France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Alsace & Lorraine, France Guide
Contested for centuries, Alsace now enjoys the cultural heritages of both France and Germany, not to mention fertile soil for crops and micro-climates perfect for growing grapes to make excellent wines.




The broad flood-plain of the upper Rhine River valley is a rich agricultural region known as Alsace, with the historic Kingdom of Lorraine just to the west.

Over the centuries the rival kingdoms and empires of France and Germany have coveted Alsace (Elsass in German) and Lorraine (Lothringen) for its agricultural wealth, its ease of transport on the Rhine, Ill, Meuse and Moselle rivers, and its military value as a barrier to invasion.

After centuries of conflict, Alsace and Lorraine have come into their own as symbols of the new Europe.

Sharing the cultural richness of both France and Germany, Alsace boasts of its medieval half-timbered houses, its home-grown heroes such as Johannes Gutenberg, and its rich cuisine of sauerkraut and wurst (in French: choucroute et saucisse).

Every region of France has its distinct personality, but none is as delightfully different from the rest of France as Alsace, with Lorraine as a close second.

Fast TGV trains can whisk you from Paris to Strasbourg in under 2-1/2 hours, to Metz or Nancy in even less time, and to nearby Colmar and its wine-making villages in only a little more, making the cities of Alsace and Lorraine a day-trip excursion possibility from Paris—though there is much to see in Grand Est (Great East, the official name for this region of France.)









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Eguisheim, Colmar, Alsace, France

Wine-growing village of Eguisheim,
near Colmar in Alsace, France.

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