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Départment du Bas-Rhin

The Bas-Rhin ("Lower Rhine") is a French department of the Alsace region. It is famous for its white wines.

It has a surface area of 4,755 km², a population of 1,026,000 inhabitants, and is divided into seven administrative districts (arrondissements in French) for a total of 44 cantons and 526 municipalities.

It borders (clockwise from the North) the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg, and the departments of the Haut-Rhin and the Vosges.

Due to its German heritage, most place names are German and not French. The Alsatian language, a regional variety of German, is still widely spoken in addition to French. About one third of adults and one fourth of children in the region are fluent in Alsatian. Many street names are also bilingual.


The Haut-Rhin was settled by Celtic tribes (the Sequani and the Aedui) at least since the 7th century B.C.E. After Julius Caesar's conquest of the Gaul, it became part of the Roman Province of Gallia Belgica, then to its subdivision of Germania Superior. The Triboci, a Celto-Germanic tribe descending from the Suevirs, a Germanic tribe from the other side of the Rhine.

In the 5th century, the region was invaded by the Suevirs (ot the Alamanni, as they were later called). Defeated by Clovis, King of the Franks, at the Battle o Tolbiac in 496, the Alamanni were incorporated to the Frankish Kingdom. After the Treaty of Verdun (843) splitting the Frankish Empire between Charlemagne's three grandsons, the region became part of Lotharingia, but was quickly absorbed by East Francia, which became the Holy Roman Empire. The Bishopric of Strasbourg controlled most of the area of the present-day Haut-Rhin department.

At the end of the 30 Years' War (1618-1648), France took possession of Alsace. It would become German again in 1871, after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, then ceded back to France in 1919, after WWI.


must-see Strasbourg
outsranding Castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg
very good Haguenau
outsranding Obernai
very good Wissembourg

Leiden, Netherlands
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