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  France 2005 - Vosges & Alsace


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Vosges and Alsace

Eguisheim main square

Eguisheim wine cellar

Eguisheim typical Alsace shop sign

Storks nests at Munster town hall

 The Vosges is a large hilly area mostly heavily wooded with a few "mountains" affording large vistas across to Alsace and the Rhine Valley.

On our tour we headed north from Belfort into the Parc Natural Regional des Ballons des Vosges on mostly long winding roads climbing steadily to the Grand Ballon (1424m alt) a hill covered with scrub with extensive views as far as the Swiss Alps. There is a fairly arduous 1km walk up rocky paths to the summit from the road. This road is the "Route des Crêtes" and continues north to the Col de la Schlucht near Gerardmer, the main town for this area,  and then further north to the Col du Bonhomme west of Kayserberg. 
The small towns in the Alsace winegrowing area are mostly very attractive with their timber framed buildings. We visited Riquewihr, and Ribeauvillé as well as Kayserberg where there is a large aire, but our favourite was Eguisheim south of Colmar.

Another small town worth a visit is Munster, with storks nests on the roof of the town hall. There is also a regional park centre with interesting exhibitions and a helpful office de tourism.

statues in Munster for jazz festival

One place we discovered in the Vosges that deeply moved us was "Le Linge" a WW1 battleground site 16km west of Colmar, where over 50,000 soldiers were killed in the French and German trenches which are still intact a few metres apart. There is an interesting museum explaining the history of the battle and also white crosses where soldiers remains were discovered as recently as the 1970's. 

Further to the north between Le Hohwald and Rothau, 21km west of Obernai, is a WW2 German concentration camp at Natzwiller-Struthof. Many of the buildings remain and the site is preserved as a memorial 

Eguisheim back street

Riquewihr main street

Riquewihr decorated window

Typical half timbered house in Riquewihr

Another place worth visiting is the chapel of Notre-Dame-du-Haut at Ronchamp west of Belfort, designed and built by Le Corbusier in 1955 a stark yet beautiful building set in woodlands There are also interesting stained glass windows     

View of chapel at Ronchamp
View of chapel

Main doors
Main doors


rear view of chapel

Useful links

Alsace villages
Le Linge


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