The Essential Guide to Alsace and Lorraine
Collected by Nancy Heslin , AFAR Local Expert
Located in the northwest corner of France, the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine are at once proudly French and slightly German. Here, you’ll find traditionally French attractions like soaring cathedrals, manicured parks, and art nouveau mansions, but you’ll also encounter half-timbered houses, historic breweries, and lots and lots of sauerkraut. Visit cities like Metz, Nancy, Strasbourg, and Colmar and you may find yourself wondering what country you’re in, or ride a bike over the Pont de l’Europe and see both France and Germany in one day.
D123, 55110 Romagne-Sous-Montfaucon, France
The largest number of American soldiers who died in Europe, mostly in World War I, rest here at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, 80 miles northwest of Metz. Across more than 130 acres, visitors will find row upon...
1 Parvis des Droits de l'Homme, 57020 Metz, France
The hip sister of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, this modern and contemporary art museum has become one of France’s most visited cultural venues since opening in 2010. Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, the 54,000-square-foot...
Place d'Armes, 57000 Metz, France
It may have taken 300 years—plus the unification of two churches—to build St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Metz, but the Gothic masterpiece is one of Europe’s tallest churches (at 140 feet) and boasts more stained glass than any...
25 Place de Chambre, 57000 Metz, France
In addition to a prime location in Metz’s cultural district, the Hôtel de la Cathédrale features a charming mix of antique furnishings and modern conveniences. Some of the rooms in this 17th-century town-house-turned-hotel have...
38 Rue Sergent Blandan, 54000 Nancy, France
In Nancy, visitors can download an art nouveau itinerary for free from the tourist office website, then tour 250 buildings and storefronts featuring wrought iron, stained glass, and ceramics. They can also visit the Musée de...
Place Stanislas, 54000 Nancy, France
1 Place Stanislas, 54000 Nancy, France
Founded in 1850 and housed in the oldest building on Place Stanislas, Grand Café Foy takes its name from General Maximilien Sébastien Foy, who served under Napoléon. Dining at the restaurant, which is open daily from 7 a.m. to...
9 Rue Mgr Trouillet, 54000 Nancy, France
When visiting Nancy, you could simply look at art nouveau architecture—or you could stay in it. Just a few minutes’ walk from the Nancy Cathedral, L’Hôtel d’Haussonville is housed in a Renaissance mansion from 1528....
2 Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Today, Strasbourg is considered the “capital of a reconciled Europe,” but it had to struggle through the Germanic Holy Roman Empire, the Royal Free City, the French Revolution, and a few assassinations before it earned that...
67000 Strasbourg, France
With 350 miles of bikes paths, Strasbourg is one of the most cyclable cities in France. To experience it for yourself, head to the Jardin des Deux Rives (Two Shores Garden), a 370-acre, transboundary green space that opened in 2004 as a symbol of...
2 Place du Château, 67000 Strasbourg, France
A brief walk from the Strasbourg Cathedral lies the glorious Palais Rohan, a former Episcopal residence built between 1732 and 1742. Designed by the king’s architect for the Prince-Bishop of Strasbourg, the architectural masterpiece has...
Parc de l'Orangerie, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Situated just past the European Parliament and the European Council, Parc de l’Orangerie is the oldest park in Strasbourg. Dedicated to Napoléon’s wife Joséphine in 1804, the 64-acre, manicured paradise is a favorite...
Place de la Cathédrale, 67000 Strasbourg, France
It took 424 years to build this Gothic showpiece, but considering the hundreds of sculptures jutting out from the facade, the timing is almost understandable. At 466 feet tall, the Strasbourg Cathedral was, from its completion in 1439 until the...
22 Rue des Veaux, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg is both the capital of and the largest city in the Grand Est, formerly known as Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine—and the only region in France where both beer and wine are produced. In 1268, brewing beer became an official trade...
16 Place de la Cathédrale, 67000 Strasbourg, France
On the corner of Place de la Cathédrale, the four-story Maison Kammerzell could rely purely on its history (some of which dates back to 1427), but its traditional fare, reasonably priced menus, and reliable service are equally as impressive...
10 Rue du Sanglier, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Restaurant Chez Yvonne is one of Strasbourg’s oldest and most famous winstubs (wine lounges)—and a less-expensive alternative to the city’s Michelin-starred Au Crocodile. The cozy eatery was a favorite of former French president...
1 Rue du Bouclier, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Le Bouclier d’Or is superbly located in the center of Strasbourg’s historic district, La Petit France. Just steps from all the major sights, the renovated mansion offers an eclectic setting, rich with antiques but also with modern...
5 Rue des Moulins, 67000 Strasbourg, France
If there’s one thing that can transform a good vacation into an unforgettable holiday, it’s splurging on a room with a view. At Régent Petite France Hotel & Spa, all 75 spacious, tastefully decorated rooms look out onto the...
68000 Colmar, France
In few places but Alsace can oenophiles drive 100 miles and meet more than 1,000 wine producers, all with a backdrop of medieval châteaus and postcard-perfect villages. The Alsace Wine Route consists of five regions: Pays de Wissembourg,...
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