The Alsace and Franche-Comté regions meet on the summits of the Southern Vosges, coming together to form a diverse and surprising land.
A land of determination from the cyclists climbing up the hill of the Planche des Belles Filles. A land of strength from Fougerolles Kirsch liqueur. A land of audacity from the works of Le Corbusier. A land of vitality from the wind blowing over the wide-open spaces of the summit of the Ballon d'Alsace. A land of mystery that reigns over the Mille Étangs Plateau.
Active, inspired, talented, natural: such are the traits that forged the plural identity of these mountains. Are up to taming them?
A now disappeared thousand-year-old glacier sculpted this landscape. Its legacy? The ponds and lakes of the Mille Étangs Plateau. Peaceful waters stretch out between moors and forests, giving the Southern Vosges a bit of a “Little Finland” atmosphere.
At the foot of the Ballon d'Alsace lies a mysterious lake said to have no bottom. Here is its legend.
A long time ago, on a Sunday in the summer, a storm was rolling in. A wealthy farmer, more worried about his harvest than his Sunday obligations, decided to ignore the call of the church bells and went to ted his hay. While he was working, a lightning bolt tore through the sky, and the earth opened under his feet. The abyss engulfed him along with his hitch. Torrential rain then flooded the field of the ungodly farmer. When the divine wrath had subsided, a bottomless lake had formed.
Today, will-o'-the-wisps float on Sewen Lake on hot summer evenings. Is it a simple natural phenomenon or the farmer making an appearance? We'll let you decide.
THE TREASURES OF THE SOUTHERN VOSGES
Getaways along the Tour de France
Tackle the mountain passes and cycle from peak to peak in the tire treads of Thibaut Pinot along the Historic Route of the Tour de France. If you're not big on road cycling, take a ride through the forests on the mountain bike trails of the Southern Vosges. Here, even the most out-of-use calves can push beyond their limits on an electric bike.
And if you're looking for a non-cycling workout, the Southern Vosges offer plenty of other outdoor activities. In summer, play an aerial game of hide-and-seek on a treetop adventure course. In winter, work on your form while hitting the slopes.
Along the water
Water is everywhere in the Southern Vosges, whether exploring the Mille Étangs Plateau, fishing, or walking along a forest stream in search of a waterfall.
In the summer, the waters of Malsaucy and Ballastières lakes are perfect for a dip. If you're not a fan of swimming, there are plenty of water sports to discover.
And have you ever looked down on the water from the sky above? Why not take a ride in a hot air balloon ride and tell us all about it, if you're not too afraid of heights, of course.
Journey through history
How did the small town of Champagney help abolish slavery during the Revolution? Why did Le Corbusier choose the town of Ronchamp to build his iconic Chapel? Did the cherry really influence the way of life in the area? What lies hidden in the mines of the Southern Vosges? What were the forts and castles in the region protecting?
Just a few interesting questions that you might not have thought to ask. How about some answers? No problem. The Southern Vosges are ready and waiting to teach you a bit about the mountain's rich history of cultural, architectural, and military heritage.
There's always time to eat
Explore the Southern Vosges with all your senses. After admiring the beautiful landscapes, taking in the aromas of the forests, listening to the murmuring of the streams, and feeling the cool air on your skin, it's time to savour the flavours. Enjoy the subtle taste of bilberries picked above the village of Belfahy. Then discover the unexpected power of cherry, transformed into kirsch or griottines by the distillers of Fougerolles. And if you still aren't full, the region is brimming with local producers and brewers. They will be proud to give you a taste of their honey, cheese, or craft beer. Savour the generous spirit of the Vosges Mountains!