In the massif of the Vosges, there is the white season, that of the ski walks or snowshoes. And the green season, with hikes between lakes, forests and meadows. We could add an annual season: the rose season! Emblem of the Vosges massif, the sandstone illuminates with its copper shades exceptional monuments like the castle of Haut Koenigsbourg or the cathedral of Saint-EtienneDie, but also sublime landscapes that still bear the bruises of the Great War of 14-18.
Highlights of your stay in the Vosges massif
Historical route in the heart of the Vosges
In the mountains of the Vosges, you have an appointment with history with a big H! In the Hartmannswillerkopf, the memory of the First World War looms. This rocky outcrop, located 956 metres above the Alsace plain, has been nicknamed “the mountain of death” or “the man-eater” because the fighting was so terrible. Two tours of visits, one between trenches and old shelters, revive this painful period.
At the Château du Haut Koenigsbourg, one plunges into a medieval universe worthy of history books. Built in the 12th century, this mountain fortress with stunning views over the Alsace plain, the Vosges, the Black Forest and sometimes the Alps, was entirely restored in the 19th century in the spirit of the Middle Ages by the last German Emperor. And when you visit the admirable cathedral of Saint-Dié in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, you can see a few centuries of sacred art, from Romanesque to Gothic without forgetting the contemporary, with stained glass windows shining like jewels.
Meet the wildlife
To breathe the pure air of the Vosges, and meet some discreet inhabitants, head for the animal park of Fougerolles in Saint-Valbert: we watch there chamois, ibex, deer sika or deer elaphs. In Gérardmer, one climbs towards the head of Mérelle where a tower of 15 meters high, the Mérelle observatory offers a 360° panorama over the mountains. And we offer ourselves a rejuvenation cure in the basins of the balneotherapy center of Ribeauvillé, the sight in bonus!
The Vosges massif: «nature» destination
Do you prefer winter with its snowy mantle covering the mountains or summer that reveals the soft green curves of the “balloons”? In all seasons, the Vosges massif is a paradise for nature lovers.
In winter, you can climb all schuss in Ventron, a small family resort, ideal for cross-country skiing trips, but you can also learn about snowkites in La Bresse, snowmobiling in La Schulcht or snowshoeing in Lac Blanc, which spreads at the bottom of a glacial circus surrounded by fir forests. Unless you try climbing the ice slopes with ice axes and spikes, like in Spitzkoepfe.
To recover from all these emotions, in La Bresse, an ecogite welcomes the amateurs of unusual: at the menu Finnish bath in the open air and wake up amid deer, foxes and deer… In summer, Lake Gérardmer is transformed into a vast playground (115 hectares!) for young and old: there are many water activities. And we never get tired of going on the hiking routes: more than 4,000 kilometres of marked trails stretch across the Vosges massif. We survey the Ballons des Vosges Regional Natural Park, between forests, high stubbles (high meadows), bogs, ice cirques, rocky cliffs, lakes and rivers…
And we unroll the famous Blue Line of the Vosges, marking the border between Alsace and a part of Lorraine with no less than three great hiking trails for routes from 7 to 9 days.
100% French artisan shopping in the heart of the Vosges
The Vosges massif is a region rich in know-how, suitable for a 100% French shopping. The Vosges forest is not for nothing, it is its abundance that is at the origin of the manufacture of wooden toys, but also of the famous crystal of Baccarat, whose elegance crosses the centuries since 1764, and the Christmas balls of Meisenthal, in glass blown to the mouth. We can add the real Vosges sweets, traditionally made with pine sap. Other delicacies to be packed: mirabelle jam, yellow gold from the Vosges, Munster cream, local cheese, and gingerbread, flavoured with local honey!