Vosges du Nord Regional Natural Park, Bas-Rhin, Grand Est
The village of Hunspach, in Northern Alsace, is known for its 18th and 19th century timber- framed houses, which contrast with the immaculate white walls of classic Protestant precision and sobriety. Voted France’s favourite village, Hunspach is typical of the Unteremwàld forest region, made up of low hills and farmland.
© Eric Wilhelmy
At the far east of the North Vosges Regional Natural Park, Hunspach is a typical Unteremwàld forest village. At the foot of the temple’s pink bell tower, 18th and 19th-century half-timbered houses and their sandstone “broken nose” roofs offer a lovely harmony. This exceptional built heritage would not have survived without the Park’s support, which has been preserving this type of local expertise for many years. “Experiencing and living in a traditional house” is one of the great future challenges for these rural territories. In response to climate change and to ensuing energy-saving obligations, the preservation and transmission of this heritage are creating many technical and financial challenges. Sandstone, limestone, timber framing and cob are all building materials and materials which require special attention. Having mostly been built around the 18th century, they now form the landscape identity of these villages and town centres. By promoting these sometimes unique craftsman skills, the Park is developing a local economy via local