Follow in the footsteps of the greatest German writer who lived in Alsace during his youth. Thanks to a small museum and luxurious themed rooms at the Auberge au Bœuf, a memorial in the centre of the village and a 6 km trail, you can relive the tender moments of Goethe and Frédérique, the muse of his poems, with whom he fell in love in the 18th century. A poetic and nostalgic pilgrimage.
WHEN A YOUNG GIRL FROM ALSACE CAPTURED THE HEART OF A POET
Your itinerary will take you to the typical village of Sessenheim, which owes its worldwide fame and its place in the history of world literature to the love of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, then a law student in Strasbourg, for the daughter of the pastor of Sessenheim, Frédérique Brion. Goethe's love for Frédérique in 1770 and 1771 is one of the best-known episodes in the great man's love life. Charmed by the grace and simplicity of the young girl, he made her immortal in his memoirs. His confidences to readers seem to suggest that Frédérique could well have been the model for the guilty yet moving Gretchen from Faust.
"...Oh maiden, maiden, How love I thee!
Thine eye, how gleams it! How lov'st thou me!”
Goethe, May Song.
THE GOETHE MUSEUM IN THE AUBERGE AU BŒUF, YANNICK GERMAIN
Initiated by a German archaeologist and writer, Professor Gustave Adolf Muller, a first Goethe and Frédérique museum was set up in a room in the town hall and inaugurated in 1895. After disagreements between the municipality and the promoters of the museum, it was transferred to the Auberge au Boeuf in 1899.
Auberge au Bœuf, Yannick Germain
1 rue de l’église
THE LAUGHING BARN
The presbytery barn, in which Goethe made the young men of the village laugh so hard that they had to stop working, had reached such a state of disrepair that it collapsed on the morning of June 26, 1927. Thanks to the many donations from friends of the Goethe and Frédérique memorial and a grant from the municipality, the barn was quickly rebuilt.
In the centre of the village, this small building, a former guardhouse restored and redesigned on the initiative of Professor Albert Fuchs, houses various documents concerning Goethe's life, his studies in Strasbourg, his spiritual metamorphosis in contact with Herder, his encounter with the French intellectual world and his poetic development as a result of his amorous entanglement in Sessenheim. A copy of the famous bust of Goethe sculpted by David d'Angers is surrounded by quotations from the poet, Napoleon and Paul Valéry, testifying to the universal influence of the writer.
THE TOMBSTONES OF THE BRION PARENTS
They are on the south side, outside the Protestant church, in a niche. As for the tombs, they are inside the church. Their location is marked in the central aisle by a cross.
THE GOETHE TRAIL
To follow in the footsteps of the famous poet, the 6 km Goethe trail of the Club Vosgien takes you "In the footsteps of lovers". A booklet is available in the town hall of Sessenheim and in the tourist information offices of Soufflenheim and Gambsheim.
LA GOURMANDISE DE GOETHE
Owner of several bakeries, Mikaël Gramfort excels in his field. In addition to being a baker, he also has his master's degree in pastry making, to our great delight. He is behind a unique creation that pays tribute to Goethe: the Gourmandise de Goethe.
It is a travel cake with almonds, hazelnuts, prunes steeped in fleur de bière (a beer-based spirit), covered with a marzipan figure of the poet. You must not forget to get one from the bakery! You can even enjoy it in their tea room.
Gourmandise de Goethe
Bakery-pastry Mikaël Gramfort
5 place de la mairie
Tél : 03 88 09 90 73