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The Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in Great East

The Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in Great East
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Created in 1989, the Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park covers the three former regions of Alsace, Franche-Comté and Lorraine, and more precisely, the four departments that are Haut-Rhin, Haute-Saône, Vosges and the Territory of Belfort. Its area of 3,000 km² makes it one of France's biggest Nature Parks. It contains 14 peaks, including the highest, the Grand Ballon d'Alsace, at 1,424 metres in altitude.

This magnificent protected territory offers some beautiful natural and cultural heritage. On the nature side of things, there is a series of mountain landscapes, ballons (rounded mountain peaks) and high-altitude pastures. There are two treasures: the big ridge that forms the Upper Vosges, with its woodland-covered slopes, and the Mille Étangs plateau in Franche-Comté. High stubble fields, peat bogs, lakes and rivers, and oak, beech and pine forests make up most of these natural landscapes. The fauna and flora are abundant, and typical of the massif: lynx, peregrine falcons, deer, chamois, grey wolves (back since 2011), cranberries, mountain pansies, fringed pinks, sundews... and medicinal plants like arnica.

The Vosges Mountains have been shaped by human activity: water, wood and stone have enabled industry and craft to develop, as evidenced by the many sawmills, granite quarries, textile factories and sandstone tiles that cover the roofs.

When it comes to culture, the Park has 350 "Historic Monument" sites, 2 "Land of Art and History" territories, a dozen remarkable villages and some themed routes: the Ridges Route, Alsace Wine Route, Cheese Route, Thousand Ponds Route, etc.

Lovers of memorial tourism will also be satisfied by the many World War-related sites.

Two thermal resorts await spa fans: Plombières-les-Bains in Vosges, and Luxeuil-les-Bains in Haute-Saône.

The beautiful landscapes of the Ballons des Vosges Nature Park can be explored on foot along the many marked paths, by bike, on horseback, but also on snowshoes or by cross-country skiing in winter… Some superb spots await nature-lovers wishing to enjoy the lush countryside: lakes for water sports, thirty or so natural sites with climbing facilities, via ferrata, fishing or hang-gliding sites, etc.

The Park House in Munster has a permanent exhibition and provides visitors with all the information they need to explore the Park.

Additional information
The Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park

