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Rethel coat of arms
Rethel (France)
region Grand Est
Department Ardennes
Arrondissement Rethel
Canton Rethel
Community association Pays Rethélois
Coordinates 49 ° 31 '  N , 4 ° 22'  E Coordinates: 49 ° 31 '  N , 4 ° 22'  E
height 67-146 m
surface 18.58 km 2
Residents 7,592 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 409 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 08300
INSEE code

town hall
The parish church of Saint-Nicolas de Rethel

Rethel is a French commune with 7592 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2017) in the Ardennes department in north-eastern France.


Rethel is located on the Aisne River and the parallel Canal des Ardennes . The Saulces river , which runs largely underground in the urban area, flows into the Aisne here. The city also has a TGV stop on the Paris - Sedan route , a branch of the LGV Est européenne . The Eifel-Ardennes Green Road begins in Rethel .


Rethel was already the capital of a county in the 11th century, which was elevated to a peerage in 1405 and a duchy of Rethel in 1581 , whose title was given in 1633 by Jules Mazarin .

On December 15, 1650, the Battle of Rethel took place nearby .

Victor Hugo wrote about the place in his work Der Rhein in 1836 :

"Rethel se répand gracieusement du haut d'une colline jusque sur la rivière d'Aisne."

"Rethel spreads gracefully from the height of a hill down to the Aisne."

The Aisne or its crossing was the cause of battles in 1411, 1543, 1650, 1814, 1870 ( Battle of Sedan ), September 1914 and June 1940 .

Population development

year 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2007 2016
Residents 7359 7804 8361 8339 7923 8052 7793 7662
Sources: Cassini and INSEE


Typical of Rethel are the imposing town hall, the large hospital and the relatively large, Catholic church, to which the Collège Sorbon (French grammar school) is nestled. The schoolyard borders the walls of the church.


Rethel is the birthplace of:

In Rethel lived:

The Palatinate Prince Philip of the Palatinate (1627–1650) died in Rethel. The German freedom fighter Friedrich Friesen (1784–1814) was slain in 1814 in La Lobbe , which is now part of Rethel . Also in 1814, the French general and politician Edmond Dubois-Crancé (1746–1814) died in Rethel . Hans Erlwein (1872–1914), German architect, died in a car accident near Rethel during the First World War . The German socialist and trade unionist Friedrich Westmeyer (1873-1917) died in a military hospital in the city.

Town twinning

There is a student exchange with the German high schools Nordhorn and Neubiberg .

Web links

Commons : Rethel  - collection of images, videos and audio files