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Lorraine is famous worldwide for its quiche, macarons, Mirabelle plum and madeleine. It is home to more than 2,3 million inhabitants (Lorrains and Lorraines). For many years, the region was synonymous with coal, iron and steel industries and was in the 1960 the 3rd economical region in France. Today, Lorraine shows a different face, thanks to its two leading and attractive cities of Nancy and Metz. The picturesque landscape of the Lorraine region is also ideal for those seeking peace and quiet, at only 1.30 hours from Paris.

 

A brief description of the Lorraine region

The region meets Champagne-Ardenne to the West and Alsace to the East.

To the North, three European countries mark the border: Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.

To the South lies the region of Franche-Comté (now part of the new Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region).

On the 1st January 2016, Lorraine, Alsace and Champagne-Ardennes merged into a new region called Grand-Est.

Map of Lorraine © French Moments

ID-Lorraine-copyright-French-Moments

  • Name: Lorraine, part of the Grand-Est region
  • Surface: 23,547 km2
  • Départements: Meurthe-et-Moselle (54), Meuse (55), Moselle (57), Vosges (88)
  • Administrative capital: Metz
  • Population: 2,356,600 (2012)
  • Main cities: Nancy, Metz, Thionville, Epinal, Verdun
  • Celebrities: Jeanne d’Arc, Georges De La Tour, Paul Verlaine, Émile Gallé, Robert Schuman, Ségolène Royal, Michel Platini, Patricia Kaas
  • Cheese: munster
  • Tradition dish: quiche lorraine
  • Our favourite place: The Toulois region

 

Cities of Lorraine

The Lorraine region includes two main cities with population over 100,000: Nancy and Metz. Other main towns are Thionville, Forbach, Longwy, Lunéville, Toul, Épinal, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges…

The city of Nancy

Nancy, capital of the Dukes of Lorraine is famous throughout Europe for its UNESCO World Heritage squares, dating from the 18th Century.

The town of Nancy in the Lorraine region © French Moments
The town of Nancy in the Lorraine region © French Moments

Over the last 30 years, the city underwent a complete refurbishment of its old town, making the Lorraine capital an even more pleasant place to stay. Beautiful squares and buildings reveal a rich historical past, when the independent Duchy of Lorraine was coveted by the Kings of France and Austrian Habsburg. The School of Nancy played a major role in the development of Art Nouveau in Europe.

Photos of Spring in Lorraine - Nancy © French Moments
The old town of Nancy seen from the Ferris wheel © French Moments
Things to see in Nancy: Photos of Spring in Lorraine - Nancy © French Moments
Place Stanislas in April © French Moments
Things to see in Nancy: Porte de la Craffe © French Moments
Things to see in Nancy: Porte de la Craffe © French Moments
School of Nancy Museum © French Moments
Art Nouveau Dining Room at the School of Nancy Museum © French Moments
Place Stanislas, Nancy © French Moments
The fountain of Amphitrite, Place Stanislas © French Moments

The city of Metz

Metz is the chief town of the Lorraine region. The charming provincial city is located on the east side of the Moselle River, between Nancy and Luxembourg. Close to three international borders (Germany, Luxemburg and Belgium), Greater Metz has a population of 230,000, and is accessible from Paris by TGV within 1.20 hours.

Metz, the banks of the River Moselle © French Moments
Metz, the banks of the River Moselle © French Moments

Metz is famous for its lofty gothic Cathedral Saint Etienne and its German Imperial District around the railway station. It takes pride in being a true Garden City, with its trees, flowerbeds and green esplanades. Today, no visitors in the peaceful city would believe how turbulent Metz’ history has been over the centuries, being continually annexed by France and Germany. After the first visit to this seductive town most people go back again.

Metz by the River Moselle © French Moments
Photos of Spring in Lorraine – Metz © French Moments
Metz Cathedral © French Moments
The cathedral of Metz © French Moments
Metz © French Moments
Temple-Neuf, Metz © French Moments
Torii in the Saulcy lake, Metz © French Moments
Torii in the Saulcy lake, Metz © French Moments
Place Saint-Louis Metz © French Moments
Place Saint-Louis © French Moments

 

Historic and Cultural Heritage in the Lorraine region

You will find a wide range of cathedrals, churches, castles and monuments in the Lorraine region.

