A fascinating journey awaits you in the East. Four cities, abounding in natural, architectural and cultural riches, will enchant you. After Metz, a city that combines the roman, medieval, classical and contemporary, head for Nancy, the capital of Art Nouveau whose 18th-century centre has been awarded UNESCO status. Continue your route to Strasbourg, to discover a unique city centre and traditional Alsace gastronomy. Finish your journey through the east by following the Alsace Wine Route. Let yourself be amazed by Mulhouse and its exceptional museums.
Ducal Palace, Place d’Alliance and Place de la Carrière, the old town... Stroll through the districts of the historic capital of Lorraine, and let it reveal its exceptional heritage to you. Then later, you can relax on a terrace in the famous Place Stanislas. Unless you’d prefer a bit of greenery in the large Parc de la Pépinière around the corner, created 250 years ago. Come for the first weekend of December every year to celebrate Saint- Nicholas day.
What to see
- Place Stanislas
The symbol of the city of Nancy, this pedestrian square built in the 18th century is considered the most beautiful square in Europe.
- Capital of Art Nouveau
The Nancy School, spearhead of the Art Nouveau movement, left its mark on the city, as can be seen when wandering through the streets and in its dedicated museum.
Divided by the Moselle and the Seille, this three-thousand-year-old city will fill you with wonder. As night falls you can admire its illuminated monuments, its squares from the Middle Ages and the 18th century and its famed imperial district. Raise your eyes to gaze at the 6,500 m2 of stained glass windows in the splendid Saint-Etienne cathedral in the “stained-glass city”.
What to see
- Centre Pompidou-Metz
The Centre Pompidou-Metz is an art centre designed to present modern and contemporary art in all its forms.
- Imperial district
A model of urbanism, built at the end of the 19th century under Emperor Wilhelm II by architects from throughout Europe.
Enter the heart of Strasbourg, listed as a world heritage site, and discover the “Petite France”, the old district of tanners and millers. A boat trip is an excellent way of discovering all the sides of the city, including the district that is home to the European institutions. Back on dry land, admire the cathedral and its astronomical clock before pushing open the doors of the Palais Rohan.
What to see
- “Petite France”
Its narrow alleyways, canals and half-timbered houses make this the most picturesque district in Strasbourg.
The Christmas market
A fairytale world with a distinct gingerbread scent, it is without a doubt one of the loveliest Christmas markets in Europe, and one of the oldest as it dates from 1570!
- Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg
Built into the rock, this superbly restored medieval building is a symbol of the German presence in Alsace from 1871 to 1918.
Discover Alsace in another light, in the company of a “Greeter”, an enthusiastic resident who will turn this encounter into a unique event off the beaten track. Travel around this former industrial city with its colourful façades to your hosts’ favourite places: contemporary works that set the pace of life in the city, museums recounting the industrial saga, visit to the Kunsthalle dedicated to emerging artistic creations, as well as good ideas and traditional patisseries to sample a kougelhopf.
What to see
- Cité de l’Automobile
The largest car museum in the world and a collection of 400 legendary models gathered by two brothers and industrialists from Alsace. New: the Autodrome, exhibition track.
- Cité du Train
Completely unique, this museum traces the history of the French railway, with spectacular displays and a new show-route, “the platforms of history”.
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Magic Christmas markets
Wooden chalets, the smell of cinnamon and gingerbread in the air... what better way to get into the Christmas spirit than going to the traditional Christmas markets? These special times will introduce you to local specialities and crafts. In Metz, in Nancy and Mulhouse, decorated in the colours of a fabric created especially for the occasion, the markets host numerous events which make them festive and popular meeting places. In Strasbourg, the Christmas market is a historical event that dates from the 16th century! Above all, don’t forget to amble around the bredle Village, selling little Christmas biscuits from Alsace. Another must-see: the Saint Nicholas celebrations in Nancy on the 1st weekend of December.
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Destination “Coeur d’Alsace”
At the foot of the Vosges mountains, encircled by mysterious châteaux, Alsace is home to some lovely wine-growing villages. The famous Alsace Wine Route, which snakes from north to south, reveals the splendours of its region and its great wines, which you can discover through the typical paths, cellars and restaurants. Between Strasbourg and Colmar, the destination “Heart of Alsace” offers a mosaic of landscapes combining vineyards and forests, from Mont Sainte-Odile to the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg, through Rosheim, Obernai, Barr and Châtenois-Scherwiller.
June: Picnic with independent wineproducers
Strasbourg Festival of Music
July: Colmar International Festival
July and August: Musicalta festival in Rouffach
October: Nancy Jazz Pulsations
November/December: Strasbourg and Mulhouse Christmas markets
All year round: Performing arts at the Centre Pompidou-Metz
Exceptional cultural sites
1 Place Stanislas - Nancy
2 Nancy, capital of Art Nouveau
3 Centre Pompidou - Metz
4 Imperial district - Metz
5 “Petite France” historic centre Strasbourg
6 Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg
7 Cité de l’Automobile – Schlumpf Collection
8 Cité du Train - French railway museum
9 St Etienne cathedral - Metz
10 Longwy fortress
11 Neuf-Brisach stronghold