Stage 4 : A surprising discovery journey

Stage 4 : A surprising discovery journey.

CENTRAL ROUTE

Stage 4/24 - 306 kms


0 km Beaune

108 kms Besançon

144 kms Gérardmer

54 Kms Colmar

carte Beaune a Colmar

Your discovery journey beginning in Beaune : a town that confirms its entire authenticity 

Beaune is both the Capital of Burgundy Wines and a city of art. Within its ramparts, the charming town of Beaune reveals its historical dwellings, half-timbered houses of the Middle Ages, flowery squares and gardens. Your discovery journey in Beaune, a town where it is a real pleasure to stroll around. It presents an exceptional heritage and invites you to discover its monuments and museums. Don’t miss the Notre-Dame Collegiate Basilica, the Wine Museum and lastly the Hôtel-Dieu, that bears witness to this town’s rich cultural past. This town’s cobblestone streets are a treasure that every visitor must walk along. Since the Middle-Ages Beaune has been deeply involved in wine culture and trade, and became the centre of international wine trade in the 18th century. If you are planning to visit this town, make it a must to go through the shopping streets and taste the region’s best wines.

Besançon : a city which is well worth discovering

Besançon - France

Besançon - France © pictarena - Fotolia.com

Besançon is the capital and principal city of the Franche-Comté region in eastern France. Located near the Swiss border, it is the capital of the department of Doubs. The city boasts one of the most beautiful historic centres in France. In a broad horseshoe shape, the Doubs River, “la Boucle (the loop)” surrounds the old town. The historic centre features a remarkable ensemble of classic stone building, including some dating back to the Middle Ages and others to the Spanish Renaissance. It is well worth discovering.

French Monarchy : The Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans

Completed in 1779, the royal salt works of Arc-et-Senans was funded by the French monarchy with the objective to normalise the production of salt which was often used to preserve meat and fish. King Louis XV was called both radical and visionary. Reflecting the ideals of Enlightenment, he announced the coming of the industrial and French Revolution. Today the compound is a scrupulously restored UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also boasts the only museum dedicated to Ledoux, whose work has inspired generations of influential architects.

"Notre Dame de Lure" (Our Lady of Lure), mountain of Lure

In the early 6th century, a priest from Orleans, France, called Donat, in search of solitude, made his way into the Alps. The mountain of Lure seemed to be the kind of place he was looking for and with the Bishop of Sisteron’s approval, he settled there. On the side of the mountain, he built an oratory for which he himself made the statue of Our Lady, carving it from natural stones. After his death, he was replaced by the Benedictines of Val-Benoit. A chapel was built to replace the oratory which proved too small to host the numerous pilgrims. When the Saracens invaded Provence the monks had to flee after hiding the statue. The barbarians devastated the country several times and the sanctuary was destroyed.

Gérardmer : lakes, activities, natural sites, a great place to see

GERARDMER - France

GERARDMER - France © bofotolux - Fotolia.com

Gérardmer is a small town in the Vosges region, amidst mountains. Beautiful lakes and forests surround this commune, known for its inhabitants’ charm. Gérardmer was developed a ski area during the 1950s. Plan to spend your winter holidays in this town. In addition to skiing, many other activities are offered to you. You will find a bowling alley, a casino, a skating rink, a swimming pool, a squash court and a covered tennis court. You can also try your hand at paragliding, hang gliding, rock climbing, horse-drawn sleigh, ice karting and many more. The nearness of the Alsace region and Germany is very interesting for excursions. There are also natural sites to visit such as lakes and waterfalls.

Discovering Colmar : mix of foreign investors and history

Colmar - France

Colmar - France
© Clemens SchüBler - Fotolia.com

Colmar is the third-largest commune of the Alsace region in north-eastern France. The town is located along the Alsatian Wine Route and is considered to be the “capital of Alsatian wines”. Many fountains in Colmar, old churches and houses of the Alsatian Renaissance have made of Colmar a tourism centre. The Unterlinden Museum, a former convent, houses the 16th century Isenheim, a masterpiece of the religious German painter Matthias Grünewald. The house of the sculptor of New York City’s Statue of Liberty, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, currently serves. Colmar is also a wine trading centre, namely regarding the industrial port area on the Rhine at Neuf-Brisach. Industrialisation, to a large extent by foreign investors, is relatively recent and includes precision engineering as well as the manufacture of synthetic fibres and electronic machines.

"The Ballons des Vosges" Natural Park

The lower mountains of Vosges

The lower mountains of Vosges
© Naj - Fotolia.com

The Ballons des Vosges Natural Park  is a protected area made up of woodland, pasture, wetlands, farmland and historical sites in Alsace. The area was officially designated as a regional natural park in 1989. No less than 187 communes belonging to the departments of Haut-Rhin, Vosges, Haute-Saône and Territoire de Belfort are included in the park.  It is one of the largest and most populated French regional parks. As a reminder, this park is home to many wild animals such as the boreal owl, lynx, peregrine falcon, capercaillie, cranberry, sundew and many others.

"Notre-Dame des Trois Épis" (Our Lady of the Three Wheat Ears) : quiet sanctuary

The Notre-Dame des Trois Épis sanctuary is the unique place of Marian apparition.   This shrine is one of the most ancient ones recognised by the church. This place is accessible whether you are tourist, pilgrim or member of a charitable organisation. The setting of this sanctuary are relaxing and welcoming and is open to you every day. Anecdotally, just for the record, the Virgin Mary, holding in her right hand three ears of wheat on only one stalk and in the left hand a piece of ice, would have appeared in front of a blacksmith named Thierry Schere. The Virgin Mary announced that “Everyone should do penance immediately, otherwise the harvest/crop will be lost. Announce it to the clergymen, priests and the people”.

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