The Lorraine region in France is now part of the Alsace Champagne-Ardenne Lorraine Region. It lies between the former independent Regions of Alsace and the Champagne. It is brimming over with history. You will frequently hear the regions combined as Alsace Lorraine and it may take a while for people to think about including the Champagne Region now that they are combined!
The Lorraine has passed back and forth between Germany and France for years. In 1918 it finally came to be part of France – but in 1940 the Lorraine region returned briefly to German possession during WW II.
Bar le Duc, France: Lorraine Region (now part of the combined regions of Alsace Champagne-Ardenne Lorraine)
Canal St Mihiel, Lorraine Region France (now part of the combined regions of Alsace Champagne-Ardenne Lorraine)
We stayed in the heart of the region in the village of Koeur le Grande. It was an easy cycle ride via the canal to St Mihiel and had it not been for the rain, cycling to Verdun would have been a possibility. We did get a few dry days to cycle and opted for the open road instead of heading into a major town. Cycling photos can be found at this link.
I fell in love with this region in part due to the history of World War I and in part for its beauty. If you are a history buff, there a literally hundreds of war memorial sites to visit. We spent a day in Verdun and another day follow battle field routes that led us to the Douaumont Memorial and Fort Douaumont.
One place that touched my heart was the village of Fleury. All that remains of a village that once had nearly 400 inhabitants is the memorial.
Walking the paths that were once streets and seeing the markers for each house or shop brought us face to face with the full force of the losses suffered during World War I. It was particularly chilling to stand on a mound of grass, see roof tiles piercing the turf and to realize you were standing on the remains of someone’s destroyed home.
Fleury Memorial Chapel
Fleury, France: path through what was once the village
Stanislav Square, Nancy
On our way to Nancy we stopped in Commercy, home of the madeleine. The madeleine is a small pound cake type shell-shaped cookie. At the bakery in Commercy you can sample these delights warm from the oven, shop for goodies to take away or just enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a fresh Madeline. We could not agree on one flavor so we brought back an assortment which included original, chocolate, original with chocolate icing, lime and strawberry. Some of them made it all the way back to the US, but not many. Because of rain, we did not get to cycle in this part of the Alsace Champagne-Ardenne Lorraine Region France but I can imagine nothing more delightful than the smell of these madeleines wafting through the air while you pedaled through the countryside.
Southeast of Nancy you will find two very interesting sites to visit! The first is Domrémy-la-Pucelle in the Alsace Champagne-Ardenne Lorraine Region France, the birthplace of Joan of Arc. In this little village you can wander through Joan of Arc’s home and visit the church where she received her vision from God. Just 20 km from Domremy is the Gallo-Roman Amphitheater at Grand as well as a beautifully preserved mosaic. Both these sites can easily be visited in one day.
Metz , the largest city in this region, lies on the Moselle river The cathedral here is beautiful. Although it dates to the 13th century it has stained glass ranging from its conception to the 20th century. The windows design by Chagall are particularly beautiful. Don’t miss out on the covered market which faces the cathedral square. It has a wonderful tea shop tucked in the far back corner. Along with the main cathedral, St Pierre-aux-Nonnains which dates from the 6th century and The Templars Chapel are both worth a visit.