The Vosges Mountains - 47° 59' 58" N 07° 05' 53" E

In the high mountain pastures of the Vosges above the town of Munster, there is a tradition of cattle grazing and cheese making.  On these high, steep pastures, the cows would graze on the lush grass, they would be milked and the cheese immediately processed and ripened. This was done in a marcairie. The macairie comprises of two buildings. One where the milking and cheese processing was done with a space for the storage of the ripening cheese, and one smaller cottage for the farmer to live. 

While the tradition of Munster cheese continues, the old macairies are being converted into mountain weekenders.  With huge thanks to Marie-Claude and Hervé, we stayed for the weekend at their beautifully restored marcairie 'Kaltwasser', high above Munster. 

Originally for the cows to be milked and the cheese to be made, 
it is now the main building.
The cornerstone is marked "1881"

Originally where the shepherd (or cowherd) slept,
this is now a secondary guest house. 

The tiny cabins are wonderfully renovated into cosy accommodation, off the grid with solar power, a natural spring for water and no phone coverage.  It's a perfect place to relax. Access is via a narrow, winding mountain road. When this became impassable to the valiant Saxo, we hiked up the last four kilometres lugging our wine and food on our backs. 

Hiking in the last 4 km

Common room and kitchen in the main cabin

Perfect place to laze and watch the rain

Marie-Claude, Flo's Mum

Kaltwasser is a wonderful base from which to explore the hiking trails of Petit Ballon, the highest peak of the area.  We snugged up in front of the wood stove watching the rain, hiked over the spongy trails enjoying the breathtaking views and, being France, drank and ate and drank.  


The fences have little turnstiles to allow you through

Steep hiking but the views are worth the effort

Well marked trails

Spongy underfoot - like hiking on pillows!

We made it! 

Blossoms and daffodils abound

The view from the Loo!


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