Lorraine is in the far northeast corner of France bordered by three countries – Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. It makes a great base for exploring all these areas from self-catering villas or gites in Lorraine. The region has a rich cultural history steeped in military battles and memorials and due to its border location it has a strong German influence in its architecture and cuisine.
Some of the main attractions of Lorraine are the interesting old towns of Bar-de-Luc and the lovely city of Nancy on the banks of the Muerthe. Spa towns such as Vittel, Plombieres-les-Bains and Bains-les-Bains are not to be missed in this scenic area. The artistic movement offers both art and tradition in the Meurthe-et-Moselle area, home of beautiful Baccarat crystal.
Lorraine has a long history, best illustrated by the defensive citadel at Bitche and the many old churches and museums in the area. On a more modern cultural note, one of the highlights is the sculpture garden in Bitche, with an interesting piece by designer Philippe Starck.
The rolling hills, wooded valleys and regional nature parks around Lorraine holiday villas are popular for hiking and cycling. Scenic road trips can take visitors through delightful medieval towns at a gentle pace, discovering the area as you please.
Stroll the narrow streets of charming towns such as Bar-le-Duc and Epinal which are steeped in history. Explore the formal parks and gardens, take a scenic boat trip on the 700km of waterways, visit museums and cathedrals or relax and watch the world go by from a pavement café. Days out in the Moselle departement may include visiting Metz, the capital of Lorraine. The Cathedral of Saint-Etiénne is world-famous for its beautiful Gothic architecture and modern stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. The Musée La Cour d’Or has wonderful mediaeval exhibits and the Jardin Botanique will delight gardeners with its fragrant roses and 140 year old sequoia tree.
Nancy is a town dedicated to Beaux Arts with its magnificent old town elaborately decorated with beautiful wrought iron and a Triumphal Arch.
Lorraine has long warm summers which extend well into autumn, making it ideal to visit from May to late October. Local food in the Lorraine area includes market stalls laden with tasty smoked sausages, terrines and patés of pork and duck and of course, Quiche Lorraine itself.
Many people visit the emotionally moving First World War battlefields around Verdun to pay their respects.
The Metz-Nancy-Lorraine airport has regular flights from Paris and other European cities making it very easy to reach. Those driving should allow four hours to cover the 460km from Calais to Metz along the A4 and A31 motorways.