Lorraine has a reputation for austerity, and yet impressive wealth shines through the walls and history of the region: in the royal Stanislas Square in Nancy, from the works of local painter Georges de La Tour and his "chiaroscuro" techniques, within the impressive Saint-Etienne Cathedral in Metz, the Château of Lunéville (Versailles Lorrain), Bar-le Duc with its urban Renaissance style, Toul with its ramparts and cathedral of Saint-Etienne, Epinal with its château and image museums, Verdun with its gates and cathedral, and the beautiful daffodils in Gérardmer Lake.
Lorraine is filled with vegetation, greenery and flowers. Between its rich countryside filled with prolific forests, to the natural spring and mineral waters, to the three Regional Natural Parks. Visitors are thus free to relax and enjoy the great outdoors within this natural land through a variety of activities in any season.
Beautiful sites include the Forest of Argonne and the Vosges Massif. Great activities include water sports in the Valley of lakes, fishing in the river, skiing in the Vosges ski resorts, hiking, and more.
Water is abundant here, particularly with large lakes (Geradmer, Retournemer, Longemer, Madine) and springs which have enabled the development of spas and well-being centres (Vittel, Contrexéville, Plombières-les-Bains...)
Lorraine was profoundly marked by the Second World War with the Battle of Verdun: the Underground Citadel of Verdun and the World Peace Center are great spots to view the region’s history. Lorraine also evokes a particular taste for culture and refinement with its prestigious national museums, and an incomparable historical heritage. For example, the Longwy fortifications are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, there are magnificent stained glass windows by Marc Chagall in the region, and there are famous Art Nouveau works in Nancy that helped to establish the famous School of Nancy in the nineteenth century.
Lorraine puts on a great show to celebrate traditional holidays like the feast of Saint Nicolas in December. Just as spectacular are the major festivals of the region, such as the Renaissance Festival in Bar-le-Duc in July, the Nancy Jazz Pulsations in October and the International Festival of Fantasy Film in Gérardmer.
For families, the region hosts the amusement park Walygator as well as the Amnéville Zoo, and the Snowhall ski area in the winter.
Lorraine is home to a rich and authentic gastronomic tradition and is the birthplace of such ubiquitous French recipes such as the world famous Quiche Lorraine, Madeleines (small sponge cakes from Commercy or Liverdun), Macarons (from Boulay or Nancy), the famous Baba au Rhum (small cakes saturated in rum) and the Mirabelle plum.
The local chefs also compete in talent and ingenuity, as they are constantly creating new contemporary recipes, while incorporating local products from the region. Lorraine also produces excellent cheeses such as Munster-Géromé, Brouère and Vachelin. All these delicious products may be accompanied by local wines such as the gris from Toul, Moselle's white wines and the Côtes de Meuse.
In recent years, Lorraine has been introducing rail service, new art museums and more. Examples include the TGV Eastern rail service, the new Metz Pompidou Centre, and the Parks Domain Center for Three Forests at Moselle/Lorraine. Lorraine is thus an ideal destination for a great vacation.
Roman ruins still remain prevalent in Metz, which was the capital of the Austrasie Kingdom and the birthplace of the Carlingian Kings while Nancy was still the capital of the Duchy of Lorraine.
This is Domrémy-la-Pucelle, in the Vosges, where the legendary saga of Joan of Arc began. Be sure to visit the home where she was born, as well as Vaucouleurs and the Château of Gombervaux.
La Meuse is a department of France which was greatly affected by the Great War, particularly by the Battle of Verdun in 1916. Don’t leave without seeing the Memorial and Museum of the Great War, the fortress and Ossuaire de Douaumont, the Bayonet Trench…
In Argonne, the ruins are vivid reminders of this time period (the forest with the shelter of the Kronprinz, the mound of Vauquois – where President Truman fought General Patton), not forgetting St. Menehould and Varennes where Louis XVI and his family were arrested.