More than any other region of France, Grand Est has been shaped by continual waves of settlement, invasion and border changes. As the name suggests, this is a large region of eastern France, fronting the entire border with Germany and Luxembourg, and significant portions of the Belgian and Swiss borders, too. It is unsurprising then that everything of the region’s culture, from the architecture and languages, to the food and wine, is a pleasing mix of Gallic and Germanic. Visitors come to explore the battlefields of the Ardennes and Verdun, to quaff glasses of champagne, gobble up quiche and sauerkraut, hike or bike the Vosges, or to glide lazily down the mighty Rhine.
- 1 Strasbourg — the capital of the region is home of many European institutions – Parliament, Council and the Court of Human Rights – as well as a beautiful UNESCO-listed city centre and miles of cycle paths and canal walks to explore.
- 1 Colmar — small Alsatian city with many fine timber buildings and extensive pedestrianisation.
- 1 Metz — cathedral city with a strong military history and a regional branch of the Centre Pompidou.
- 1 Mulhouse — industrial city with an impressive array of museums, notably the Cité de l’Automobile and Cité du Train.
- 1 Nancy — medium-sized city of culture and learning. With a large student population, Nancy hosts vibrant ballet, opera, jazz and rock scenes.
- 1 Reims — site of the famous cathedral where the kings of France were once crowned, now heart of the Champagne region.
- 1 Troyes — timber-frame buildings surround a Gothic monster of a cathedral, noted for its exquisite stained glass.