The Vosges is a mountain range near the Franco-German frontier, 250 km in length and rising to its highest point 1,422m at the Ballon de Guebwiller. It is separated from the Jura Mountains to the south by the Belfort Gap. The hills and rich green country of the Vosges spread fanwise across North Eastern France. Visitors have an infinite number of walks to choose from along lush plains decked with wild flowers or shady paths in the forests.
The spring waters of the Vosges have given rise to numerous therapeutic spas and health resorts such as Vittel, Contrexéville and Plombières. The eastern part of the region offers a wonderful blend of mountains, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, and is great for walking and site-seeing.
Domrémy and the house where Jeanne d'Arc was born.
Epinal is a city with an attractive basilica and is a centre for spinning, weaving and sawmills.
Gérardmer, is the jewel of the Vosges, as it is dominated by a lake and surrounded by forests, rivers, lakes and waterfalls - it is also famous for its textile industry.
Le Tholy, a delightful village about 10km from Gerardmer, extending in terraces up the "Grandes Roches" 950m, is an ideal starting point for numerous hiking tours in the neighbouring forests.
Parc Regional des Ballons des Vosges The park was created in 1989 and covers an area of 3,000 km². It is named after the famous 'ballons' or dome-shaped mountains and is a hiker's paradise, combining wonderful views in rich natural surroundings.
Alsace which enjoys a border with Germany bears testimony to the influence of its neighbours both in its architecture and its culture. Towns worth visiting include:
Mulhouse whose incredible industrial development can be traced in its eight museums which make up the largest grouping of technical museums in Europe. The Tour de l'Europe, 99m high, contrasts with the old craftsmen's and tradesmen's district, now a pedestrian-only zone. It also has the world's largest car museum consisting of more than 600 motor vehicles and 90 well-known makes.
Strasbourg is a city set on the river Rhine and a major gateway to Europe. Today it abounds with a rich mixture of cultural traditions and along with New York and Geneva, it shares the privilege of being the seat of numerous international organizations without being a capital city. The old city lies around the cathedral on an island formed by two arms of the Ill river. The narrow streets of the old town offer a series of half-timbered houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries with large inner courtyards and high sloping roofs.
Colmar is the capital of the Alsatian wine-growing region. It is well-known for its historic old town, now a vast pedestrian precinct. The centre is made up of a web of narrow cobbled streets, flanked by medieval half-timbered houses with carved gables, ancient signs, oriel windows and doors with vintage lintels.