Vioménil – Where the Mediterranean and the North Sea almost touch
Moselle tributarye at Pont-Saint-Vincent (near Nancy)


The Madon rises in the village of Vioménil and, after running almost straight north for 97 kilometres, flows into the Moselle at Pont-Saint-Vincent. The Romans called the village Viamansalis and used it as a transit point on the way to the Saône. The Saône also rises in this village on the plateau of the Vôge. The Ménamont (467 m) is one of the highest peaks of the Monts Faucilles. At its foot lies Vioménil, on the main European watershed. The Saône flows almost straight south and joins the Rhone in Lyon after 473 kilometres.
Part of the rain that falls in the village flows into the Mediterranean and the other part into the North Sea. A Châteauneuf-du-Pape grows on the banks of one river, a Leiwen Laurentiuslay on the banks of the other.

The Burgundische Pforte (Burgundy Gate) is a 30-kilometre-wide, flat “saddle” at an altitude of around 400 metres between the Vosges and the Jura. The Alps form the natural border between the Mediterranean region and Central Europe.


Over the main ridge, plants and animals from more southerly areas that were displaced to the Mediterranean region during the Ice Age can practically not migrate back. Clouds and wind also part company with the Alps; except in these two places: the „Burgundy Gate“ and the „Wiener Becken“ (Vienna Basin) to the east are gateways for animals, plants, rain and wind from the south.

The mild climate in southwestern Germany is determined by the flow of Mediterranean air from the Rhone Valley through the Burgundian Gate. It is only at the northern end of the Middle Rhine Valley that the climate becomes significantly cooler. “Shimmering heat above steep vineyards – a piece of the Mediterranean in the middle of Germany. Between rocks and vineyards emerald lizard, glider butterfly and Moselle Apollo – gems of nature.” (Dr. Axel Schmidt, entomologist, Upper State Conservation Authority, Koblenz, in “Ein kleines Bilder- und Lesebuch von der Mosel“ (A small picture and reading book from the Moselle), Annette Köwerich, 2003).


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