Alsace and Lorraine

Overview

Introduction

The two regions of Alsace and Lorraine are linked historically by the fact that, for centuries, they were fought over by the French and the Germans. After being claimed by Germany in the Franco-Prussian War, they were won back by France in World War I. Each has its own distinctive character, and they are easily visited together.

Strasbourg is the largest city in the Alsace-Lorraine region, which runs along France's eastern edge and borders Germany and Switzerland. For centuries, the city was wrestled back and forth between the Germans and the French, resulting in a curious—and often rewarding—mixture of language, culture and food. (Be sure to try choucroute, the French version of sauerkraut, and sample some of the city's excellent beer.) Strasbourg is also one of the European Union's three capitals (the other two are Brussels and Luxembourg City) and the seat of the parliament of the EU.

The ancient and scenic city of Strasbourg has many attractions. Chief among them are the impressive covered bridges, half-timbered houses (the best being the Cour du Corbeau), the red-sandstone Gothic cathedral and its astronomical clock (watch its automated rooster at 12:30 pm).

Strasbourg, 303 mi/489 km east of Paris, is a fun city for walking, especially in the Petit France quarter.

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