After driving at slow speeds across vast swathes of France's empty regions and stopping off in Nancy for quiche lorraine and a squizz at the Place Stan, we arrived at our destination in the southern Vosges. Despite having lived in Nancy for 3 years, I had never been further into the mountains than I could rollerblade along the voie verte from Remiremont (i.e. a long way on rollerblades but not very far in travel terms!) and I was excited about seeing this famous region that had been on my doorstep for so long but that I had never really discovered.
For the most part, the Vosges look like gentle, rolling hills, especially compared to the glimpses of the Alps that you occasionally catch from the summits, but there are a few steep climbs and dizzying drops that remind you that you are at an altitude of well over 1000 metres on mountains formed by volcanic activity and sculpted by glaciation. We were extremely impressed by the number of cyclists we overtook in the car, pedalling their way up steep and winding roads and never seeming to have to get off and push!
The Vosges straddle the boundary between Lorraine and Alsace and it was entertaining to see how on the map cascade was replaced by Wasserfall on the eastern side of the border.
We also found these old border posts from the time when Alsace was part of Germany. On most of them, the D for Deutschland had been chipped away, while the F for France remained almost pristine.
It being springtime, everywhere we went was incredibly green, especially as the forest covers the mountains right up to their summits. A weekend in the Vosges really did feel like a breath of fresh air.