The Southern Vosges Mountains’ remarkable natural and cultural heritage is a wealth of emblematic landscapes that attract many visitors and earn it the Regional Natural Park status. Touring the Ballons des Vosges Regional Natural Park means discovering this heritage and meeting the men and women who keep it alive.

The Great Wooded Crest forms the Hautes-Vosges.

Along with Alsatian, Lorraine and Franche-Comté valleys, it motivated the creation of the Ballon des Vosges Regional Natural Park in 1989. The “Plateau des Mille Etangs” (Thousand Ponds Plateau), located in Franche-Comté, represents its second great natural wealth. The mountains host rare natural environments, such as high stubble, peatlands, beech wood plantations, oaks and beech hill forests, calcareous grasslands, watercourses, lakes and ponds. These highly diversified environments shelter our Mountain’s emblematic fauna and flora: Tengmalm Owl, Lynx, Peregrine Falcon, “Oeillet Superbe” (carnation), cranberry, drosera, arnica… the high rounded summits – called “Ballons” – stand in the way of oceanic perturbations. Winters are cold and summers cool. Rains are substantial on the crests with sometimes over 2 meters of water per year. These conditions favour forest development, spanning across two thirds of the Park territory. Below, meadows and orchards, the vineyard and its calcareous grasslands circle or crisscross the forest. Traces of an ancient human presence are maintained through museums and interpretation structures – indeed, these landscapes were shaped by the hand of Man.