The Vosges are a middlemountainrange in northeast France, from Mainz in the north to Basel, 250 kilometres further south. The bare, round peaks in the mountainous south of this area are called balloons; and elevate themselves above the 1300 meters (Grand Ballon, 1424 meters).
The border between France and Germany, just west of the Vosges, in the past has been siked deep in the earth's crust and has formed the picturesque Rhine Valley, easily visible from the mountains, just across the Black Forest. It is beautiful hiking with thousands of miles of trails and no less than seven GR who cross the mountains. The western and northern part is luxuriantly wooded and has a sloping character with many lovely streams and lakes. The eastern part is much rougher with greater height and barren plateaus. The views from the peaks are great. With clear weather are visible the Black Forest, the Jurassic and beyond even the white Alps. The most prominent forest and mountain people of this region are red deer, foxes and gems.
In 1989, the Parc Naturel regional des Ballons des Vosges established that the nature and culture on an area of about 3000 km2 must be protected. The park Les Ballons as residents call it, is the second largest regional park of France.
Known local produce are the Munster-Géromé a particularly fragrant cow's milk cheese, and the excellent white wines. The 'Cremant d'Alsace' is a local sparkling wine as a fine alternative to champagne. The local cuisine is unique in France. Between the vineyards on the lower slopes you'll find small towns with typical half-timbered houses. The area is famous for its many festivals.
The Vosges, largely in the Alsace-Lorraine region located, are now fully French. The area is a real historical melting pot and has an eventful history behind us. It is dotted with castles and villages. After the battlefields of the First World War, the area was joined by France, which with the exception of the German occupation, to this day belongs. The famous' route des cretes', a French route from the Second World War, weaves today still among the tops. After the Second World War there from Paris campaigned for the French language in this area to promote: c'est chic de parler français". The Alsatian, a German dialect, we still hear.
The region has a continental climate with fairly severe winters and warm, albeit a bit windy summers. Autumn is often pleasant, with the evening cools strong. There is considerable variability in rainfall: from the west, moist air. The eastern part of the Vosges is much drier.
Examples of GR-hiking/trail routes which cross the Vosges:
GR7: Ballon d'Alsace to Remiremont.
GR53: Wissembourg to Belfort.
GR59: Ballon d'Alsace to Besançon.
GR532: Soultz-sous-Forêts to Belfort.
GR533: Sarrebourg to Belfort.