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The Lorraine region of Northeast France


Regional Departments
Meuse, Moselle, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Vosges.

Main Towns
Nancy, Bar-le-Duc, Epinal, Lunéville, Metz, St-Dié, Sarrebourg, Verdun.

Lorraine lies in the northeast corner of France bordering parts of Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, the Champagne-Ardennes to the west, the Franche-Compté in the south and is separated by the Vosges mountain range from Alsace to the east. This region of France is mainly pastureland through which the rivers Meuse, Meurthe and Moselle flow,which then rises into the forested slopes of the Vosges. Vittel mineral water, Baccarat crystal and of course Quiche Lorraine comes from here. Winter is a wonderland in the Voges with sports facilities to match and the long hot summers make it ideal cycling and walking country.



Nancy is the regional capital and a busy university town, the glory of which is the magnificent Place Stanislas, one of the great artistic achievements of the 18th century. The extreme elegance and grace of the square makes a powerful impact when first seen. The purity of the eighteenth century buildings, the columns and arcades and the delicacy of the wrought ironwork of the four gates that mark the entrances to the square, must be unique in Europe. In the evenings the square is lit like a jewel and people go there to walk, meet friends and sit at a café.
Nancy also claims to be the birthplace of Art Deco and there are several complete houses.

Metz, in the Moselle valley, is today a technological centre with its own silicon valley on the outskirts, a marked contrast to the old part of the town where ancient houses and narrow streets surround the cathedral, which has stained glass windows by Marc Chagall.

Verdun, scene of bitter fighting in France in both world wars, has become a poignant base from which to visit the battlefields and memorials to all those that fell. The château at Lunéville, built as a small scale replica of Versailles and Domrémy-la-Pucelle, where you can visit the house where Joan of Arc was born, are both worth visiting.

Food

In the shops and markets you can find bowls of pale amber green choucroute and stalls bulging with different kinds of sausages, smoked ones that go well with choucroute and large coarsely cut but subtly flavoured ones for boiling. Smoked fillets and loins of pork, terrines and pâtés of pork, duck, tongue and deep dishes with whole pieces of pork embedded in a clear aspic jelly, and yes, quiche. The rivers produce crayfish, carp, pike and trout. Smoked ham soup, wild boar, goose, beef, pork and lamb, figure on most menus, along with a range of creamy cheeses.

Small discoveries can alter the whole aspect of a region, like the little boiled sweets scented with bergamot that you find in Nancy. Or the translucent preserves made from red currants, white currants and strawberries from Bar-le-Duc, which are sometime served as a dessert with cream cheese. In Commercy the first madeleines were made and everywhere you can find mouthwatering pastries.

Climate

Generally long warm summers with temperatures reaching 30 plus degrees, lasting well into the autumn. Winter is cold with good snow cover on the mountains with often bright sunny days.

Travel

By Air
Various international and other independent airlines operate services to Paris and there are regular air links to Metz-Nancy-Lorraine airport from Paris and a host of other mainly European cities.

By Road
The region has good road access via the A4 and A31 motorways. The journey from Paris to Metz takes about 3 hours.

By Train
The SNCF operates an extensive service to the region including Nancy and Metz.


 
 
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