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Colmar. Nice city.


Colmar. Nice city.

Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.


Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.


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Wine booksWine books
Wine route in Alsace.Wine route in Alsace.
Wine Tittle-TattleWine Tittle-Tattle

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Discover France through Alsace. Discover France through Alsace.
Events in Alsace. Events in Alsace.
Follow the Froggies: Alsace gastronomy. Follow the Froggies: Alsace gastronomy.
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Wine classifications AOC - Grand Crus... Wine classifications AOC - Grand Crus...

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Mont Saint Odile

 Mont Saint Odile
Events in Alsace.In the heart of the seventh century, Adalric, duke and sovereign of Alsace and feudatory warrior, known for its inner violence and lack of self control, murdered St Germain, abbot of Grandval in Montbeliard. In order to expiate his guilt, he built a monastery.

His wife, Bereswinda, a niece of St Leger and a fervent Christian, gave him four sons and one blind daughter Odile, born in the ducal palace of Obernai. As Odile’s father couldn’t accept the blindness of his daughter, he wanted to kill her, but his wife managed to entrust the baby to one of her servants. She took care of her for a year in Scherwiller, near Selestat. Fearing she had been discovered, Bereswinda gave her baby to her friend the abbess, at the abbey of Baumes les Dames, who took over responsibility for Odile’s upbringing.

At the age of twelve years , when she baptized St Hidulphe greased her eyes which opened to the light of the world as her soul opened to the divine light. As the Bishop of Treves, on whom were dependant numerous Alsatian abbeys and seigniories, Hidulphe met often with Duke Adalric, and sought in vain to convince him to consent to his daughter’s return, telling him of her miraculous recovery.
Odile’s brother Hugo, took it upon himself to bring her home. When Odile reached Obernai, accompanied by a fervent following, Adalric overcome by another attack of uncontrollable violence, struck his son over the head and killed him.

Seized by the horror of his crime, he converted and accepted Odile’s religious vocation. Some legendary accounts lead us to suppose that the terrible duke’s conversion was not immediate: Actually it seems he tried to have Odile married off, as she was very beautiful, above all in the hopes of forming an advantageous alliance, but the girl refused. Finally, however he founded the abbey, donating the Castle of Hohenbourg, built on the foundations of “l’Altitona” the 750 meters high mountain, which hosted a roman fortress and had also harboured a Celtic settlement in its time.

Odile went to live there, contributing to the ten year long construction of the convent. She was later joined by other young women, with whom she shared a life of prayer, study and the reproduction of sacred texts, manual labour, and assistance to the less fortunate.

St Odile nourished herself of barley bread and vegetables, using a bearskin spread over the paved floor to sleep, a stone as a pillow, a reference to the bear killed by David and to the cornerstone of the church.

Odile had a second convent erected at the mountain’s base. Jean Ruyr, author of “Saintes antiquités de la Vosge” in 1636, comparing many antique texts on St Odile, affirmed that the choice to build the second monastery stemmed from the desire to spare the invalids, who flooded to the convent, the steep climb up the mountain.
br> When Odile realized her death was drawing near, she gathered her sisters in the chapel of Saint John the Baptist, to whom she was particularly devoted in memory of the illumination of her baptism. She exhorted faith and charity to her sisters.
She died on the day of St Lucy, December 13 in year 722. Her body buried in the chapel. Her tomb and Mont Saint Odile immediately aroused great interest and great fervour that has never since stopped. Odile, canonized in the eleventh century by Leon IX, became the uncontested patron of Alsace.

Among the abbesses who succeeded her, we recall Herrade of Landsberg, abbess from 1167 to 1195, and possibly the daughter of Lord of Landsberg whose castle can still be discerned among the ruins in the area to the south east of the mountain.
Herrade wrote the book “Hortus Deliciarum” , “the Garden of Delicacies”, an account of the history of the world, as it was known in those times, with a synthesis of the knowledge that had been acquired by the twelfth century and of daily life. The text is illustrated with 136 figures, that specialists claim were influenced by the Romanesque stain-glass found in Notre Dame of Strasbourg.
But nothing prevents us from imaging that they were created in the silence of the convent’s study by one or more nuns under the direction of the abbess. The original copy of the work was burned in 1870 when the library of Strasbourg was bombed. They remain only a few copies.

The pilgrimages of the faithful never ceased over the course of the centuries. One pilgrim, Emperor Charles IV, took one of the saint’s forearms to place in the cathedral of Prague. The nuns left the convent in1546, after it was destroyed in a fire which spared only a part of St Odile’s chapel.
The Premonstratensians oversaw the pilgrimages until the revolution. In 1831, the Bishop of Strasbourg reclaimed the mountain. The portico and the church date to the seventeenth century.
It is said that an altar in the Chapel of the Cross (11 century) contained the remains of Odile’s parents. The chapel of St Odile (12- 14 century) was erected to take the place of the chapel in which the saint had died.
Her relics are still venerated in the eighth century sarcophagus. The Chapel of Tears, built over the monastery’s ancient cemetery, takes its name from the tears Odile spilled begging for salvation of her terrible father.
From the terrace one can embrace Alsace, as Odile and her sisters once did….


The Pagan Wall

Its relatively recent name expresses the antiquity of the vestiges of this gigantic and mysterious fortification that extends through dense forest and along the edge of Mont Saint Odile for more than ten kilometres. The enormous stone blocks, each weighing several tons, are mortised with dovetailed oak-tenons, to form a wall which measures almost two meters thick and two and a half meter high in the best conserved points. One sometimes finds some of these stone blocks in the walls of nearby castles.
The ancient defensive wall was probably built by the Celts in the sixth century B.C. at the beginning of the Iron Age.
Posted on Sunday, April 02 @ 14:38:50 MDT by pierre
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Events in Alsace.

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Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.
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Colmar. Nice city.
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