Friday, 28 March 2014

Cochem




The medieval castle of Cochem was destroyed by the troops of Louis XIV and lay in ruins until it was bought by the rich businessman Louis Ravené in the 1860's. Our guide suggested to us that Ravené must have consumed a fair quantity of the local wine before paying 300 marks for the place.

This being the height of the 19th century romantic period, apparently Ravené set out to restore the castle and make a fairytale summer home for his family, including a wife who was 22 years younger than he was. The work was to be in the Gothic Revival style.  Possibly he neglected his wife whilst supervising it, because before it was completed she left him for another man who was their house guest.

Ravené himself did not live to see the interior restoration completed, but his son did. The castle remained in private hands until the Second World War and now belongs to the town.

Like many towns along the Moselle, Cochem is well supplied with half-timbered buildings, despite suffering extensive war damage.  Its main industries are wine and tourism.  It must have  fit schoolchildren since they have to climb a very steep path up from the town towards the school which is situated high on the castle hill.