The North East of France is not a well-known tourist destination which is surprising when you realise how rich it is in history, architecture and monuments from the two world wars plus a great selection of self-catering holiday cottages. Made up of 3 regions, Alsace, Champagne and Lorraine is has a real mix of countryside and hills, rivers and a diverse culture with a European influence.
Alsace sits between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine, a very distinct region bordering Germany and Switzerland, with many residents speaking both French and German. The area is wonderful to explore on foot and you will come across Romanesque and Baroque villages scattered over undulating landscapes, one of the most scenic regions of France. This is a land of fortified castles, ancient hamlets, sandstone summits covered with amazing forests plus amazing food and wine. Strasbourg is the capital and is a wonderful place to visit.
Lorraine is an historical region and has the pleasure of sharing borders with Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany so is very hard to pin down and for this reason a fascinating place to visit. You can combine exciting city visits with a rural holiday to get a real feel for this wonderful area. Much of Lorraine is rural and also includes the Vosges Mountain and the Haye and Verdun forests with wonderful walks and trails. The Vosges range is a natural heritage site with a rich variety of fauna and flora and a high peak trail passing through valleys, by lakes and along lowland fields. Enjoy amazing panoramic views and sample the excellent traditional food cooked in the many farm inns. There are forests trails to follow and include a guided tour of the Battlefield of Verdun to discover the history of the First World War, totally absorbing and very moving.
As well as being world famous for its sparkling wine Champagne is also known for the local people who offer a very warm welcome to visitors in the cities and along the Champagne routes, a great place to choose holiday cottages. You will often find yourself stumbling across pretty villages with family–run cellars and vineyards! With over 3,000 miles of footpaths, walking routes and greenways to explore it is perfect if you love the outdoors. The wine routes are the best way to meet the people behind the ‘bubbly’ and understand the mysterious world of champagne . Start in Épernay and head south to Sezanne to enjoy the gently rolling landscape possibly at its most attractive in late Summer and Autumn. Lots of the smaller vignerons, wine producers, love to receive visits from the public and don’t charge for tastings.
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