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Grand-Est, located in northeastern France, covers an area of 57,433 square kilometers, making it the fifth-largest region in France. It is characterized by diverse geography, including two mountain ranges, the Vosges and Ardennes, and it is traversed by three major water basins, which are as follows: the Seine, Meuse, and Rhine rivers. Sharing borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Switzerland, Grand-Est is strategically situated at the intersection of Latin and Germanic cultures. Historically, the region has been integral to the Francian territory of Austrasia since the 8th century. Cities such as Reims held significant ceremonial importance in French monarchical history.[3] However, today the city of Strasbourg serves as a capital city of the Gran-Est region. Additionally, Strasbourg is known for being the seat of the European Parliament. Some of Strasbourg's tourist attractions include the Grand Île, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Maison de l’Oeuvre Notre-Dame, the 18th-century Château des Rohan, and the La Petite district.[1] The western part of the Grand-Est region is known for the development of sparkling wine production called Champagne. Today, the area is protected by UNESCO, comprising three distinct zones: the historic vineyards of Hautvillers, Aÿ, and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ; Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims; and the Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay. These components represent the complete champagne production process, encompassing the vineyards, production facilities with underground cellars, and sales and distribution centers.[6]

What Grand-Est is known for

Strasbourg showcases a tapestry of tourist attractions centered around its Grand Île, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is embraced by the Ill River. At its heart stands the Cathedral of Notre Dame, an architectural landmark dating back between the 11th and 15th centuries, featuring intricate sculptures and a spire. Nearby, the Château des Rohan—an 18th-century former episcopal palace—now hosts three museums, while the La Petite district attracts a number of visitors with its wooden houses and canals. Beyond its historic trace, Strasbourg is presently a hub of industry and commerce. Traditional crafts such as tanning, milling, and brewing coexist with modern industries, including food processing, engineering, and pharmaceuticals. The city's industrial port, a Rhine shipping hub, handles diverse cargo, including petroleum and agricultural products. Moreover, Strasbourg is home to several universities and international institutions, namely the European Parliament. With its pedestrian-friendly city center and connected tram network, Strasbourg welcomes visitors who aim to explore its heritage.[1]

The western part of the Grand-Est area is covered by Champagne Hillsides, Houses, and Cellars, which are protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, encapsulating the evolution of champagne production from its artisanal roots in the 17th century to its modern agro-industrial scale. Comprising historic vineyards of Hautvillers, Aÿ, and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, along with sites such as Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims and Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Épernay, the property showcases the entire champagne-making process. This landscape, characterized by cool, chalky terrain, integrates vineyards, villages, and urban areas to concentrate production and trade functions. Today, the property serves as a testament to traditional craftsmanship, social innovation, and the global influence of champagne.[6] One can follow the Champagne Tourist Route, spanning 600 kilometers across greenery and historic sites, and discover champagne production in world-renowned cellars. Along the way, people can take part in tasting workshops, learn the nuances of champagne varieties, and experience the grape harvest. It is recommended to combine the tour with visits to the towns of Reims, Épernay, and Essoyes, where the legacy of Renoir can be explored.[7]

As previously mentioned, Essoyes village in Aube holds a connection to Pierre-Auguste Renoir, a world-famous French artist who spent his summers there from 1888 and so on. The village, characterized by half-timbered houses along the Ource River, served as an inspiration for the painter. To explore into Renoir's work, tourists can visit the Espace des Renoir in the former stables of Hériot Castle, featuring a permanent exhibition on the artist's life and his family's contributions to art. There is also the Renoir trail where the key sites that influenced his work can be explored. The village also hosts Renoir's studio, the Renoir family home, and his first studio in Essoyes, offering insights into their life in the early 1900s.[11]

For nature enthusiasts, Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park, found in the northeastern part of the region, is characterized by diverse natural landscapes and cultural heritage. Dominated by a forest massif covering 65% of the territory, the region is marked by distinct identities, including the Lorraine plateau and the Piedmont. Numerous fortified castles dot the landscape, such as Schoeneck Castle, La Petite-Pierre Castle, and Fleckenstein Castle. Moreover, an abundance of wildlife, including chamois, deer, wild boar, and lynx, can be encountered in the park. With over 2,600 kilometers of hiking trails, visitors can explore the park's biodiversity.[5]


