They shelter a great variety of fauna and flora as they connect sedimentary and crystalline volcano rock. These “Terres Plurielles” (plural lands), hailing from both the Vosges and Franche-Comté regions, attracted diverse people who sought work in the local mines, spinning or weaving mills as early as the Middle Ages. These lands are today at the crossroads of three regions and four departments, culminated by the Ballon d’Alsace at the far southern edge of the Vosges Mountains.

The Ballon d’Alsace: in clear weather, a magnificent landscape unfolds from its 1,248 metre peak, stretching to the Alps’ snow-capped border. Ballon d’Alsace history is linked to that of the shepherds who exploited its mountains in the late Middle Ages. In 1763 a road was built between Lepuix-Gy and Saint-Maurice, thus increasing the flow of visitors. Inns were added to farms. After 1870 many tourists came to see the annexed Alsace. Hotels and shelters multiply, open throughout the year. Today the visitor count is estimated at 800,000 per year.

The Ballon de Servance: the Ballon de Servance dominates the Haute-Saône region at an altitude of 1,216 m, farthest south among the Ballons des Vosges. Its summit features a radar. Wooded, round, with gentle slopes, it looks to the East at the Ballon d’Alsace (1,247 m) separated from it by the Col du Stalon (958 m), and to the West, it overlooks the Ognon Valley. The Ballon de Servance and the Ballon d’Alsace are the undisputed Comtoises-Vosges giants. The Ballon de Servance Massif is very wide, comprising 4 crest lines, one of which stands as a natural and historical border with the Lorraine region. On the Eastern side track, a magnificent viewpoint on the Planche-des-Belles-Filles, unmistakable with its three humps, the Ballon d’Alsace, and in clear weather the Swiss Alps. At the Col du Luthier (near the shelter), admire the beautiful Moselle Valley before joining the Ballon d’Alsace along the GR5.