Rodemack: A Medieval Town in Lorraine, France

Rodemack: A Medieval Town in Lorraine, France

with 18 Comments

 

Rodemack? Never heard of it… When I was a kid, many Luxembourgers considered the northern part of the Lorraine in north-eastern France as a poor region. Heavily industrialized, and home to the Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant, this area was populated by what Luxembourgers used to call “Heckefransousen”. Literally “the French from behind the hedges”. A derogative term to describe the French who cross the border every day to take profit of Luxembourg’s wealth.

 

Little did I know about this French region back then. And the people I knew only mentioned the cities of Metz and Thionville. But the Lorraine actually has a lot to offer. Several châteaux and fortified manors among other gems. One of these hidden or lesser known places is Rodemack.

 

 

Leaving Mondorf-les-Bains in Luxembourg behind us, we cross the border and spot the street sign “Rodemack – cité médiévale”. 6 kilometers further, we stop in front of an imposing arch flanked by two round towers. A wooden panel informs us that the Porte de Sierck is a 1989 reconstruction of a 14th century gateway to the medieval village of Rodemack. Destroyed in 1944 by American troops for the passage of their tanks, the original gateway was built by the residents themselves.

 

As we step inside the village, we find that the first houses look pretty modern. Typical 19th century farmhouses, and even a couple of early to mid 20th century façades. But the further we penetrate into the heart of the village, the older the houses. On both sides of narrow cobblestone streets loom old stone houses with vivid Persian blue wooden shutters. Wild roses are creeping up facades, secret gardens blossom in hidden back alleys.

 

 

We go down a narrow path which runs parallel to the fortification. It takes us to the outward medieval walls. There we follow the 700m long rampart, along the stream of Faulbach, until we reach a medieval garden.

 

It’s a typical hortus conclusus, geometrically divided into cultivated areas. Some plots are planted with vegetables, while others contain medicinal herbs, such as wormwood, thyme, verbena and lemon balm.

 

The medieval garden of Rodemack reminds us of Peter Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma Mysteries. It’s a bestselling series of historical novels set in 7th century Ireland, which usually includes an episode with an apothecary who carefully reveals his knowledge of medicinal herbs to the initiated.

 

 

A medieval garden is often the perfect place to exchange secrets or kisses. Even Rapunzel’s mother couldn’t resist the urge to eat a rampion from Gothel’s garden. When the witch caught her husband sneaking into her forbidden garden to steal the plant, she decided to punish the couple by kidnapping their daughter Rapunzel and imprisoning her in a tower.

 

As our minds wander from legends to fables and fairy tales, we can’t help to conclude that medieval gardens are irresistible, but definitively dangerous places.

 

We crisscross several footbridges, and finally sit down on a carpet of emerald, listening to the nearby gushing water. Rodemack has such an idyllic touch to it, that we almost forget we are only 10km away from Cattenom…

 

 

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Rodemack : A Medieval Town in Lorraine, France © Travelwithmk.com

Follow Mei:

Traveler - Storyteller

30-something Archaeologist, born and raised in Luxembourg. She loves eating stinky cheese and raw food, listening to Kerstin's stories while driving on long road trips, and capturing their journeys with her iPhone, and then delete half of the photos. She speaks 7 languages, and wishes she had time to pick up Ancient Greek. She's afraid of heights, but adores panoramic views. Her favorite places are those she chose to live in: Paris, Greece, San Francisco.

18 Responses

  1. Agness of eTramping
    | Reply

    This is the first time I’ve hearing about this town, Mei and Kerstin! I’m very inspired to visit it!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Hi Agness. Rodemack is a hidden gem in the Lorraine region. You’ll certainly love it! 😉

  2. What a stunning, charming town! The medieval garden of Rodemack really does conjure images of fairytales and fables – I will include this on our next trip to France!

  3. Elisa Subirats
    | Reply

    Never heard about this place. It looks very pretty though. I like Medieval gardens a lot, I know a couple more in France and now I would like to see this one. By the way: Luxembourgers consider ONLY the northern part of the Lorraine as a poor region? Compared to Luxembourg we are all poor in France, lol

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Haha! No, I’m sure many regions in France are richer than Luxembourg. At least, culturally and historically! 🙂

  4. Sab
    | Reply

    This place looks very historic and romantic and the same time! Will add this to my bucket list, thanks for sharing!

  5. titi81
    | Reply

    I have never visited this part of France nor did I know about the reputation it had with the people from Luxemburg. The village of Rodermack looks so cute, I love medieval villages and it is certainly a place I would love to visit.

  6. Rodemack looks so charming! We moved to France – though the South West corner of it – a year ago and are still discovering all sorts of little villages and places like this. There is just so much more than Paris and I’m always excited when someone highlights a great find like this.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Haha.. Paris will always be our favorite city in France. But we also like to explore the “other” France. 🙂 Oh and there are also many awesome little villages in the South-West of France. We lived in Bordeaux for 2 years, and loved to drive around.. especially to Saint Emilion, Pomerol, Sauternes, as well as to Arcachon, Biscarosse, and all the way down to Biarritz and St-Jean-de-Luz!

  7. Fernanda
    | Reply

    I have never heard of Rodemack.. it seems like a very interesting place.
    I actually know very little about France in general. I have been planning a road trip throughout the country for a while now and I will for sure add this region to my itinerary!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      A road trip through France, that’s wonderful! How much time do you have? Feel free to contact us if need tips and infos about France. 🙂

  8. Trisha Velarmino
    | Reply

    I love Medieval locations! They tell so much stories! Not to mention how photogenic they are! HAHAHA.

  9. Laura Lynch
    | Reply

    I just recently discovered Luxembourg for the first time and I realized then how much there was to see out in the countryside nearby. I’m already planning a second trip, so Rodemack makes the list!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Oh you’ve been to Luxembourg! Did you like it here? Let us know next time you come by, so we can send you a couple of good addresses in and around this little country! 😉

  10. Susan R
    | Reply

    I’ve been to Metz in Lorraine but never to Rodemack, it looks charming! The blue shutters are so picturesque and I love the medieval garden.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yes! The whole town is pretty quaint. Behind every little corner there’s a nice suprise! 🙂

  11. amused0bserver
    | Reply

    I like the feeling I get from the pictures of this place! Seems like a pretty laid back destination. If I’m ever in the area, I’ll visit it for sure!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Actually, Rodemack has an annual Medieval festival, and it’s this coming weekend (June 24 and 25). If you’re not far away, you should definitely stop by to visit the lovely town (and come to Luxembourg too! haha…)

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