to the small southern rock. This is entirely occupied by the remains of the dwelling tower whose Gothic arch doorway remains, dated 1481.

The remains of the northern keep and the lodgings towards the south, located on the higher terrace of the northern rock, are inaccessible.



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Lembach, France
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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Late Capetians (France)

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Garmy Busweiler (2 years ago)
Must visit when you are in the area. Only a €5 entry fee. Great to see how they made the castle on and in the rock at the team.
John Fleckenstein II (2 years ago)
Best castle in the region...most likely because I'm a Fleckenstein!
Danielle Cummings (2 years ago)
What a place. Came here on a Wednesday afternoon with one other adult and my three kids ages 5,3, and 1.5 years. I wore the baby and the other two walked (with some shoulder riding from parking lot for the 3yo). We entered the parking lot at the first entrance, not realizing (or stopping to read the sign) that you can drive all the way to the end of it and be a few minutes walk closer to the trail entrance. Once at the end of the parking lot, or after the sharp turn in the road after the beginning of the lot, you’ll see a trail in the woods that runs parallel to the road (which is at this point restricted to buses or staff only). The trail took us about 10 minutes and has some cool stuff about mining to see along the way. It might have been stroller accessible for an offroading stroller, but we didn’t bring one as there is no way to use it in the castle. Once you get to the information center, you’re in a small little courtyard of sorts, with the ticket and gift shop on the left, a restaurant at the far end, a kids feature on the right (an additional fee that we didn’t purchase), and bathrooms at the entrance on the right. We purchased tickets for us adults as the kids were free (€10 total I believe) and set off to the castle, which took another 5-10 minutes of walking. Once you’re at the castle, there are tons of staircases, both paved and uneven stony ones, in and out of the castle, to explore. It feels like you could get lost in such a good way, with secret staircases and little rooms hidden off the side of halls and stairs. There are fun stories for the kids to follow about someone named Hugo discovering the ruins, and they do a great job with sighs explaining what areas were used for and images showing how it might have been used. The best part of the castle, though, is the top, where it feels like you’re in a castle in the sky. Mind blowing to thing of how they made this castle so long ago, so high on this rock formation. The views are spectacular, even if all you see is forest and other rock formations. There are apparently a few other castles in the area, presumably on a hiking route, but we didn’t have enough time or energy to continue explaining. After the castle, we had ice cream at the cafe and bought toys for the kids at the store (I was pleasantly surprised at the prices). Most of the food was pre prepared quiches and wurst and whatnot which we didn’t want. Overall, this was an amazing afternoon trip that took about 2-3 hours total, for us with about 20 minutes of walking in shade on a forest path with tons of stair climbing once in the castle, for a very reasonable price for adults.
Nicolas Ehrismann (2 years ago)
An incredible medieval ruine castle. Definitely a must see if you visit the area
A. Barroca (2 years ago)
Great 360 viewsall! The castle fortress is in ruins (well kept) but there's some panels explaining life in a castle like this and some information on the history of the Fleckenstein family,who ruled over it some centuries ago. Beware the darkest parts inside and the narrow staircases. Good value for money. There's also a kids area - recommended.
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