The Château du Haut-Krœnigsbourg would have slipped under our radar if not for two friendly American college students we met at dinner the other night. Sitting shoulder to shoulder, as is the custom at French sidewalk cafes, we struck up a conversation with the young men and were soon exchanging stories and travel tips. They assured us a visit to the château was a relatively inexpensive day of entertainment with never ending views of the Rhine Valley.
Just a short train and bus ride from Strasbourg, our home base, the château is located on a mountaintop 2500 feet above the Rhine plain.
Construction began in 1147 and the design was originally intended to protect the junction of two important trading routes, the wheat and wine route (from north to south) and the salt and silver route (from west to east).
After suffering a turbulent history, the château was eventually destroyed in the 17th century, sitting in ruins until the early 1900s when renovations began.
We couldn't have asked for a more scenic lunch spot!