5 smooth trips in the Southern Vosges: weekend ideas from Franche-Comté

5 smooth journeys in the Southern Vosges

Shallot routes © Teddy Verneuil

In partnership with the Southern Vosges

O car trips are not just made on asphalt, in the car or in the van. HAS bicycleat the footat the horse or to water runHere are five ways to South Vosges responsibly and sustainably, as close to nature as possible, smooth roaming mode. five rides do in family or between friendsthat would be athlete, Epicurean or in love with nature

Cycling roaming: set off on FrancoVéloSuisse

Cycling roaming: set off on FrancoVéloSuisse

© Nicolas Gascard

From Belfort (where you will obviously not fail to greet the monumental lion signed Bartholdi, placed at the foot of the citadel), this bike tour takes you to another fortification, the solid medieval castle of Porrentruy, a small town in the Swiss canton of Jura with a medieval also marked.

This attractive cross-border route links the two cities without any real difficulty: very undulating, the 80km round trip can easily be done in a day for the more athletic. But if you’re not used to stepping on the pedals a lot, opt for a one-way ticket, with a train back from Switzerland.

From Belfort, we first let ourselves slide along the Savoureuse, the river of the Vosges de Belfort with a name that makes our mouth water. Then a (somewhat technical) passage through the forest leads to Bourogne and the Rhône-Rhine canal (where we find the famous EuroVelo 6 which, if you like, next time even offers Besançon some of its most beautiful landscapes). We then followed another river, the Allaine, to reach the first foothills of the Swiss Jura. After Delle (and a hill you still have to climb a bit), a simple marker marks the border. While we’re on the subject, remember to pack your passport or ID card in your bags.

As far as Buix, the landscape is very rural, before the Allaine valley (always it) widens and a comfortable road takes you up a gentle slope to Porrentruy.

And if you want more, in addition to the EuroVelo 6 (which, at the risk of repeating ourselves, we never get tired), other cycling routes cross the Territoire de Belfort: to the north, connecting to the natural site of Malsaucy, high place of the Eurockéennes , south along the Jura road towards Courgenay, still in neighboring Switzerland.

The Sporting Vosges: from the Ballon d’Alsace to La Planche des Belles Filles

The Sporting Vosges: from the Ballon d'Alsace to La Planche des Belles Filles

© Nicolas Gascard

There are endless ways to discover the famous Ballon d’Alsace. Including an amazing bivouac hike when, after learning all about the surrounding nature in the company of a mountain guide, we spent a night in hammocks in the forest.

The summit (well, the pass, since we talk like that around here…) of the Ballon d’Alsace can also be reached by bike. Well, let’s warn you, thighs and calves might remember this: the Ballon was the first mountain stage in the Tour de France program in 1905, since it climbed no less than 25 times, with four lap submissions won, among others, by Eddy Merckx in 1969 and Bernard Thévenet in 1972.

Since we’re talking about the most popular of French sporting competitions, Belfort was recently labeled the “City of Tour de France Cycling” for its work around the Little Queen. And to stay with the Tour de France chapter, another emblematic site of the Southern Vosges has been, for several years now, a must for runners of the Grande Boucle: the Planche des Belles Filles which, this year 2022, will experience no less than two stages. : July 8 for the men’s section; and on the 31st of July, the girls will finish at the Planche des Belles… Girls at the end of a 100% Vosges du Sud stage with a start at Lure and an – inevitable – passage through the Ballon d’Alsace.

But the Southern Vosges are full of other, much quieter cycling routes, like the greenway that takes you from the Lure (where you can take the trouble to discover the street art that adorns the facades) towards the valley. from Ognon.

As a family, circuits with horse, donkey, goat…

As a family, circuits with horse, donkey, goat…

© Etienne KOPP

Want to share your walk with a friendly animal? The Southern Vosges are there!

In Étueffont, the Forge farm offers donkey treks. The Ballon d’Alsace invites you on a dog walk. If you don’t know, it’s a ride, but towed by a dog… with a harness for everyone, human or dog.

In Héricourt, the “circuit of the ranches” allows you to discover the creation of the Domaine du Cerf: with a name like that, you can imagine the type of animals that grow in the enclosures (and, if after the tour, the area has seduced you, there are rooms here , open all year).

In Fontenois-la-Ville, you hitch a solid Comtois horse to a habitable trailer to start a marked circuit. Even more unusual, in Servance, the goat farm Bois Pâturés invites you to discover some of the most beautiful landscapes of the South Vosges (the Doue waterfall, for example) with Rando’chèvres!

Discover the heritage and know-how of the Southern Vosges on the Route des Chalots

Discover the heritage and know-how of the Southern Vosges on the Route des Chalots

© Les Chavannes in Fougerolles

The shallots, quesaco? First, here we pronounce chello and it is a small building typical of the Southern Vosges: an attic built far from a farm (in case of fire) to keep agricultural products as family documents. Buildings that we also found by chance during our travels, from the Swiss Valais to Spanish Asturias.

But never in such large numbers… Because along 120 km (then by car, by bicycle, even on horseback) around 320 chalots can be discovered between the Haute-Saône and Vosges departments.

This Chalots route also allows you to find superb nature (from the animal park of Saint-Valbert to the peat bog of Plainfaing), an equally remarkable heritage (where you will follow the footsteps of the sandstone of the old quarry – called lavière – from das Forjas to the church of Raddon -et-Chapendu) and stock up on good local produce between farms, restaurants and the must-see distilleries of Fougerolles, the cherry capital.

Travel along the water, from 1,000 lagoons to Malsaucy

Travel along the water, from 1,000 lagoons to Malsaucy

© Nicolas Gascard

What water, what water (to plagiarize Mac Mahon) in the Southern Vosges! First there are those of the fabulous plateau of 1,000 lagoons that we will discover, for example, during a guided walk on an electrically assisted bicycle, another tour that takes you to the most secret corners of this truly special place. of the Maison de la Nature des Vosges Saônoises.

Then there’s the hot springs of Luxeuil (les Bains!), where you can indulge in a wellness cure at a spa with decor that transports you back to the 1930s. La Salina in Lure or on the shores of Lake Malsaucy (whose environmental center offers the opportunity to discover the most natural places).

And for the inveterate aquaphiles, it’s possible to spend a night in a sumptuous water hut in Joncherey and even pack the only mineral water in the Southern Vosges, bottled in Velleminfroy.

To know more

To know more

– Discover FrancovéloSuisse
– On Chalot Road
– Weekend idea in the Southern Vosges

Text : In partnership with the Southern Vosges

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