It is great walking in the Southern Vosges. At 585 kilometers from Utrecht, around the town of Remiremont, you will find low mountains (the “Ballons”), a beautiful high moor area with Finnish Lakes and still untouched “French Campagne”. And it is precisely this variety that makes the Southern Vosges a unique hiking area.
The Club Vosgien has set out and marked more than 4000 kilometers of hiking trails in this beautiful area. All loops and circular walks that you can link and combine.
Villa Moncoeur has selected the most beautiful walks and combined them into a number of walking packages. With a stay in one of the highest rated Chambre d’Hotes in France.
The high Vosges
The High Vosges stretch from north to south over a distance of 100 kilometers. At 1,424 meters, the Grand Ballon is the highest mountain. With its many glacial lakes and wetlands, it is one of the largest unspoilt areas in Northern France.
It’s the Gems area where you have a pretty good chance of seeing them. Flowers thrive on the sunny mountain peaks, or “chaumes”. These clearings, heated by the hair dryer, probably date back to the 7th century when the monks needed summer pastures for their livestock.
We have some lovely walks in the High Vosges, some of which start at an altitude so you don’t have to climb much.
The area of the Mille Etangs originated during the last ice age, when the retreating glaciers left behind hundreds of larger and smaller lakes. It is a beautiful swampy area that is strongly reminiscent of Canada.
Andromeda, a protected heather species, thrives in these peat bogs as do the bilberry, lingonberry and cranberry. In addition, the sundew, a carnivorous plant, and in the spring and summer entire fields with the male orchid, a wild orchid species.
There are some wonderful marked walks through the area.
The low Vosges
A hilly and varied landscape; sometimes sweet, sometimes rough with rocks and gorges, but always surprising. Unexpected views alternate with intimate valleys, in which small villages with only a dozen or a hundred inhabitants. An area of meadows, surrounded by extensive deciduous forests and everywhere, reflecting lakes, streams and rivers.
Old farmland, where land consolidation has not yet struck and the typical Vosgienne cow still exists. A strong, small cow, related to the Dutch blaarkop, which is kept for both milk and meat.
Villa Moncoeur has dozens of walks available through this beautiful area.
Primeval forests behind Villa Moncoeur
There are no more primeval forests in the Netherlands. The last, the Beekbergerwoud, was cut down in 1871 and the ground was brought under cultivation. A primeval forest, such as the forests of Remiremont, looks very different from a production forest. In the “Bois de Corroy”, behind Villa Moncoeur, the three stages of forest development (young stock, vital mature trees and declining trees) gradually merge.
In between is perhaps an oak of a thousand or twelve hundred years. Biodiversity is great: the tawny owl, red deer and roe deer, boars and predators such as the lynx and the wild cat. The ecosystem is almost complete. Many types of moss only grow on this substrate, many ferns have a preference for it, just like some higher plants such as Robert’s wort and white wood sorrel.