Lorraine is located in Northern Eastern France and shares borders with Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty with a very varied landscape and three National Parks. Although 90% of the land is given over to agricultural uses, this was an important area for heavy industry, mining and steel works. Traditionally Lorraine owed it’s prosperity to these heavier industries and when they began to decline in the later part of the last century, the region started to suffer economically. However as these former heavier industries have fallen in to decline, Lorraine has managed to replace then with modern industries like car manufacture, plastics, paper and electrical goods. The region is also famous for it’s crystal, notably; St. Louis, Baccarat, Daum & Sèvres.
Except for the Vosges Montains which are located in in the southeast and the ridges paralleling the Moselle and Meuse rivers, Lorraine is a region of soft plateau with grazing pastures and agricultural districts. Hops for beer making are grown in the area and many large French breweries can be found here as well as the traditional vineyards In the east are the salt mines and previously coal was mined in this area but this has now all but stopped. As mentioned above, the north-eastern section of the region was once the industrial centre, with it’s mining and steel industries, this once vital part of the economy, has seen thousands of jobs lost since the early 1980s as the low-grade iron ore found near the Belgian and Luxembourg borders and near Nancy proved no match for superior and often cheaper supplies coming from abroad.
You will find holiday homes and rental property in the arena but mostly they are owned by the French themselves. As many as 6 million people a year visit this region sometimes on business, mostly to admire the wonderful scenery and clean air. The regions consists of the departments of Moselle. Meuse, Meurthe et Moselle and Vosges. The regions capital is Metz and other important towns include Bar le Duc, Briey, Nancy, Verdun and Epinal.
The climate is very similar to the south of England, with cool winters and warm summers, but rarely extremes of temperature. The rainfall is quite high, with highest rainfall being in May and June, thus if you like a more temperate climate and plenty of fresh air, this may be the region of France for you.
Lorraine, often mentioned in the same phrase as neighbouring Alsace has been a contested region throughout history. Because of it’s geographical position, Lorraine has always been the scene of wars and invasions. sometimes French, sometimes German. In fact the region has many Germanic features as until the 17th century, the area was mostly populated by Germans. As recently as the end of the first world war saw this region under German control, it became independent for a short time before being annexed by France. Then during the second world war, it again fell under German control until after many devastating battles, it was again handed back to the French in 1944, the area is the solemn home to the largest American cemetery in France.
Metz is the capital of Lorraine and is located in Moselle, like Strasbourg, Metz, is very close to the German border and has changed hands on numerous occasions over the years and now retains influences of both countries. Although it does not have a reputation as a tourist city, it does have plenty of things to do, there are many marvellous buildings from the Roman baths and amphitheatre to the grand renaissance buildings and museums housing a military collection and fine arts.
Nancy, Lorraine’s former capital is a city full of delights and hidden surprises. It’s sumptuous Place Stanislas, is located in the the old town, there are plenty of fountains and splendid wrought iron gates and numerous other attractions in this friendly city. Nancy was the birthplace of Art Nouveau and remains a firm European cultural centre with a very large student population that all require rental property.
As mentioned above, this area welcomes 6 million visitors a year, there is plenty of outdoor activity, winter sports are very popular at Bresse and Gerardmer and there are over 700km of navigable waterways..
Property prices in this are well below the national average and at the present moment holiday home ownership is on the low side. Quite why this area has been overlooked is a bit of a mystery, it’s very pretty, there’s plenty to do and you may b able to obtain more property for your money than elsewhere. Perhaps one of the reasons is that to reach the area by plane, you have to fly in to neighbouring Alsace, by train from Paris to Metz will take about 3 hours.
Guide to Lorraine, France. Departments
54 Meurthe et Moselle
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