Central located in western Europe, germany, belgium and switzerland all nearby.
just 6 hours to Calais
Vosges regional information
The Vosges are in the south of the former Lorraine region now included in the Grand-Est region. The mountain gave its name to the department (88) whose capital is Epinal.
Bordered to the east by the Rhine, the massif is crossed by numerous rivers, which best known are the Moselle, a tributary of the Rhine, and the Saone, a tributary of the Rhône.
This ancient mountain, eroded by time, remains high. Its highest peak (1363 m) is located at Hohneck to the south-east of it. One of the largest ski resorts in the Vosges, La Bresse, is also located on the slopes of this mountain. In the north, the many rounded mountains are better known as the 'Ballons d'Alsace', which is a francization of the Alsatian word 'belchen'.
In the east of the Vosges department, the mounts are higher and many lakes have formed. One of the most famous is the Gerardmer lake, but one could also mention the Grand Ballon lake.
The mountain is mainly covered with forest. It offers a multitude of outdoor activities. It is the ideal place for hiking, or cycling in summer, skiing or snowshoeing in winter. This is an opportunity to observe wild animals such as chamois, kestrel or red deer.
While the mountainous part is mainly exploited for its forests between wood exploitation and green tourism in the summer and white tourism in the winter, the western part with more moderate altitude variations offers great surfaces for agriculture. Moreover, the amount of yearly rainfall allows a diversified agriculture. Indeed, the Vosges massif forms a real dam for the clouds, which feeds the rivers and the water tables. In the past, people referred to it as the water tower of Lorraine.
It is also this abundance of water that has allowed the development of spa tourism. The department has no less than four thermal spa towns. The oldest thermal baths date from the Gallo-Roman period and are found in Bains-les-Bains and Plombières-lès Bains. By the way, there are several antique sites in the vicinity that are worth a visit.
The history of the thermal baths in the region has been written over the centuries. Towards the end of the 16th century, suffering from kidney stones, the famous philosopher Montaigne took a cure in Plombières-les-Bains. Nowadays, the most popular spas are neighbour towns and crossed by the Vaire river. They are Vittel and Contrexéville, where a world renown food industry has settled and now produces many mineral water bottles.
However, heritage of its history, the craft industry still plays an important role in the economy of the region. The crystal factory in Portieux is the direct result of the heritage of more than 600 years of craftsmanship favoured by the Dukes of Lorraine in the Middle Ages, allowing its development throughout the duchy. Epinal pictures, with its shimmering colours, was greatly democratised with the rise of the hand press, which allowed paper to be printed with an image engraved in wood. In the 16th century, with their he numerous trips to Italy, the Dukes of Lorraine brought back with them excellent musicians and violin makers who developed the fame of Mirecourt's violin making. But Mirecourt is also famous for its lace, which was worldwide renown in the mid-19th century.
This mountainous region is not lacking in gastronomy and comforting delights.
There is something for every tooth. If you prefer savoury food, you may opt for a Vosges salad, a Vosges pie or a piece of Munster Géromé on a slice of bread. And if you prefer something sweet, then you will certainly not miss a brimbelle tart, the wild blueberries of the region. And all day long you can taste Vosges sweets made with natural flavours: honey, fir, eucalyptus, raspberry, blueberry, etc. And for a fun visit, you can also go and see the candy factory in La Bresse.
The mountain is located halfway between some very good French vineyards: Alsace, Champagne, and a little further south Burgundy. But in this region, the local drinks are beers or fruit brandies and of course mineral water. As a fact, the Vosges has many craft breweries; in Remiremont, Épinal, Xertigny, to name only a few places where this beverage is made. There is even a museum dedicated to beer making in Ville-sur-Illon, halfway between Contrexéville and Épinal.
In short, the Vosges have everything to seduce those looking for an authentic life inspired by the calm of nature that is so rejuvenating. Whether you are looking for your second home in the mountains for year-round outdoor activities or whether you want to settle in the countryside less than 3.5 hours from Paris, the Vosges is for you.