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The Vosges, department number 88, is located in the region of Alsace Lorraine or more correctly Lorraine and has an estimated population of 380,952 (approximate in 1999). Situated in North-Eastern France, the department is named after the Vosges mountain range and has the Moselle river flowing through it. The capital of the department is the city of Épinal.
The Vosges mountains are divided into the northern and southern Vosges with the southern Vosges actually in the department of Vosges. The influence of the continental divide running through the mountains means that the rain runs either to the North Sea carried from the eastern slopes, via the Rhine; or to the Mediterranean from the western slopes, via the Rhone.
The northern Vosges are visited by fewer tourists as they have fewer picturesque villages, making the northern area a less crowded area for those seeking tranquillity.
Why you should visit Vosges for your next holiday in France
Crossed by a number of rivers there are many activities to attract the visitor including canoeing and climbing. In the spring and summer the countryside comes alive with the flora and fauna of the region with plenty of walking to enjoy. The forests in the area house numerous interesting mushroom species and Vosges honey is renowned for its distinctive taste.
The variable terrain means there is more interest for the tourist and the climate can also be variable. The western part of the Vosges is a flatter area whereas the east has the large granite mountain of Grand Ballon which reaches 1424m.
What to see in Vosges
Épinal is on the Moselle river and is approximately 60kms south of Nancy. Being on the Moselle means that the area has much to offer in the way of water sports and is especially attractive to canoeists.
Throughout the 19th Century the Imagerie Pellerin Company, now known as the Imagerie d'Épinal, produced popular prints which were stencil-colored woodcuts of folk themes and military subjects, especially Napoleonic. The company is still in operation today producing these images using its original hand-operated. Épinal is well known for these images but also has a well known school of textile weaving.
Épinal is visited for the Épinal American Cemetery and Memorial which covers some 48.6 acres and is located above the Moselle River in the foothills of the Vosges mountains. Established in 1944 it contains the graves of 5,255 American soldiers.
The area of eastern France between Neufchateau and Vaucouleurs is known as part of the ancient and picturesque Meuse River valley. This area is visited for those who are interested in history and in discovering many places and items dating back to Roman times.
Saint-Dié-des-Vosges is located 61 km northeast of Épinal and is situated on the Meurthe river and surrounded by woods and forest in the hills.
Built largely of red sandstone, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges has a cathedral with a 12th century Romanesque nave and a Gothic choir, with the portal of red stone dating from the 18th century.
At the hôtel-de-ville will be found a theatre and library along with a museum of antiquities.
The main industries are the spinning and weaving of cotton and bleaching as well as metal-founding and the manufacture of hosiery
How to get to Vosges
Holiday accommodation in Vosges is best accessed by car or train.
The area has reasonable road connections and is served by the E23, the E512 and the D417 and D11.
Nancy is well served by the TGV service with some direct trains from there to Épinal. Other towns are served by some local trains.