A few destination ideas:

The Cathedral city of Verdun by the River Meuse:

Verdun by the Meuse River © French Moments
Verdun by the River Meuse © French Moments

The Cathedral city of Toul by the River Moselle:

Toul, Lorraine © French Moments
Toul, one of France’s Most Beautiful Detours © French Moments

The château of Haroué, south of Nancy:

Haroué Castle © French Moments
Haroué Castle © French Moments

The château of Lunéville:

Chateau of Lunéville © French Moments
Chateau of Lunéville © French Moments

Overlooking the Plain of Woëvre, the village and castle of Hattonchâtel:

Castle of Hattonchâtel © French Moments
Castle of Hattonchâtel © French Moments

 

The Natural Regional Park of Lorraine

The countryside of Lorraine in Summer © French Moments
In the Natural Regional Park near Toul © French Moments

A peaceful rural landscape surrounds Metz and Nancy: the Natural Regional Park of Lorraine. The park comprises forest and fields, covering 200 villages, as well as a wide range of heritage sites: museums, castles, forts, abbeys…

The area is ideal for rest and relaxation with sports and water activities, horse trails, hiking, nature tours, shows and much more.

Spring in Lorraine (Village of Lucey, Toulois) © French Moments
Photos of Spring in Lorraine (mirabelle orchard, Toulois) © French Moments
Photos of Spring in Lorraine - Blénod-lès-Toul © French Moments
Blénod-lès-Toul in Lorraine © French Moments
Near Toul, Lorraine © French Moments
Near Toul, Lorraine © French Moments
Near Toul, Lorraine © French Moments
Near Toul, Lorraine © French Moments

The Natural Regional Park of Lorraine includes two non-adjoining parts on each side of the Moselle River.

On the west side, it encircles some hillside villages, where the wine growers used to live, large forests of broad-leafed trees and borders the WWI battlefield of Verdun.

As for the eastern side, it is located around the Saulnois region and the “Pays des Etangs” (land of ponds).

Douaumont © French Moments
The National Cemetery of Douaumont © French Moments

 

The Vosges mountains

To the east of the region, the Vosges Mountains are synonymous with softness thanks to the rounded shape of their peaks, the “ballons” (rounded summits). This mountainous mass still offers a variety of landscapes, including glacial lakes, wet and high altitude meadows, deep valleys, forests, waterfalls, cliffs and rocks.

lorraine region
A valley in the Vosges © French Moments

The Vosges Mountain range marks the border between Lorraine and Alsace to the east. The crest line was a real linguistic and cultural barrier between the two regions. As such, the term “Alsace-Lorraine” refers not to a homogenous region, but rather the contrary. Therefore, it was used to describe the geographic entity corresponding to the annexation of Alsace and of the Lorraine département of Moselle by Prussia.

Vosges mountains © French Moments
Hautes chaumes in the Vosges mountains © French Moments
Hiking in the Vosges © French Moments
Hiking in the Vosges © French Moments
Photos of Spring in Alsace - Vosges © French Moments
In the Vosges © French Moments
Photos of Spring in Alsace - Vosges © French Moments
The Vosges in Spring © French Moments

 

The Gastronomy of the Lorraine region

And finally, here’s a few ideas of local produce to enjoy in the Lorraine region:

  • Madeleines from Commercy
  • Mirabelle plumbs from Nancy and Metz
  • Bergamotes from Nancy
  • Macarons from Nancy and Boulay
  • Paris-Metz
  • Baba au rhum
  • Miel de Sapin (honey from the Vosges)
  • Bonbons des Vosges (lollies from the Vosges)
  • Dragées from Verdun
  • Redcurrant jam from Bar-le-Duc
Gourmandises de Lorraine © French Moments
Sweet indulgences from Lorraine © French Moments

Without forgetting the world-famous Quiche Lorraine!

Quiche Lorraine © French Moments
Home-made Quiche Lorraine © French Moments

 

Where to stay in Lorraine?

The village of Boucq near Toul (Lorraine) © French Moments
The village of Boucq near Toul (Lorraine) © French Moments

For your stay in the Lorraine countryside, why not booking through Nature.house?

Nature.house is a Dutch booking platform, which was founded in 2009 by Tim and Luuk van Oerle, two brothers who are passionate about bird watching. Since then, the company’s mission has been to connect people with nature.

The website offers over 15,000 nature houses all over Europe, such as cottages, villas, tiny houses, treehouses, yurts, and many more. Also, they have planted over one million trees in Madagascar, Tanzania, and Burkina Faso, and now, they make a significant impact on the environment by investing € 1 for every booking in local nature projects.

 

For more info about Lorraine

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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