A short train ride away from Strasbourg is a city called Selestat. Within 25 minutes you can transport into Medieval Times and tour a giant French castle looming on a hill. Let’s talk about the beautiful Haut-Koenigsbourg.
The drive up to the castle is a beautiful mountain road that winds through the trees. But be warned, it is freezing up there! There was actual snow still on the ground and our toes and fingers were numb even with gloves on!
The castle was constructed in the 12th Century, rebuilt in 1432, and refurbished in the early 1900s. Now, you can tour a small portion of the castle inside and out. The inside is decorated with period pieces of furniture and knights’ battle gear. The outside is a magnificent fortress of tiny windows and real drawbridges.
On the way back down from Haut Koenigsbourg, you can stop by the Monkey Mountain (Montagne des Singes.) Hundreds of Barbary Monkeys roam free in the forest and come up to you to eat popcorn out of your hands!
They give you a handful of popcorn when you enter and you stroll the park’s trails watching the monkeys run and play and wrestle. They are fed a diet of fruits and vegetables and the popcorn is a treat that doesn’t disturb their diet. They are trained not to jump on humans, but will come up and eat from an extended palm.
I am not huge on being close to animals, but this was amazing! It was so fun to see the monkeys play and interact with their family, but so cool to have them interact with us too! They walked along the paths with us, made eye contact with us, and happily reached their little hands out for food.
This was a really fun and unique experience. There are two more free-range monkey parks in Europe based on this same set up. If you ever have a chance to go, GO! It’s so fun.
Here are more monkey photos!