Summit of the Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
Summit of the Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
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Notre-Dame du Ballon - East Summit of the Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
Notre-Dame du Ballon - East Summit of the Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
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Statue of Joan of Arc - West Summit of the Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
Statue of Joan of Arc - West Summit of the Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
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Split rock - Planche des Belles Filles (© Jean Espirat)
Split rock - Planche des Belles Filles (© Jean Espirat)
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First snow at the top of Rossberg (© Jean Espirat)
First snow at the top of Rossberg (© Jean Espirat)
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Rossberg ridge, seen from Tête des Perches (© JE)
Rossberg ridge, seen from Tête des Perches (© JE)
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Ferme-auberge de la Fennematt (© Jean Espirat)
Ferme-auberge de la Fennematt (© Jean Espirat)
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Col de la Fennematt, seen from the Wissgrutt (© Jean Espirat)
Col de la Fennematt, seen from the Wissgrutt (© Jean Espirat)
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Le Rouge Gazon - Ski resort (© Jean Espirat)
Le Rouge Gazon - Ski resort (© Jean Espirat)
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Vallée de Wesserling, view of Rouge Gazon (© Jean Espirat)
Vallée de Wesserling, view of Rouge Gazon (© Jean Espirat)
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Chaume du Querty - Ballon d'Alsace region (© Jean Espirat)
Chaume du Querty - Ballon d'Alsace region (© Jean Espirat)
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Sunrise over the Séwen valley, seen from the Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
Sunrise over the Séwen valley, seen from the Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
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Top of the Ballon de Servance (© Jean Espirat)
Top of the Ballon de Servance (© Jean Espirat)
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La Planche des Belles Filles - Ski resort (© Jean Espirat)
La Planche des Belles Filles - Ski resort (© Jean Espirat)
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Sunrise seen from the top of the Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
Sunrise seen from the top of the Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
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Pond of the Belles Filles - Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
Pond of the Belles Filles - Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
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Pond of the Belles Filles - Massif d u Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
Pond of the Belles Filles - Massif d u Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
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Etang des Roseaux - Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
Etang des Roseaux - Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
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Etang du Petit Haut - Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
Etang du Petit Haut - Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
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Lac d 'Alfeld - Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
Lac d 'Alfeld - Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
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The Lachtelweiher, Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
The Lachtelweiher, Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac des Perches - Massif des Perches (© JE)
Lac des Perches - Massif des Perches (© JE)
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Lac de Séwen - Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
Lac de Séwen - Massif du Ballon d'Alsace (© Jean Espirat)
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Lacs Neuweiher - Massif des Perches (© Jean Espirat)
Lacs Neuweiher - Massif des Perches (© Jean Espirat)
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Lacs Neuweiher seen from GR 5 (© Jean Espirat)
Lacs Neuweiher seen from GR 5 (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac de Kruth-Wildenstein (© Jean Espirat)
Lac de Kruth-Wildenstein (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac de la Lauch (© Jean Espirat)
Lac de la Lauch (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac du Ballon - Massif du Grand Ballon (© Jean Espirat)
Lac du Ballon - Massif du Grand Ballon (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac Altenweiher (© Jean Espirat)
Lac Altenweiher (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac de Blanchemer seen from the route des crêtes (© JE)
Lac de Blanchemer seen from the route des crêtes (© JE)
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Lac de la Lande, seen from the route des crêtes (© JE)
Lac de la Lande, seen from the route des crêtes (© JE)
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Lac des Corbeaux - Col de Bramont sector (© Jean Espirat)
Lac des Corbeaux - Col de Bramont sector (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac vert (© Jean Espirat)
Lac vert (© Jean Espirat)
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Green lake (© Jean Espirat)
Green lake (© Jean Espirat)
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Chajoux peat pond (© Jean Espirat)
Chajoux peat pond (© Jean Espirat)
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Gérardmer lake seen from the Mérell tower e (© Jean Espirat)
Gérardmer lake seen from the Mérell tower e (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac de Retournemer seen from the rock of the Devil (© Jean Espirat)
Lac de Retournemer seen from the rock of the Devil (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac blanc (© Jean Espirat)
Lac blanc (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac blanc (© Jean Espirat)
Lac blanc (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac noir (© Jean Espirat)
Lac noir (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac noir (© Jean Espirat)
Lac noir (© Jean Espirat)
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Hiking on the névés trail, Hohneck (© Jean Espirat)
Hiking on the névés trail, Hohneck (© Jean Espirat)
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Altitude peat bog, Faing grass (© Jean Espirat)
Altitude peat bog, Faing grass (© Jean Espirat)
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Rocher du Blast Furnace - Tanet region (© Jean Espirat)
Rocher du Blast Furnace - Tanet region (© Jean Espirat)
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Summit of Tanet (© Jean Espirat)
Summit of Tanet (© Jean Espirat)
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Summit of Hohneck (© Jean Espirat)
Summit of Hohneck (© Jean Espirat)
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Rochers Taubenklaffels (© Jean Espirat)
Rochers Taubenklaffels (© Jean Espirat)
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Route des crêtes, view from Rainkopf (© Jean Espirat)
Route des crêtes, view from Rainkopf (© Jean Espirat)
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The GR 5 on the ridge, seen from Rainkopf (© Jean Espirat)
The GR 5 on the ridge, seen from Rainkopf (© Jean Espirat)
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Cirque du Frankenthal - Hohneck (© Jean Espirat)
Cirque du Frankenthal - Hohneck (© Jean Espirat)
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Boule du Diable - Longemer region (© Jean Espirat)
Boule du Diable - Longemer region (© Jean Espirat)
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Lac de Longemer, seen upstream side (© Jean Espirat)
Lac de Longemer, seen upstream side (© Jean Espirat)
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Sunrise on the snow of Hohneck (© Jean Espirat)
Sunrise on the snow of Hohneck (© Jean Espirat)
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Névés trail, Hohneck (© Jean Espirat)
Névés trail, Hohneck (© Jean Espirat)
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Roche des Fées - Gazon du Faing (© Jean Espirat)
Roche des Fées - Gazon du Faing (© Jean Espirat)
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Goutte du Lys waterfall - Malvaux, route du ba llon d'Alsace (© JE)
Goutte du Lys waterfall - Malvaux, route du ba llon d'Alsace (© JE)
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Cascade de la Goutte du Lys - Malvaux, route du ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
Cascade de la Goutte du Lys - Malvaux, route du ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
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Cascade du Saut de la Truite - Malvaux, route du ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
Cascade du Saut de la Truite - Malvaux, route du ballon d'Alsace (© JE)
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Saut de la Truite Waterfall (© JE)
Saut de la Truite Waterfall (© JE)
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Saut de la Truite Waterfall - Alsace Balloon Route (© JE)
Saut de la Truite Waterfall - Alsace Balloon Route (© JE)
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