With its fir forests and snow-covered resorts, the Grand Est in winter looks like Scandinavia. To play on this resemblance, a selection of Zen activities to relax in the Nordic style.
Head east! The Vosges massif, which extends over two regions, Grand Est and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, reveals gently sloping reliefs and beautiful coniferous forests for lovers of preserved spaces. Its parks, the Regional Natural Park of Ballons des Vosges and that of the Vosges du Nord, classified as a World Biosphere Reserve by Unesco, are a pretext for discovering sylvotherapy. Some 23 guides will guide you among the large trees in search of softness, in order to take an invigorating “forest bath”.
To continue the walk, know that the Vosges mountains also have 20,000 km of trails marked out by the Club Vosgien. This is the case with the famous Traversée du Massif des Vosges, which travels – from Wissembourg in the north to Belfort in the south – over more than 400 km. A route to be done in small sections in winter (for the more adventurous) or in full, in fine weather. The highest point of the route: the Grand Ballon or Ballon de Guebwiller, 1,424 meters above sea level, and from which you can see the reliefs of the Swiss Alps in clear weather.
Snow destination par excellence, this territory also lists 26 resorts such as Gérardmer or La Bresse-Hohneck. Downhill skiing enthusiasts live together with cross-country and Nordic skiing enthusiasts on the wooded heights. An environment conducive to letting go and practicing activities that evoke Scandinavia …
A forest bath off the beaten track
Albane knows the beech, fir and spruce forests like the back of his hand. During her 2-3 hour walks, which are never the same, she takes small groups away from the hustle and bustle of the city. By his side, we learn to identify the species, to observe their bark, their roots and to take full advantage of the silence that reigns in the living world of the forest. “To defend themselves against pests, trees secrete phytoncides, substances that lower stress and heart rate and strengthen immunity”, assures the guide. Total disconnection on the course sometimes strewn with branches to be stepped over, and which forces you to concentrate on each of your steps. In the heart of winter, instead, put on a pair of snowshoes to navigate the snowy trails. Soothing outings in the great outdoors!
Until November for the “forest baths” (25 €), then snowshoe outings all winter (20 € per day). outputsderoutes.fr, tel. : 06 70 48 20 68.
A Nordic spa surrounded by nature
To access the Domaine du Hirtz, you have to take a path in the middle of the forest that heads towards the mountain. It is not uncommon to come across hinds and wild boars … Originally, the locality of Hirtzenstein was a natural deer reserve. It now houses a hotel with its lodges, restaurant and 3,300 m² spa village inspired by the Nordic countries. Here we experience thermo-relaxation which consists of alternating 15 minutes of hot (in sauna or hammam for sweating), 1 minute of ice bath to boost blood circulation and 20 minutes of rest. Ice cave, floatation beds, outdoor whirlpools, swimming pool, swim spa participate in the stroll. A parenthesis to combine with a treatment and a meal.
Day spa: € 85 (with lunch, excluding drinks), € 75 for hotel guests. Domaine du Hirtz, locality of Hirtzenstein 68700 Wattwiller. Phone. : 03 89 81 00 00. Open according to health conditions.
A game of tracks to discover the massif
Sylvie Triboulot is a Nordic ski instructor, cross-country ski instructor and mountain guide. She organizes parts of the Learn-O nomadic orienteering game in the great outdoors. Using a game map and markers, participants, through the riddles, discover the wonders of the Vosges mountains. “A lake, a peat bog, a panorama … Learn-O is an invitation to visit the Hautes Vosges!”, she explains. In winter, we switch to cross-country skiing mode. “I accentuate the difficulty of positioning the beacons to help the players progress, work on the descent or even the snow plow”, details the professional. A game enriched with individualized support to improve your cross-country skiing practice. Note: Sylvie also organizes Nordic skiing excursions.
Learn-O: € 30 / adult (€ 25 for children under 12), € 95 for a family of 4. sens-a-sons-nature.com, tel. : 06 06 41 86 49 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
A day and a night in the trees
Frédéric Collin is an arborist-climber. It organizes acrobatic immersions in the forest, lasting from 24 hours to 5 days. In small groups (8 people maximum), participants try their hand at tree climbing during workshops. At nightfall, a vigil punctuated by storytelling begins in the privacy of the woods. The apprentice climbers then reach their platforms perched in the trees, ephemeral installations topped with tents, which have been set up for them for the night. For those who feel the need to disconnect from their screens and get out of their comfort zone. Activity preferable in fine weather, from April to early October, but possible in any season.
Evening meal included, picnic on request. From 150 to 250 €. equilibre-access.com
Parenthesis in a cabin
10 minutes from Le Champ du feu resort, between the Vosges and the Alsace plain, 14 chestnut wood huts (the Norwegian mountain cabin) are spread over a beautiful clearing. Welcome to 48 ° Nord Landscape Hotel. Designed like small perches in nature, these huts with a clean design can accommodate 2 to 4 people with all modern comforts. Some of them have private saunas and Jacuzzis, and are planted on a Natura 2000 site at an altitude of 500 meters.
In the restaurant, the cuisine is raw and draws its inspiration from local producers (all located within 150 km). Lots of walks and outdoor activities nearby (dog sledding, mountain biking, hiking with a guide). Practical: under current conditions, meals are delivered to the huts. Possibility to also order a picnic!
48 ° North. From 150 € per night. Meal: 25 € / person in the room. From € 36 at the restaurant. 1048, route du Mont Sainte-Odile 67220 Breitenbach. Phone. : 03 67 50 00 05, email@example.com