Ferrette is a village located in Southern Alsace, in the Sundgau. This is right in the Alsatian Jura, just at the border with Switz Jura. Ferrette has recently been in the spotlight by taking part in the 2015 TV programme “Le village préféré des Français” (The favorite village of the French), where it finished in 6th place.
A short history of Ferrette
Ferrette castle is mentioned for the first time in 1105. It was then belonging to the Counts of Montbéliard. Erected by itself, the closest village was what is now Vieux-Ferrette. 20 years later, the earldom of Ferrette was founded. It would become one of the most powerful seigneuries in Haute-Alsace during the Middle Ages. From owners to owners, from counts to governors, the castle is renovated and extended in the 16th century. At the same time, the current village of Ferrette is created and walls are built. In the 17th century, during the Thirty Year’s War, first attacked by Swedish troops, who were quickly driven out, French troops then took the castle, burnt and destroyed it. The seigneury of Ferrette is offered to Mazarin by Louis XIV and it slowly starts to fall into ruins. In 1777, it is given by marriage to Honoré IV Prince of Monaco. The Prince of Monaco still holds today the title of Count of Ferrette, but the castle has been sold to a private individual in 2011. So there you have it, an unusual fact: Albert II of Monaco is also Count of Ferrette! Surprising, isn’t it?
Visiting Ferrette and its castle
The village is nestled at the foot of the castle of Ferrette, located on the foothills of the Jura mountains. The castle is in ruins, but it’s worth a visit. You will have to park in town (follow the signs for the castle and park in front of “Centre des finances publiques”) and walk to the castle (about 5 minutes uphill). The view is really spectacular from up there, especially from the keep! It’s also very pleasant to wander through the ruins.
We can actually distinguish two castles: the Upper Castle with its dungeon dwelling – of which only remain the surrounding walls -, the seigneurial residence and the well; and the Lower Castle, built in the 15th-century military tradition – of which we can still notice part of the curtain walls with three cylindrical towers from the castle chapel.
After the castle, the visit continues with Rue du château and its houses with interesting facades. The Tourist Office publishes a very well-made free guide that you can easily follow. Apart from this street, there is not much to see in the village. However, there are some beautiful walks to take around the area, if you would like to get to know more about this region! Don’t forget to check out the Catholic church Saint-Bernard-de-Menthon, the town hall and the surrounding caves, inhabited by countless legends (as for example The Cave of the Dwarfs).
- The view from the castle of Ferrette
- The houses in Rue du château
- The peacefulness: it’s not very touristy
I liked a little less
- Only one street of the village is worth the visit (with the castle of course!)
My pictures of the village and castle of Ferrette
Access to the castle is free. You can also download for free MP3 with explanations about Ferrette.
Access to the castle ruins is free and open.
Ferrette is located:
- 55 km from Mulhouse (about 50 minutes)
- 83 km from Colmar (about 1h10 minutes)
- 157 km from Strasbourg (about 1h50 minutes)
By public transport
You can have look on Vialsace to find an itinerary.