Gérardmer (pronounced Gerardmai) is named after Duke Gérard d’Alsace (1048-1070). The name of the town does not refer the French word for lake ‘mer’ but from the word ‘meix’ which means meadow.
- 1285: First time that Gérardmer is mentioned in the historic archives.
Once upon a time Charles The Great (or Charlemagne) came to the Vosges to hunt wolves and deer in the forests of Gérardmer and to fish in the lake of Longemer. He is said to have taken a rest on a rock, alongside the river ‘La Vologne’; the rock still shows a print of the horseshoe of his horse. Another legend tells of the time the emperor fished in the Lake of Longemer and catching a huge pike, which he decorated with golden bells and put back into the lake. Even to this day, fishermen are still trying to catch this legendary pike.
- First Tourist Office in France
Gérardmer opened the first tourist office in France in 1875. During the 19th century, hotels and villas were constructed by rich industrials and socialites from Belgium, Paris and Nancy, on the banks of the lake. During World War II 85% of the town was destroyed. Today, Gérardmer has about 10,000 inhabitants.
- The lake
The lake of Gérardmer can be traced back to the ice age. This natural lake, the largest in the Vosges is 2.2 km long, 750 m large with a surface of 285 acres and has a maximum depth of 38 m.