2022: Walking Week Saint-Dié-des-Vosges

vog Argental bei Auberge Johe 170After the forced break caused by Corona, a walking week was organized by the Strasbourg association in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges for the first time ,from 11th to 17th September 2022.

24 participants from Germany, France and Switzerland arrived in the afternoon on Sunday 11th September in the CAP France holiday village LA BOLLE, a few kilometres away from Saint-Dié-des Vosges, after a private journey.

We were accommodated in wooden houses that were equipped with a spacious bedroom/living room, bathroom, separate toilet and a covered terrace. The meeting was officially opened in an information round in the evening, led by Patrick Burckhardt who explained the planned programme. After dinner, the participants sat together for quite a while in a convivial atmosphere.
The Strasbourg association had engaged professional German-French speaking walking guides who were very flexible to the respective situations with regard to the weather and the needs of the participants and also made changes when necessary.

vog Wandergruppe 300 During the week, both half-day and full-day walks were completed, with a half-day walk being about 7-8 kms, and a full-day walk being about 15-16 kms long. At the end of the week, if you had taken part in all the walks, you would have walked about 60 kms through the Vosges.

The walking week began on Monday with two half-day walks, the morning tour starting directly from the holiday village and leading back to the holiday village via paths and trails of the Madeleine massif and through the forests around Saint-Dié. The Madeleine massif, with its predominant red sandstone, is one of the 3 mountains surrounding Saint Dié, the others being the Kemberg and the Ormont massifs.
vog Camp celtique de la Bure 300In the afternoon, car pools were formed to get to the starting point of the afternoon walk; to the Celtic settlement Camp celtique de la Bure. After arriving at the starting point, 3 walking groups were formed, whereby one group had to cope with more altitude difference than the other two. The Celtic camp of La Bure is a fortified Celtic settlement site at the western end of the Ormont massif; it was discovered through archaeological vog Parcou Celtic 300investigations between 1964 and 1986. It has been listed as a historical monument since April 1993. On the walk to Camp Celtique, where a longer break was taken, at several points there were beautiful views of the Meurthe valley.

The first day ended with a joint dinner with the board of the Strasbourg association, at which all participants of the walking week were personally welcomed by Carmen Campion, the President of the Strasbourg section.

vog ParagleiterStartplatz 300On Tuesday, a full-day walk started directly from the holiday village La Bolle and again led through the Madeleine Massif. The walk led to various viewpoints. You had a particularly beautiful view of Saint Dié and the surrounding area from the hang-glider launch pad.

Due to the weather forecast, the Wednesday programme was changed and the walk around the village of Pierre Percée, which was actually planned for the afternoon, took place in the morning. The walkers reached the starting point of the walk by carpooling. The walk which led from the lake of Pierre-Percée, with an area of over 304 hectares and 60 million cubic metres, to the medieval castle in the village of Pierre Percée, which was unfortunately not accessible due to restoration work, and then back to the starting point of the walk.
The lake is the largest man-made lake in Lorraine and serves asvog Chateau Percee01 300water reservoir for the emergency cooling of the Cattenom nuclear power plant near Thionville on the Moselle. At the end of the walk shortly before reaching the starting point, heavy rain set in; this was to last for several hours.

The afternoon was then at leisure and was used individually by the different participants.
AOn Thursday, a full-day walk was scheduled in the area of the Hohneck. The starting point was again reached by car pools. The walk started in light rain and fog, so that the beauty of the landscape could unfortunately only be guessed. We were led to the Ferme Auberge "Refuge du Sotre", where a delicious lunch awaited the walkers. A special highlight of the walk were the chamois living wild on the Hohneck, and which are rarely seen. vog Gemse im Nebel 300sehen sind.

During the stay at the Ferme Auberge the rain got heavier and it was decided to extend the break. After waiting for some time in vain for a break in the rain, it was decided to take the quickest route back to the starting point of the walk and end the walk earlier.
Arriving at the holiday village, the rain stopped!
vog WKI Stellung 300

On Friday, the walk started near the Col du Bonhomme and led along the GR 5, one of the most beautiful walking trails in France, between Alsace and Lorraine in a large arc back to the starting point. Unfortunately, the weather conditions were not ideal that day either - it rained again and again - so the walk was shortened. On the walk, the boundary stones of the former border between Germany and France, as well as German and French military positions from the First World War could be seen several times. Before returning to the holiday village, a final visit was made to the Ferme Auberge La Graine Johe, from where there is a wonderful view of the Argen valley.

The walking week was an all-round success, excellently organized by the Strasbourg association and excellently led by Patrick Burckhardt on site. At the final meeting, everyone had the opinion that such a walking week should once again take place next year in Alsace or another walking region in France.
On Saturday morning after breakfast it was time to say goodbye and start the journey home with a lot of new experiences and the hope for a renewal of this wonderful experience.

Harald Weber
association of Darmstadt