Metz, France Starts the Moselle River Trail
With so many incredible towns and cities located in Moselle River Valley, it’s hard to decide where to start. Metz is a great place to start your trail adventure on the Moselle River, so let’s take a closer look at it. I already covered some of Metz in the blog post entitled Bike Paths in Metz, France. But it deserves a quick update. At one time, Metz was even more important than Paris in both Celtic, Roman & early medieval times. This becomes obvious when you look at the incredible St. Etienne de Metz Cathedral and other buildings in and around Metz. Metz has continued to grow and evolve into a modern city that thrives along the banks of the Moselle. It is also fantastic place to spend a few days before beginning your journey on the Moselle River trail, also known as the Veloroute Charles le Temeraire in these parts.
Neumagen-Dhron on the Old Roman Road
You will visit many wonderful towns as you make your way down the Chemin de la Moselle (Moselle Trail or Moselle Path) but one of my very favorite towns in all of Germany is Neumagen. This ancient Roman town on the Moselle has more ancient history on every corner than most places have in their entire town. It was a prominent town because it is located at the intersection of two important Roman roads, the Via Ausonia and the Via Mosella. In addition, it really has a lot of character with trailside/roadside cafes, bakeries & shops. Some of the tour companies have you bypass Neumagen by suggesting you bike on the other side of the river. But remember, in most places, there’s a bike path on both sides of the Moselle, and you definitely want to head over to the right-hand side when in the Neumagen area.
Cochem is a Trailside Treat
On the left-hand side of the river, you’ll easily spot Cochem, Germany. It’s bustling waterfront, beautiful architecture and, oh yeah, towering castle, make it hard to miss. If you go on only one side-trip off the Mosel River Trail, (Now that we’re in Germany, it’s spelled Mosel rather than Mosselle, but I’ll use them interchangeably.) make it to the Imperial Castle of Cochem. It’s a surprisingly short walk and very worthwhile. The castle was originally built in the 11th Century (my fave) then destroyed by the French, then rebuilt in the 19th century. On the way up to the castle, you can stop along the waterfront for some snacks and liquid refreshments. Then, keep walking upstream until you see a small tower with numbered markings going up the side of it. These markings represent how high the Mosel flood waters got in particular years. The very highest marking is from 1993, a pretty recent catastrophe. At this flood tower, you start your march up the stairs and pathway to the Imperial Castle. Stop along the way to take pictures, but save time for even more pictures once you arrive. Not only is the castle itself beautiful but the view from up there is absolutely spectacular.