Things to Know
With four different countries bordering this gorgeous region in the northeastern corner of France, Alsace and Lorraine could well be described as the crossroads of Europe. As a result of its location, throughout history the region of Alsace and Lorraine has often been a point of dispute between the Lords of France and Germany, a fact that has also played an important role in shaping the region’s identity that is an amalgam of French and German culture. Yet despite this apparent disparity, Alsace and Lorraine exudes a more or less homogenous feel, with pockets of German and French speaking people, and a warm, lively atmosphere. Boasting military accomplishments that are almost as distinguished as the region’s long-standing viticulture tradition, the region of Alsace and Lorraine will surely charm you with its rustic character, delicious French flavors, and raw authentic appeal.
Things to See
The city of Strasbourg is the official seat of the European Parliament. Visit the hemicycle, and learn about the fascinating history of the European Union.
Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg
This enormous cathedral that can be seen from as far off as the Vosges Mountains is widely regarded to be among the finest examples of late Gothic architecture.
The former palace of the prince-bishops of Strasbourg is a highlight for art and history lovers. On site you will find three museums, a picture gallery as well as the bishops' rooms.
A 13th century Gothic cathedral built with yellow limestone and featuring impressive stained-glass windows. Inside you can admire stained glass works by Gothic and Renaissance masters as well as some by the modernist Marc Chagall.
An ultra-modern museum of modern and contemporary art that hosts temporary exhibitions, live performances, films, and art related discussions.
Things to Do
Explore the Wines of Alsace
The region of Alsace and Lorraine has a long and illustrious wine-making history. Given the long, dry autumns in this part of France that allow for plenty of time for the grapes to ripen; you can expect wines in this region to be somewhat sweeter than other areas of France. While primarily a white wine country, you can also find some good reds of the pinot noir variety in the mix. Sample and purchase some of the finest Alsatian wines as you enjoy the region’s scenery, virile forests, and picturesque towns and villages.
Discover Strasbourg, the European Capital
Located on the river Ill, the economic, political and cultural capital of Alsace is also the de facto home of the European Union that has been meeting here since 1952. Discover the 'Large Island’ that lies at the historic center, surrounded on one side by the main channel of the river Ill and by the Canal du Faux-Rempart on the other. Take a riverboat cruise to admire the picturesque old part of Strasbourg and walk around the UNESCO World Heritage site known as Little France district ‘La petite France’, the city’s most endearing neighborhood and one of the best-preserved old quarters in Europe.
Visit the Historic Cities of Metz and Nancy
Boasting a long and fascinating history that stretches all the way back to the pre-Roman era, the cities of Metz and Nancy are an excellent showcase of the cultural powers that have shaped the unique identity of Alsace and Lorraine. Nancy is the cultural and educational capital of Lorraine, featuring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Place Stanislaus; a beautiful cathedral and the gardens known as the Pepiniere while Metz wows its visitors with its culture and architecture. Take the time to walk through the cobblestone streets of these two charming cities to experience their appeal firsthand.
Hike Between the Lakes and Forests of the Vosges Mountains
If you are looking to discover the natural treasures of the Alsace and Lorraine region, there’s no better place to do so that to visit the Vosges Mountains. Explore the areas outstanding trails like the Peak route, take in the incredible panoramic views, and enjoy a spot of hiking while admiring the captivating Alsatian terrain made up of valleys, rivers, forests and lakes.
Take a Day Trip to Mulhouse and Colmar Towns.
Mulhouse and Colmar are the second and third largest cities in the Alsace region. A city with an unmistakable industrial character, Mulhouse will engage you with its interesting museums like the Cité de l'Automobile, the Cité du Train, and the Electropolis Electricity Museum. On the other hand, Colmar is a city brimming with rustic charm featuring a picture-perfect old town dotted with half-timbered houses and narrow cobblestone streets. Enjoy a culture-themed visit to the Unterlinden museum or take a barge trip along the water in the romantic Petite Venice district.