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THE BLUE LINE OF THE VOSGES
It would be easy to dismiss it as a myth. And yet, the “blue line of the Vosges” does indeed exist. From the modest heights of the Ballon d’Alsace, it appears just above the smooth profiles of the mountaintops. Whenever the slightest mist forms, bluish highlights begin to blur their rounded contours, stretching as far as the eye can see. The region palette is enriched by the vivid dark green of the forests and the bright reflections of primeval lakes like Gérardmer, Longemer or Retournemer. Water is omnipresent here, from ponds to waterfalls, rivers, springs… The mineral waters of Vittel and Contrexéville flow from this peaceful, rustic terrain - the opposite of the industrial stereotype associated with the Lorraine region. Coincidentally, the French call stereotypes “images d’Épinal,” after the city on the banks of the Moselle in southern Lorraine. And stereotypes can also be charming, like the storks that come every year to nest on the chimneys of Riquewihr, the half-timbered houses lining the narrow streets of Ribeauvillé, or the mountain pansies and mirabelle plums that lend their colors to the region’s nature parks.
In the modern era, the city of Nancy is best known for the scope and splendor of its Stanislas Square, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Lunéville is home to a castle known as the “Versailles of Lorraine,” while Strasbourg manages to be at once typically Alsatian and decidedly international. The seat of the European Parliament, the city that Goethe said “puts the soul into motion” enchants the visitor with its pedestrian center, its legendary winstubs and its hearty dynamism. Colmar, on the other side of Alsace from the Grand Ried region, is the capital of the Alsatian wines beloved by Christian Dior. According to the couturier, “A small glass of Alsatian wine is like a light dress, a spring flower, the ray of sunshine that brightens life.”
Restaurant in town. Au Crocodile has rediscovered its lustre. At the heart of this historic restaurant, chef Franck Pelux honours the reputation of a gourmet institution originally recognised with three Michelin stars in 1989, when chef Emile Jung was at its helm. Backed by Cédric Moulot, chef Franck Pelux draws on the fundamentals of Alsatian cuisine to develop rich and concentrated flavours. As for the decor, his partner, Sarah Benahmed, has brought warmth and intimacy to the large salon lit by a 19th-century skylight and adorned with a large painting depicting traditional French festivities. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. L’Hostellerie des Bas Rupts is an ensemble of Swiss-style chalets in the heart of the Vosges Forest, just above Gérardmer. This welcoming hotel has been managed by the Philippe and Witdouck families for five generations and has managed to retain all its authenticity. Whatever the season, the lake and mountains offer numerous opportunities for nature pursuits. Guests who love the finer things in life and appreciate superb ingredients can go and visit the small local producers and artisans. The hotel’s owners have succeeded in creating a beautifully appointed, upscale chalet. Another major advantage is its gourmet cuisine and superb wine list. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in a park. This charming château is close to Lunéville, a town which Voltaire wrote “felt” just like Versailles. In the so-called “Little Versailles” of the Dukes of Lorraine, you can explore the Baccarat crystal works and Nancy’s famous Stanislas square, a Unesco World Heritage site. Adoménil is an 18th century building that has been beautifully restored and enhanced by subtle touches of modernity. Starred Chef Cyril Leclerc creates audacious gourmet cuisine that gives pride of place to fresh products, many of them from the surrounding Lorraine countryside. The best of both the past and present come together in the courteous service and fine cuisine at this beautiful hideaway. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. The village of Colroy-la-Roche, in the heart of an area of unspoiled valleys, is nature at its best. Here, Mireille and Nicolas have created a welcoming hotel and, since 1975, have remained faithful to the spirit of Relais & Châteaux. Come and visit their new 2,500 m² “Nature Spa” devoted to relaxation and wellness, involving nature, peacefulness and light. Mireille has been true to her surroundings and has developed with a local laboratory a range of cosmetics based on beneficial herbs and honey from the village. The cuisine at the restaurant serves top-quality ingredients from Alsace, a region truly proud of its gourmet culture. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a village. Between Alsatian vineyards and the Ballons des Vosges, the Chambard is above all a story about the Nasti Family. Since 2000 Olivier and Emmanuel, two brothers united by their taste for hospitality and sharing, have been perpetuating the rich hotel history of a property dating back to the 18th century in the village of Kaysersberg. Olivier runs the kitchen of the “64°”, whilst Emmanuel has put together a top wine list for this ambitious restaurant, where copper and silk create a baroque atmosphere. Pure and contemporary lines mark the rooms and the spa of the hotel. Their wives, Patricia and Corinne, have given this property its soul and offer guests a very warm welcome. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the country. In the heart of the forest there is a unique location, a place of unsurpassed serenity. Yes, it is a restaurant but it is also more than that; it is an experience. Our stars are in the sky; our rewards in the eyes of our guests. A new vision of hospitality–a unique, well-appointed and genuine retreat. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a village. The villa built here by René Lalique in 1920 is now a refined hotel and restaurant, a living homage to the celebrated designer, best known for his art nouveau jewelry and art deco glass. The six exclusive suites, each inspired by an original motif from Lalique’s visionary creations, recount, in the heart of the northern Vosges region, the history of an emblematic name in the annals of French crystal. In the spacious, window-lined dining room of the new gastronomic restaurant, the adventuresome and artistic Chef Jean-Georges Klein serves dishes characterized by pure flavors and appealing colors. And the cellar is spectacular: it stores some 12,000 bottles, including an extensive selection of Alsatian and Bordeaux wines. ... Learn moreless