Perched at the eastern end of Lac de Gerardmer, Gerardmer was nicknamed the “Pearl of the Vosges” by Victor Hugo’s brother, Abel. In the summer months, it’s a base for exploring lakeside walking trails and the Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park while in the winter, the area transforms into a ski resort.
Things to do in Gérardmer
Stretch your legs along one of the walking trails that ring the shores of Lac de Gerardmer, a glacial lake that is the largest of its kind in the Vosges mountain range. You can take a refreshing dip in the reflective waters or rent a pedal boat to explore the lake at your leisure. In the winter months, Lac de Gerardmer becomes a spectacular setting for ice skating.
If you’re visiting in the winter months, you can hit the downhill slopes of the Gérardmer – La Mauselaine Ski Resort, which offers more than 40 kilometres of trails. Its 21 runs are designed to challenge all experience levels and there’s a dedicated beginners’ skiing area. In addition to sledding hills, the resort also boasts a slalom stadium.
A short drive south-west of Gerardmer is the Cascade de Mérelle, a photogenic waterfall that can be accessed along a 15-minute hiking trail. Nearby is the Observatoire de Merelle, which offers magnificent views across Lac de Gerardmer from the top of its spiral staircase. Further south is the Col de Grosse Pierre, a 954-metre-high mountain pass that’s become a popular challenge for cyclists.
Getting around Gérardmer
Gerardmer is around 1.5 hours’ drive from both Strasbourg and EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, which has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Buses connect to Gerardmer from towns and villages across Vosges and the centre of the town is small enough to explore on foot.