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Départment du Haut-Rhin

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

It has a surface area of 3,525 km², a population of 708,000 inhabitants, and is divided into six administrative districts (arrondissements in French) for a total of 31 cantons and 377 municipalities.

It borders (clockwise from the North) the French department of the Bas-Rhin, the German state of Baden-Württemberg, Switzerland, the Territoire de Belfort, and the department of 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.


In ancient times, the Haut-Rhin was settled by two Celtic tribes: the Sequani and the Aedui. 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.

In the 5th century, the region was invaded by the Alamanni, a Germanic tribe from the other side of the Rhine. 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. First part of the County of Horburg, the Haut-Rhin then passed to the Duchy of Württemberg.

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 Colmar
outsranding Riquewihr
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