Fermes Auberges

marcaire meal on the crests of the Vosges Mountains

“When I was a child, we used to go to the mountains every Sunday for our ritual breath of fresh air! We nearly always stopped on the way at Markstein on the Route des Crêtes, or at the highest point, Grand-Ballon. From there we would walk for hours, across the high pastures, singing as we went...”

Par : Valérie

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Chapelle Notre Dame de Lorette Crédit: Gregory Tachet


1km à pied, ça use, ça use...

Armed with our hiking map, we sang all the way to the top (well we had to motivate ourselves somehow!). And we were rewarded when we spotted among the grazing Vosges cows, the “farmhouse inn” I’d been looking forward to!


So what shall we have to eat? Without hesitation, the “marcaire” speciality! With meat pie, “roïgabrageldis” (steamed potatoes) and smoked meat, house charcuterie, munster cheese and blueberry tart... there’s something for every taste and appetite. Mmmm, that smell from the kitchen and the warm friendly atmosphere that makes you feel at home!


The farmhouse inn tradition dates back to the 19th century, when many of the farmers would drive their herds from the valley up to the alpine pastures. This tradition, known as transhumance, is still in practice today. The herds were watched over by a “marcaire” (or “malker”, the Alsatian word for a person who milks cows) whose cabin was called a “marcairie”

  • Carte postale ancienne - Collection Michel Ruh
    Carte postale ancienne - Collection Michel Ruh
  • Ferme auberge Kahlenwasen Collection : Michel Ruh
  •  Ferme du Gustiberg Collection : Michel Ruh
    Ferme du Gustiberg Collection : Michel Ruh
  •  Ferme de la Rolle Collection : Michel Ruh
    Ferme de la Rolle Collection : Michel Ruh


Many years later, the “marcaires” were joined by their families who left the valley to spend the summer in the high pastures. Because their farming income was insufficient, every farm opened an inn. So the “former marcairies” became farmhouse inns, much to the delight of hikers!

“From Guebwiller, it’s just a half-hour drive to reach a farmhouse inn in the mountains. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can get there via the Club Vosgien footpaths. During the summer season, the ridge-road shuttle bus serves a number of farmhouse inns along the Route des Crêtes.”

Portrait de Valérie


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Valérie grew up in a family whose traditions are 100% Alsatian, with a troubadour father and a mother who has a passion for good food! She takes pleasure in sharing her favourite tips to make your stay as authentic as possible. I'm originally from the Potassic Basin and my family were very attached to the traditions of Alsace. We enjoy big get-togethers with family or friends in a festive atmosphere accompanied by music, good food and Alsace wine. I’ll be delighted to give you my advice and handy tips to ensure you go away with a host of happy memories! “Because Alsace is a great place to live”, bis bol! (Alsatian for “see you soon”)

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