Around Épinal, the forest of the Vosges hides a rich variety of deciduous and resinous trees. Big old oaks, ash trees and graceful and slender beech trees grow side by side with the traditional spruces and local fir trees. There are also impressive Douglas-fir trees which are over 40 meters high and which tops evoke Mediterranean landscapes. The paths leading to this great forest are numerous and varied: from wide to narrow, with mysterious trails which bypass valleys and sandstone rocks to arrive at fragrant pinewood.
The site with the remains of the castle, which has overlooked the city since the Middle Ages, offers a historical panorama of Épinal you cannot miss. Take this opportunity to walk across the Parc du Chateau which shelters many emblematic animals of the area or walk along the woods on the side trails. This short though healthy walk will charm you and along the way, you will be shown several exits to access the city centre. One of them will guide you to an old wash house, another to the “Plomberie”, a contemporary art site, and another to an area close to the Place des Vosges.
Further south of Épinal, walk along the water supply channel of the Bouzey Lake and take a section of the old railway line which used to serve the city. This path allows you to walk through splendid forests which house stunning rocks called the Roches d’Olima. They stand at nearly 20 metres high, on a surface of 40 square metres, and are made of plum-pudding stones. Carefully climb on the top of the Roches d’Olima to admire the panorama which changes colour with the seasons. You will discover the remains of a powder warehouse which dates back to the war of 1870 right next to the rocks.
L’étang de la Comtesse (The Countess Pond) is a beautiful and soothing place hidden east of the Bouzey Lake. It was specially adapted to learn about the fauna and flora in wetlands.
In the spring, if you are patient enough and really discreet, you may get the opportunity to see the green and black frogs contemplating the flight of dragonflies or to see all the plants endemic to the ponds and peatlands, including insectivorous plants like the famous sundews. The pond has been protected by the botanical conservatory, Conservatoire des Sites Lorrains, since 1989. Its water level is carefully controlled so that the vegetation develops in a sustainable way. The fragile balance between water and earth is thus preserved, allowing a great diversity of animals and plant species to live there. A long and beautiful wooden path winds its way over the ground, allowing you to admire some perennial plants locally called "linaigrettes" and all the mysteries that nature usually conceals to people who are in a hurry...
Imagine mysterious clearings, magical undergrowth and romantic water spots: the landscapes of our preserved and unsung land promise you great escapes! Our team is ready to advise you on the ideal itinerary, adapting it to your fancy of the moment.