Château de la Grange - Hall EntréeChâteau de la Grange - Hall Entrée
©Château de la Grange - Hall Entrée |Julie Weiler - PTT

Put on your helm

What if we travelled back in time a little? Thionville, or Théodonis Villa only appears in texts dating from 753. Only the presence of a hypothetical landholding attests to this name. Théodonis Villa should be understand as a translation of the Villa of Théodon.



Therefore, although the town only came into being relatively late on (Yutz on the other side of the Moselle has existed since Prehistoric times) it developed considerably in the reign of Charlemagne. The Emperor of the Franks set up one of his Palatiums in the city.

Although he tragically lost his favourite wife Hildegarde here, who died in labour, he did write some major texts here. One of the most important is his political testament in which he settled the division of the Empire between his sons and guaranteed its inalienability. However, his idea was not respected since only the first son succeeded his father after winning many disagreements, but that is another story.



When talking about Thionville’s medieval past, we tend to think more about its Luxembourg history, which started in the 10th century. Here, some vestiges still bear witness to this influence. Starting with the Count’s Door which separated the Castle of the Counts of Luxembourg from the town. Located on the banks of the Moselle, along the ramparts, the castle had a keep, the Tour aux Puces.

In turn a shelter, a grain store, a provost marshal’s house, a gunpowder magazine, and a military prison, its name comes from a strange tale. Called Peetz-turm by Luxemburgers, it was translated as Tour aux Puits owing to the installation of the town’s wells within its walls. When the French arrived in the 17th century, they mistakenly translated it as Tour au Puces. A translation error which inevitably gave rise to many legends justifying its name. With 14 sides, its tetradecagonal shape fascinates and lends it power.


Today, the castle has disappeared but in this castle courtyard a building with Renaissance elegance and allure still remains.

This mansion owned by the Raville family is dominated by a delicate and finely decorated corner tower. Several coats-of-arms of undefined origin decorate the window lintels here and there.

Look up and open your eyes!


Thionville distinguishes itself with a brand-new tower at the heart of its historic centre. A belfry! Yes, that’s right, just like in the north! Thionville’s belfry dates from the 14th century and forms part of the town’s symbolic medieval structure. Apart from its defensive watchtower appearance, it also recalls the city’s freedoms.

The plaque commemorating the “charte de franchise” added to it in the 20th century bears witness to this. This charter defined the rights and duties between the city’s bourgeoisie and the Counts of Luxembourg. Here Ermesinde is the signatory. At the top of this tower is the Big Suzanne, a two-tonne bell which has been put into retirement since there is a risk of it cracking the belfry with its heavy movements.


The Rue de la Tour is the oldest street in Thionville and one of the most interesting. It bears the signs of the town’s Spanish history! Yes, you’ve read right! In the 16th century, Thionville was part of the Spanish Netherlands, then the House of Habsburg and its Holy Roman Empire. The towers on the facade, called stair towers are a reminder of this. Further on, there is also the house where Merlin, a politician of the Revolution, was born.

Watch out, it is also said that its nickname is chamberpot street. We’ll let you think about that.


If you have time to get away from the well-trodden paths and the pedestrianised centre, pay a visit to Guerlach and Irmengarde at Volkrange Castle. He the knight, she the daughter of a lord, their love was impossible. Although the maiden’s hand was granted as a result of the young man’s bravery, illness tore the two lovers apart.

A story of minstrels and troubadours that is deeply moving and real. Beautiful remains attract the eye and immerse us in the daily life of noble families in medieval times: keystone, towers, dovecote, mullion windows… You are expected.