By Phil Hanlon
Lorraine is one the 26 administrative regions of France and is located in the northeast of the country near to the German border. There are two major cities in the area of Lorraine, Metz and Nancy, as well as lots of countryside for hikers and cyclists to explore. The region has its own strong culture, including local German dialects, though everyone you meet will also speak French. While visiting, you should try the specialty of the area: Quiche Lorraine.
Metz and Nancy
Metz is considered the capital of the Lorraine region and is a town that dates from Roman times. There are numerous churches in the modern town of Metz that are worth visiting, including the Gothic cathedral of St Stephen and a Romanesque Protestant church on an island in the Jardin d'Amour or Garden of Love. The city is also home to a branch of Paris' Pompidou centre, displaying works of contemporary art from the permanent collection in the capital. The museums of Metz, also known as the Golden Courtyard, are split into four sections covering archaeology, medieval history, architecture and fine arts.
Nancy is home to the impressive Place Stanislas at the heart of the town. In the summer, there are pavement cafes and street performers in the square, but it is still worth visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site at any other time of the year. The city has a strong art nouveau connection, which influences many of the buildings you can still see today and can be seen in many of the artefacts at the Musee de l'Ecole de Nancy. If you want to escape the city streets, there is also a botanical garden in the town, an aquarium and a museum dedicated to the history and culture of Lorraine.
The landscape in the Lorraine region is ideally suited to three sports; walking, riding and mountain biking, though there are also winter sports areas in the region when the snow is falling. One of the more unusual ways of exploring the region is on a "rail bike" or drasine. This unusual contraption uses an old railway line through some of the most beautiful Lorraine countryside that was closed in the 1990s. Now families can climb aboard a rail bike and cycle along the track enjoying the view without having to worry about traffic. Children may also enjoy a donkey ride in the Vosges Mountains or a ride on a motorised Skidoo if you're visiting in the winter.
The Author writes for Holiday Home Rentals who have a selection of Chalets in Lorraine and Villas in France which can be rented direct from their owners.
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