Alsace is the easternmost region of France. Located some 275 miles from Paris, the region is flanked on the west by the Vosges mountains and the Rhine river on the east. Alsace once was a region of Germany and became a permanent part of France during the reign of Louis XIV. Although, the region was annexed by Germany twice in modern times (1870-1918 and 1940-1945). Tourists find Alsace to be a magical place, with half-timbered houses, which feature gabled roofs, chimneys and beautiful floral arrangements. The mountain area of the upper Vosges is noted as one of the world's best hiking locations.
Chefs in Alsace created one of Europe's great original dishes: choucroute. Choucroute is fluffy sauerkraut served with sausages, smoked ham, and potatoes. Choucroute is best served with dry wine or beer. Seven wine varietals call Alsace home. Six white and one rosé: Gewurtztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, riesling, sylvaner and Tokay Pinot Gris. The Alsace wine route winds its way for 75 miles along the eastern edge of the Vosges mountains. Visit the website of the tourist office of Alsace for more information.
In Alsace and so European
Strasbourg's rich architectural heritage, tradition of hospitality, and rich museums make it a city to discover.
Strasbourg, the known as the 7th city of France and prefecture of the Low Rhine, is the intellectual and economic capital of the region of Alsace. Its privileged geographical situation as a center of international communications and its position of Latin sentinel by the Rhine as well as its rich history, ensure its exceptional importance.
When visiting Strasbourg be sure to get a city pass from the tourist office. You'll save a lot of money on local attractions and museums.
The office is located at:
Office de Tourisme de
Strasbourg et sa Région
17, Place de la Cathédrale
67082 Strasbourg Cedex
Strasbourg Tourism Website
Strasbourg - Places to See
- Musee d"art Moderne et Contemporain - Modern Art Museum
- Place de la Republique and its historic buildings built during the German pariod (1871-1918)
- The cities half-timbered houses and canals
- Palais Rohan
- Orangerie Park
Lorraine,has been a major crossroad of Europe for centuries, an idyllic setting for holidays, with charming small towns and villages throughout the region.
The blue-hued Vosges mountains rise in the distance over the green fields and vast countryside of Lorraine.
The well-known spas and health resorts of Vittel and its Club Mediterranee, Bains-Les-Bains, Contrexeville, Amneville, and Plombieres, are located in Lorraine. There are many lakes, varying from the deep glacier lakes of the upper Vosges to the shallow water pools of the Sarrebourg and the Saulnois departments. For bird watchers, the Lindre is a unique bird sanctuary on one of the major migration routes for many species of aquatic birds.
Sailing, windsurfing and motor boats are all welcome in Lorraine. With 700 kms of navigable waterways, including the Marne-Rhine Canal and the Moselle, enthusiasts come from all over the world to enjoy cruising from lock to lock.
Metz is a good base for exploring the region of Lorraine. The city of Nancy (pictured above) is also a charming and enchanting place in the Lorraine region.
Nancy is the capital city of the Lorraine region of France, an area traded back and forth between Germany and France many times over the centuries. Thanks to the new high-speed TGV train, it is exactly half way between Paris and Strasbourg, a one and half hour ride by rail. The city itself has a little over 100,000 people, with about 400,000 in the surrounding areas. It was once known as an art center that rivaled Paris, thanks to a strong Art Nouveau movement there. The Musee de L’Ecole de Nancy commemorates this history.
Nancy is famed for a UNESCO World Heritage site: the Place Stanislas, built by an exiled Polish Duke in the mid 18th century. By night, the Place is beautifully illuminated. It is a wonderful place to stroll after a delicious French meal. In October, Nancy hosts a Jazz Festival, with inexpensive tickets and much street fare. The old town area is lovely for strolling, featuring many Art Nouveau buildings, galleries and wine bars.
City of Light
Metz is a city with a wealth of natural and architectural heritage. As one meanders through the ancient streets of Metz time can seem to turn back.
Metz was an important center of the Roman Empire and maintains numerous highlights from this era. Visit the cities wonderful museums for a taste of this history or visit Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, the oldest church in France, which dates back to the 4th century A.D.
During the Carolingian dynasty, Metz was the artistic and cultural center of Europe. Metz maintains this heritage and a visit to this enchanting town is a must during and extended stay in France.
METZ - PLACES TO SEE
- Saint-Etienne Cathedral
- Saint Stephens Cathedral
- Museums in the Cour d'Or
- River walks along the Moselle and the Seille rivers
- Place de la Comedie, Place d'Armes, and Place Saint-Thiebault.
Image: The city square in Nancy, France