8 essential urban adventures in Eastern France

Chic, spirited and sometimes rebellious, with real personality, inspiring stories, friendly trails, grand sites, timeless beauty and a fighting spirit. The cities of Eastern France are constantly reinventing themselves, with their eyes fixed firmly on the future. Visit for a few hours or a few days: here's some inspiration!


With a subtle blend of tradition and modernity, the city of Strasbourg (External link) invites you on an exceptional journey through time. From Germanic architecture to half-timbered houses, via the Grande Île and the Neustadt district - both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites - this European capital will satisfy every desire for discovery. Admire the Gothic architecture of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, described by Victor Hugo as a 'prodigy of the gigantic and the delicate', and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a remarkable Renaissance building opening onto Gutenberg Square. You'll be won over by the culture and heritage of Strasbourg, and especially by picturesque Petite France, with its Venetian atmosphere.


Combining Renaissance, Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles, Nancy (External link) , the capital of the Dukes of Lorraine, is an amazing city. The Place Stanislas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the Place de la Carrière and the Place d'Alliance, are considered to be among the most beautiful in Europe. Every evening at dusk, a magical moment awaits you with 'Rendez-vous Place Stan', a light show projected on the façade of the town hall. In Nancy, history and modernity rub shoulders: after having admired key places such as the Cordeliers church or the Old Town, the historic core of the city wrapped around the Ducal Palace and the Grande Rue, the famous Red Bull will invite you to embark on ADN Art, a street art trail of 30 works around the city centre.


The city of Reims has an exceptional history and heritage. Its two UNESCO World Heritage Sites bear witness to this: the first for Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral, the Tau Palace and the former Saint Rémi Abbey, and the second for the Champagne landscapes. With its 2,000 years of history, Reims will seduce you with the diversity of its historical sites, from Gallo-Roman ruins to medieval monuments and numerous museums like the Museum of Fine Arts. The hedonists among you will find Reims a true paradise, with delicious local specialities and - of course - champagne. One of the highlights is undoubtedly visiting the champagne houses, bars and vineyards.


Romantic canals, flowery windows, half-timbered houses and mazes of cobbled streets... situated on the Alsace Wine Route, Colmar (External link) is a quintessential Alsatian town. The charm of yesteryear and the remarkable heritage of the Petite Venise district enchant visitors. The famous Tanneurs area with its typical white-fronted houses, and the majestic Collegiate Church of Saint-Martin with its Gothic architecture, are also must-sees during your visit. Being Alsace's wine capital, Colmar is also the ideal starting point for a trip to the vineyards, as well as a gateway to the friendly Alsatian villages and the many chateaux including Haut-Koenigsbourg. It's one of the best places to experience French art de vivre: life's all about pleasure here!


With its majestic Saint-Etienne Cathedral, Centre Pompidou-Metz (a leading centre for contemporary art) and Porte des Allemands, an impressive fortress at the entrance to the city, Metz (External link) boasts plenty of culture and heritage. This is combined with the rural charm of its market, gardens and lakes. The main train station, the Gare de Metz, has been voted several times as France's most beautiful with its neo-Romanesque style.


The historic, medieval capital of Champagne, Troyes (External link) has an irresistible atmosphere. From cellars to historic sites, through its winding streets and half-timbered houses, this charming City of Art and History leaves no visitor unmoved. Discovery itineraries will take you through the town's nine districts and plunge you into an atmosphere full of colours and flavours. Almost immediately you go from town to countryside: the beautiful Troyes la Champagne hinterland is equally worth exploring, with the Champagne plain, lakes and rolling hills.


Mulhouse (External link) 's industrial past has given it a richness. Another City of Art and History, the so-called 'French Manchester' shines today with its creative and innovative universe: architectural wonders in the historic centre, street art, tech museums, Alsace eco-museum, pop-up installations and allotments. Mulhouse will surprise you with its dynamism and good vibes, in an original part of Eastern France whose culture and heritage are equally interesting.


Ideally situated on the banks of the Meuse, Charleville-Mézières (External link) is another classified 'Ville d'Art et d'Histoire'. Stroll around the impressive Place Ducale, an architectural jewel from the 17th century that will remind you of Paris' Place des Vosges. There's a museum dedicated to Arthur Rimbaud, a World Puppet Theatre Festival and an eco festival, Cabaret Vert. If you're interested by the Middle Ages, don't miss Sedan: go back in time and discover the largest chateau in Europe! A peaceful greenway links these two charming Ardennes towns, following the gentle meanders of the Meuse.