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1634 → 1697

In 1634, during the Thirty Years War, the French took possession of the place. The refusal of Duke Charles V to accept the conditions of Louis XIV at the treaty of Nijmegen (1679) resulted in the occupation of Lorraine by France. Vauban, starting in 1681, was charged with completely modifying the fortification system of the town of Bitche.

Taking advantage of the height of the site but constrained by the narrowness of the rock, Vauban applied his theories of fortification while adapting them.

The staging of the fires was ensured by splitting the rock into a central body, a half-moon to the west (the petite tête) and a horned structure (the grosse tête) to the east. The flanking was provided by four bastions attached to the central body. However, this first citadel only lasted a short time. In 1697, under the Treaty of Ryswick, Lorraine was ceded back to its sovereign, Leopold I. The French, forced to leave Bitche, took care to destroy all the fortifications they had built there.