Grand-Est region spans an area of 57,433 square kilometers, making it the sixth-largest region in France. It shares borders with four countries: Belgium and Luxembourg to the north, Germany to the east and northeast, and Switzerland to the southeast. Within France, Grand-Est is bounded by Bourgogne-Franche-Comté to the south, Île-de-France to the west, and Hauts-de-France to the northwest. The region comprises ten departments: Ardennes, Aube, Bas-Rhin, Marne, Haute-Marne, Haut-Rhin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, and Vosges. Its topography comprises prominent ranges such as the Vosges to the east and the Ardennes to the north. The Rhine River forms about half of the eastern border with Germany, while other significant rivers include the Meuse, Moselle, Marne, and Saône. Notable lakes in the region include lac de Gérardmer, lac de Longemer, lac de Retournemer, lac des Corbeaux, Lac de Bouzey, lac de Madine, étang du Stock, and lac de Pierre-Percée.[3] 

Various outdoor opportunities are available at Grand-Est, as there are six Regional Nature Parks and one National Park found within the region's borders.[10] One of these protected areas is Forêt d'Orient Park, showcasing a diverse ecosystem characterized by its position along the migration route of birds and its varied landscapes of forests, lakes, rivers, and wet meadows. With nearly 2,500 species, including both flora and fauna, the park is recognized internationally for its ecological importance. Thus, the park is part of the Ramsar site of the Etangs of humid Champagne and the Natura 2000 network. Its location on the migration axis between Eastern Europe and Africa makes it a spot for birdwatching, with various species such as black storks, cranes, and herons frequenting the area. Wetlands, formed from the clayey subsoil and shaped by water, provide habitats for amphibians, birds, and insects, serving as ecological corridors within the landscape. Furthermore, the forest within the park harbors a range of wildlife, including the Red Deer and the Black Woodpecker. The forest is home to nocturnal creatures as well, namely bats, with numerous tree shelters providing habitats for these mammals.[9]

During the months of May, June, and September, it is comparatively probable that people may experience average temperatures ranging between 20°C and 26°C. July tends to be the warmest month in Strasbourg, with an average maximum temperature of 27°C, making it the peak of the year in terms of warmth. On account of the average maximum temperature remaining around 6°C in January, this month is commonly deemed the coldest month of the year in Strasbourg. December is usually the wettest month, recording 94 millimeters of rainfall, while April is the driest month, with precipitation totaling 67 millimeters.[8]


Originally a Celtic settlement, the city of Strasbourg later served as a Roman garrison known as Argentoratum. In the 5th century, it was seized by the Franks, who named it Strateburgum, from which its current name, Strasbourg, is derived. In 842, Charles II of the West Franks and Louis II of the East Franks swore an alliance oath known as the Serment de Strasbourg, making it the oldest written document in Old French. Following a struggle for power between its citizens and the bishops during the Middle Ages, Strasbourg gained status as a free city within the Holy Roman Empire.[1]

After being part of France, Strasbourg briefly became German following the Franco-Prussian War but returned to France after World War I. During World War II, it fell under German control again but was liberated by French forces in 1944. Over the course of its history, the city played a role in the Protestant Reformation, hosting figures such as John Calvin. It was also a hub for printing with Johannes Gutenberg. Notably, Strasbourg was the place where the world's first newspaper was printed. However, it also experienced darker periods such as massacres, sieges, and Nazi occupation. Since 1949, Strasbourg has been home to various European institutions, including the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, solidifying its role as a center of European governance.[2]

In June 2014, French President François Hollande proposed reducing the number of regions in France from 21 to 13 to streamline bureaucracy and cut costs. The plan was approved by the National Assembly in November 2014 and took effect on January 1, 2016. The new region, Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, covering northeastern France, was established. Residents participated in naming the region, with options including Acalie, Nouvelle-Austrasie, and Rhin-Champagne initially suggested but ultimately rejected. "Grand-Est" ("Great East"), proposed later, won 75 percent of the vote and was officially approved by the Conseil d’État on October 1.[4]