Lorraine A land of contrasts

"Passing through Lorraine," you will love the variety of the landscapes. From the Meuse countryside to the pretty cities of Metz and Nancy by way of the Vosges mountains, there is always somewhere to visit in this beautiful region in the east of France.

Benoît Caillard has been running the INTER-HOTEL Moderne, a handsome 2-star building opposite Metz station, since 1989. When we ask Benoît to talk about his region, he is effusive: Lorraine is a land of contrasts. I like its clear-cut seasons: a cold winter and a hot summer. The region is rolling and green. Visitors can take beautiful walks in the forest and it's strategically situated, an hour and a half from Paris by train with the major European motorway junctions nearby.

Lorraine: a rich cultural and artistic heritage

While out on a stroll in the city of Metz, you will discover the magnificent Saint-Etienne cathedral (the third highest in France with an interior height of 134 feet and almost 70,000 square feet of stained glass windows, including work by Marc Chagall), the golden courtyard (Cour d'Or) museums and their archaeological collections, the medieval Saint-Louis square, the water, the parks and gardens, and the dynamism of a beautiful commercial city with pedestrian streets. The Pompidou-Metz Centre, just over 300 yards from the INTER-HOTEL Moderne, hosts many internationally-renowned events such as exhibitions, theatre and dance shows, etc.

Just three miles from Houdemont, you will find the main touristic sights in Nancy: its famous Stanislas square, a UNESCO Humanities World Heritage Site that became pedestrian-only several years ago, the Fine Arts museums, and the Ecole de Nancy museum. 

Further south near Chavelot, the town of Epinal will also delight you. Explore its castle, museums and Saint-Maurice Basilica. Then set off for Remiremont. Come and be surprised by the 11th-century Roman chapels and the abbey-church dating back to the 13th century. End your break in Saint-Avold (near Creutzwald). The town is home to the largest American military Second World War cemetery in Europe.

Sports celebration

Enjoy your favourite sports in Lorraine: hiking, horse riding, mountain biking and cycling, canoeing-kayaking, sailing and golf. "Water tourism is also booming," adds Benoît Caillard. The region also offers a very popular theme park (Walygator, nine miles from Metz) and a Snowhall (the largest indoor ski slope in Europe) in Amnéville. So thrill seekers are not left out.

Despite its resolutely modern outlook, Lorraine's industrial and steel past is still very much a part of the region. This land of contrasts will delight fans of history, culture and nature.

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