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Water buffalo at sunrise, by water in meadows by the Blies river
Beeder Biotope: particularly lovely at sunrise ©Günter Maier

Bliesgau Biosphere Reserve – land of orchids and savoir-vivre

In the south-eastern corner of the Saarland directly on the border with France, the Bliesgau region offers a winning combination of orchid meadows, beech forests and wetlands.

The Bliesgau is the westernmost biosphere reserve in Germany – a landscape of gently rolling hills covered with a patchwork of orchards, beech forests, orchid-rich meadows and pasture. A sanctuary for a wide range of rare plants and animals, the area provides a habitat for species such as the little owl, red kite, lizard orchid and rhinanthus, and a protective environment in which they can flourish. Nearly half of the orchid varieties in Germany grow on these chalky grasslands, while evidence of beaver activity can be seen in the wild and romantic Bliesaue meadows. An ancient settlement site, the Bliesgau also contains the remains of Roman and Celtic villages. In the south, the beauty of the countryside is enhanced by the town of St. Ingbert with its industrial heritage and range of cultural activities. And the sights of the border region are well served by many top-rated trails and themed cycleways. Two routes that were once used by the St. James pilgrims today offer walkers a good overview of the area, while trail riders will find plenty of stopovers catering to both horse and rider. And, in addition to its multifaceted landscape, the Bliesgau region is also an excellent place for lovers of fine food and drink.

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