GThe underground passages of the citadel are brought to life with the help of cinema to illustrate the historical events that took place there during the 1870 war. You will relive the most important episode in the history of the citadel, the siege of 1870-1871, which lasted 230 days.
Chancellor Otto von Bismarck wanted to achieve the unification of Germany under the aegis of Prussia. To achieve this, he felt that a war against France was necessary, and following the Ems dispatch, France declared war on Prussia on 19 July 1870. The Minister of War considered that "we are ready and very ready". The reality was quite different, and the debacle of the French army led many soldiers to take refuge in the citadel. Commander Teyssier welcomed them into the fortress. On 8 August 1870, two days after the French defeat at Woerth-Frœschwiller, Bavarian troops set up their batteries on the heights surrounding the citadel. This was the beginning of the siege.
In the main guardhouse is the starting point of the film tour, with the broadcasting of fake newsreels immersing the visitor in the month of July 1870, and the meeting with the soldier Charles-Henri Mondel, who is both a contemporary war reporter and a soldier and who accompanies the visitor throughout the tour and the history of the siege of Bitche. Fiction blends with history.
This movie directed by Gérard Mordillat brings to life the determination of a garrison to defend the town against the Bavarian forces, and presents surprising reconstructions of the site and striking fictional scenes. The tour was designed as a TV film, with several episodes projected throughout the visit.
The filming of this fiction took place in the autumn of 2005, in the Pays de Bitche and in the Northern Vosges, over a period of three weeks, and required the mobilisation of nearly 700 extras, a hundred technicians and some forty actors. The castles of Reichshoffen and Saverne, as well as the military camp of Bitche were used as backdrops for this production.
Gérard Mordillat, a seasoned and iconoclastic director, has surrounded himself with a choice cast for this film: Patrick Mille, Jacques Pater, Virginie Ledoyen and François Cluzet. His previous films include Fucking Ferdinand in 1987, Corpus Christi in 1997 and Simon le Juste in 2001. In 2005, he received the RTL/LIRE prize for his book Les vivants et les morts.
Information and warnings:
- The film that punctuates the visit of the underground contains scenes of war that may offend the sensibilities of some visitors, especially young people. The tour is not recommended for children under the age of 7;
- The visit takes place in a confined, steep, damp and cool environment; bring warm clothing;
- The underground passages are not accessible to dogs;
- Accessibility for PRM: link to the dedicated page;
- Formulas and pricing: link to the dedicated page.