The Ballons des Vosges Regional Natural Park.

© Christian Decout/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Parc Naturel Régional des Ballons des Vosges


Head away from the crowds and into the serene Parc Naturel Régional des Ballons des Vosges, 3000 sq km of pristine greenery in the western Vosges. In summer, hang-gliders take to the skies, cyclists roll through pristine countryside and walkers can pick from 10,000km of marked paths, including GRs (grandes randonnées; long-distance hiking trails) like the GR5, linking the North Sea to the Mediterranean. When the snow settles, three dozen inexpensive skiing areas offer modest downhill and superb cross-country skiing.

The website offers the inside scoop on activities in the park and details on local tourist offices.

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