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Part one: From Sarreguemines to Petite Pierre

If you come from Germany you will probably come over Saarbrücken. Belgium and northern France visitors will come over the E25/A4 and take the exit Sarreguemines. Anyway, you must find the new large D620 direction Bitche.

On the next 27 km look out for frequent speed traps. The road is large and straight and you might quickly find yourself driving over the 90 or 110 allowed.

The Citadelle of Bitche

Drive into Bitche. You will notice the large Citadelle towering over the small city. The fortress can be visited all year round and is an impressive work of military art by the famous Vauban. Click here to see what the fortress looks like.

In Bitche take the D35 direction Lembach and Wissembourg. Once out of the city you will not fail to notice that Bitche is still an army stronghold. Large barracks can be seen to the left and right and it's not too uncommon a heavy tank crosses the road in front of you. It's not the wisest idea to insist on your right of way.

10 Km after leaving Bitche you turn off to the left into the forest of Sturzelbronn. The very small tarmac road takes you through dense forests heavy populated by local wildlife. Watch out for deer crossing. After some 20 minutes you come to a parking lot on your right where the walk to the castle Falkenstein starts.

Castle Falkenstein

Driving further you come to Philippsbourg where you turn right on the large N62 for 3 km. then turn right onto a small forest road marked "Etang de Hanau", a very nice location and a prime fishing spot. It's only open for fly fishing from mid-October to late March.

Soon you'll come again to the N62. Turn right for about 3,5 km. Then turn left into another small tarmac road. This one will guide you through some very remote forests. Take care as the road is not much larger than a car. Near an old fabric shed you arrive on the D36. Turn left for a little more than a kilometre, than turn right on the D36A, another small stretch of tarmac.

After less than 8 km you come to the D12. Turn left and soon again right, direction Wingen. There take the D135 to Zittersheim and La Petite Pierre.

At Petite Pierre look out for the castle. You can't drive there but near the closed section is a parking lot. Walk down to the castle and soon you will see a small restaurant to your left. I don't remember it's name but it makes the corner of another road and it's the only one around. This is the place to eat. We had some great food at moderate prices and were so filled up we almost couldn't walk out of the restaurant.

After lunch I suggest you walk to the castle. Just before it is a signpost and a steep stair downhill. It will take you 5 minutes down (a lot more to get up again). At the foot of the castle rock you can visit the old water reservoirs inside the rock. This is a very interesting place and tingles the adventurous bone in me. You need waterproof shoes although it's not deep and, maybe, an torch. There's a lighting system coupled to a timer and it may leave you in the dark if you extend your visit for too long a time.

Read here for the second part.