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Vosges France
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The Vosges mountains are divided into the northern and southern Vosges, and the continental divide runs through them, whereby rain falling on the mountains either runs to the North Sea (from the eastern slopes, via the Rhine) or to the Mediterranean (from the western slopes, via the Rhone).

The northern Vosges are less touristy than the south, and they are lower, with fewer picturesque villages or vineyards, but this works in their favour as well because it means they are less crowded. Most of the area comes under the jurisdiction of the Parc Régional des Vosges du Nord. The two most important towns are Saverne and Wissembourg, both made of red sandstone and linked to Strasbourg by rail. There are other trainlines from Hagenau to Bitche, and Strasbourg to Sarrenguemines and buses in the Hagenau area, but really it is better to have your own transport as both are fairly erratic. Bikes for the energetic and cars for the rest of us! Of the two towns, Wissembourg on the German border is the prettiest, but Saverne is ideally placed for getting into the mountains.

The southern Vosges are much more popular with tourists, due in part to the Route du Vin which meanders through some lovely and well kept medieval villages. Places like ColmarColmar can be overrun with tourists in peak season though. Higher up the mountains is the Route des Cretes (crests) which runs near to the highest peaks and is often inaccessible due to snow. It goes past more WWI sites than vineyards, and more ballons (the highest peaks are so called because they are round and bald) than villages but the view from the top is utterly breathtaking. The highest peak is the Grand Ballon standing at 1424m and it has amazing views right out to the Alps on a clear day, and the Schwartzwald (Black Forest), Rhine, Jura and Alsace plain nearer to hand. There are hotels and restaurants dotted throughout the mountains, particularly near the skiing stations, such as the Hotel Wolf (03 89 82 64 36) on the D430 near Guebuiller.