Thursday, August 13, 2015

History Lesson Near Strasbourg

click on images to enlarge
The Maginot Line,
named after the French Minister of War André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, obstacles, and weapons installations that France constructed just before the border with Switzerland and the borders with Germany and Luxembourg during the 1930s.

The French established the fortification to provide time for their army to mobilize in the event of attack, allowing French forces to move into Belgium for a decisive confrontation with Germany.

While the fortification system did prevent a direct attack, it was strategically ineffective, as the Germans invaded through Belgium, going around the Maginot Line.

Optional Excursion from Strasbourg

We opted to go off the beaten path on the road less traveled to the Maginot Line.  The other choice for afternoon touring was a visit to the wine country of Alsace, France.  Since we'd have our fill of wine during dinners throughout the cruise, and since we'd see many vineyards along the Moselle River, having a live history lesson appealed to us.  The tour was very informative, with a local guide providing the commentary.

What to Expect

Once you enter the tunnels, the temperature drops dramatically, which for us was quite welcome due to the unusual heat wave in Europe this year.  You'll be inside the fortification for a couple hours,  so if you are prone to chill easily, you'll want to take a jacket, sweater, or other warm covering.  It is also dark and damp.

There was a lot of walking on this tour, as well as climbing some steps.   In fact, there were more than one hundred steps up to the turret (left image) and more than two hundred down (right image).  The stairs on the way down were very shallow. 

I had a walking stick from the ship and was able to traverse the stairs, even with my bad knee.   I would not recommend the tour if you have extreme difficulty walking or with stairs.

There is a small museum, which you can explore at the end of the tour.  The ticket window has a few souvenirs that can be purchased.  Don't forget some money for the tour guide, since he really makes the tour interesting.

Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page:

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts about this trip.

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

No comments: