Dame blanche and the witches fire
The Bollenberg is a 363 m mound of Jura limestone between Rouffach, Orschwihr and Westhalten. Every year, on the night of the 14th to the 15th of August, it bears witness to a cult spectacle that attracts thousands of people from across the region. The little Holy Cross Chapel can be reached via a short but steep track from the eastern edge of the village. On this night it is lit up by the flames of the famous witches fire. It is the novices from Orschwihr, the probationary nuns, who burn the effigy of a witch upon a spectacular bonfire. Throughout the rest of year you’re more likely to meet nature lovers here in this national park. The “Clos Sainte Apolline” with its hotel, restaurant and vineyard can be found on the eastern side of the hill on the D18. To the locals the Holy Cross Chapel is known as the “Chapelle des sorcières”, the witches chapel, and used to be frequently visited by pilgrims. Numerous legends are entwined with this place where the “Dame blanche”, the white lady, is said to have appeared. It is thought likely that this is an old pagan site.