One dark and stormy day Eva and I spent a few hours in the German town of Breisach, situated directly on the edge of the Rhine River at the border with France. A fortress high on a hill dominates the town that surrounds it. Over the centuries it has gone back and forth in ownership by French and German royalty. Finally, in the mid 1600s some treaty deeded it to German interests. The miffed French decided to build their own fortification across the river, but lacked a good hill to site it on. The famous urban architect Vauban laid out a great plan, quite striking in aerial views. We were eager to explore this planned community.

Neuf-Brisach from the air. From Wikipedia

Neuf-Brisach from the air. From Wikipedia

Verban's plan. Thanks Wikipedia

Vauban’s plan. Thanks, Wikipedia

What may have been a good thing at the time hasn’t led to a vibrant community today. Bounded by fortifications on all sides, and constrained in it’s ability to grow beyond the walls seems to have led to an economic stagnation. We were rather sadly unimpressed by what we saw. I could add that what the following photographs show is not untypical of our experience in most parts of France where we have traveled the past couple of years. The economy kinda sucks.

We enter through ramparts.

We enter through ramparts.

Ready for a fece lift

Ready for a face lift

Time for paint, and more

Time for paint, and more

This  man captures my feeling about this town.

This man captures my feeling about this town.

The barren market square, hot and desolate.

The barren market square, hot and desolate.

A green spot for dogs to pee in.

A green spot for dogs to pee in.

Doors

Doors

Windows

Windows

We didn’t stay too long. The 95 degree heat did us in. Coffee gave us a lift.

Cafe life

Cafe life

Au revoir

Au revoir. Note: the arrow points in the wrong direction.

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