The Haut-Rhin is the southern department that forms Alsace with the Bas-Rhin department, located in the north. It accounts for 708,000 inhabitants and its biggest towns are Colmar and Mulhouse. The Haut-Rhin is crossed by the Rhin River and forms a border with Germany and Switzerland. Its highest point is the Grand Ballon in the Vosges Mountains with a height of 1,424m.
Haut-Rhin has many touristy assets. The Vosges massif offers pleasant promenades or much more sportive activities (climbing, cycling, ski…). Indeed, mountain biking, horse riding or paragliding are the kind of activities enjoyable during summer. But during the cold season, winter sports are available such as snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Not far from there in the Vosges department ( Lorraine region), two pleasant ski resorts offer the possibility to practice downhill skiing.
With only two departments, Alsace is the smallest region in France. A difference is however remarkable between them. Indeed, Haut-Rhin was €500/sq.m. cheaper than the Bas-Rhin department at the beginning of 2009. €2,000/sq.m were needed to buy a property at that time. With a national average of around €3,200/sq m, we can say that investing there is not too expensive. Furthermore, the main towns of Mulhouse and Colmar created a range of new buildings over the last decade. Thus, those looking for a recent property will possibly find what they are looking for. Generally speaking, properties are quite large with 42% of them comprising at least three bedrooms. 54% of the whole properties are detached houses.
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Scenery: with large areas of vineyards, the Haut-Rhin department provides magical sceneries to the villages set in the middle of them. The presence of the Vosges mountains also ensures a wonderful changing view as you go through the different seasons of the year.
Weather: thanks to the Vosges mountains, Alsace and especially Haut-Rhin benefit from a nice climate for a region of the north of France. Clouds are stopped on the Lorraine side by this natural barrier. Thus, on the Alsace side of the Vosges mountains, the weather is dryer and with less clouds. Actually, the driest city of France, Colmar, is situated in this department!
Activities: activities are numerous, but skiing is perhaps one of the most popular during winter. The relief offers the possibility to practice diverse winter sports and downhill skiing slopes are not very far from there. During summer, Nordic walking, hiking or climbing are popular sports. Airborne sports are also possible, in particular thanks to the mountains again. Six golf courses are also available all year long.
Cultural heritage: the cultural and historical patrimony is also quite large in the area. Indeed, medieval castles abound in the department and overlook pretty villages surrounded by vineyards. Some interesting major museums can be visited, especially in the town of Mulhouse. Several lovely villages punctuate the famous wine route and are seen as real “museum villages”. It is the case of Riquewihr, perhaps the most famous village of Alsace. Indeed, it is one of the 151 classified most beautiful villages of France. With its medieval battlements, it represents a typical Alsatian village with its charming and coloured half-timbered houses. There, Alsatian craftsmanship and gastronomy are well represented and local products can be bought. Not very far from that, the towns of Mulhouse and Colmar present lots of major museums or architectural patrimony which are definitely to be seen.
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