We’ve had a lot of fun in the forests of the Vosges.  But not far away, there are mountains, the highest in this part of France.  Last year, we enjoyed the Grand Ballon.  That’s not a mis-typing of Balloon.  The name means “Great (round-topped) mountain”, “ballon” meaning a mountain with a round top. This year, we were in a different part of the mountain range.  The weather wasn’t the best, but we were prepared.

© janet m. webb

As we got up a bit higher, we realized that the beauty we saw this day would be of a different sort.  There was a low-lying cloud layer that changed everything.

© janet m. webb

According to Wikipedia, (translation courtesy of Google Translate):

The Machais Tourbière National Nature Reserve (RNN 94) is a national nature reserve in the Grand Est region. Created in 1988, it covers 145 hectares and protects the last and most important intact floating peatland of the Vosges massif.

© janet m. webb

We didn’t see any floating peatland, although there was enough moisture to float something, but we did find the origin of the la Moselotte, a tiny (at this point) river that is a direct tributary of the mighty Moselle.  Again, Wikipedia:

The Moselotte rises in the massif des Vosges at the fontaine de la Duchesse, near the summit of Hohneck. It flows into the Moselle at Remiremont. Its length is 47 kilometres (29 mi), while its watershed is 356 square kilometres (137 sq mi).

The Duchess was Christine of Denmark, widow of the Duke of Lorraine Francis II and regent of Lorraine, who made a stop here in July 156 to refresh herself. Believe me, the water is very refreshing!

© janet m. webb

© janet j. webb

In 1983 dam at the base of Kastelberg, the fourth highest peak here, formed lac de la Lande, supplying the La Bresse commune with energy.  Today the lake had a somewhat sullen beauty, the glow of the wildflowers dimmed.  But don’t despair!  You’ll see it under better conditions and get a surprise as well.

© janet m. webb








  1. I love the vosges… we were there for a holiday once to show our huskies real snow… they didn’t like it… but we had a good time anyway ;O)

  2. Madhu says:

    Looks beautiful even in the gloomy grey light.

  3. Dan Antion says:

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos, Janet. It’s funny, I’ve hiked to the headwaters of mighty rivers, expecting something awesome and, as you say, and as makes sense, tiny.

    • It is rather funny, Dan. When I was looking into this a bit more, I found a listing of all the tributaries that contribute all the way along to the Moselle. Not wonder it’s large!

      A wonderful book about rivers is an old one, “Paddle to the Sea”, by Holling C. Holling (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddle-to-the-Sea). It traces the journey of a wooden carving of an Indian in a canoe from the start of the river in Canada, through the Great Lakes, to the Atlantic ocean. It won the Caldecott Award and is, like Hollings other books, both beautiful and delightful.


  4. beautiful-misty and grey.

  5. Sue says:

    Ah, Grand Ballon! Years since I went there……

  6. marianallen says:

    Beautiful country, and exquisite photographs! I can almost taste that crystal water.

  7. I really like all that fog and mist at the la lac de la Lande, and the overcast day really made a wonderful diffuser really making those greens pop!

    The road up didn’t look paved, was it? Was it rough going at times?

  8. Tina Schell says:

    Lovely tour Janet – isn’t it a bummer when you work your way to the top only to have it socked in with rain and/or fog? Make for some wonderful mood shots but DARN we wanted the vista too!!

  9. joey says:

    So pretty, I think your misty day set the right mood for this viewer 🙂 Loving the tour!

  10. Su Leslie says:

    Beautiful Janet. I love the panorama.

  11. Somnath says:

    Hope its not raining there which can play a spoilsport..unlike here…

  12. Hammad Rais says:

    Looks like an amazing spot, Janet. Thanks for taking us along 🙂

  13. Great footage! Looks like a bestiful place to explore.

  14. […] via And now, to the mountains! — This, that and the other thing […]

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