Do you want to visit the Grand Est and are looking for activities for your stay? Then, let’s discover the unique things to do in this region!
The Grand Est is an administrative region of France. It brings together three former regions. It, thus, covers the territory of Alsace, Lorraine, and Champagne-Ardenne. The region has long been a source of conflict between France and Germany.
But the Grand Est is bordered by Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. So, visiting the Grand Est is to discover a rather cosmopolitan region.
Marked by the many wars of our history, this region is a real jewel of our cultural heritage. Would you like to visit the Grand Est? So, here are 13 must-do things to do in this extraordinary corner of the country!
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The 13 Unique and Best Things to do in the Grand Est
1. The old town of Colmar
Often called the “little Venice,” Colmar is one of the most beautiful towns of ancient Alsace. It overlooks the Launch River and the Logelbach Canal like its Italian counterpart. But what makes the charm of Colmar is certainly its atypical architecture.
The town has been able to preserve medieval buildings, such as Renaissance half-timbering and many relics of the two wars. Besides being a charming city, it is a jewel of our historical heritage. An almost obligatory stop for those who wish to visit the Grand Est!
2. The Alsace Wine Route
Whether you are a lover of enology or not, going through a wine route is a great way to visit a place. The Grands Crus d’Alsace extends over almost 170 km. Also, it crosses magnificent villages of the region. You will discover splendid Alsatian scenery and unique culture from Colmar or Strasbourg!
Wondering what best things to do in Grand Est? Must taste local wines and discover extraordinary landscapes.
3. Gerardmer’s Land
We explored the Lorraine side of the Hohneck massif, which is wilder than the Vosges. This site has been nicknamed the land of Gerardmer because of the eponymous lake it contains. It is also the largest natural lake in the region.
Its splendid fir forests are home to wolves, boreal lynx, deer, and Tengmalm owls.
4. Lake Der-Chantecoq
Lake Der-Chantecoq is located a few kilometers from Paris. This artificial lake was built to protect the capital from the floods of the Seine.
Still, it attracts hundreds of visitors every year. Indeed, it will immerse you in the heart of a beautifully natural and wild setting. Its green flora and diverse fauna will immediately charm you.
5. The old town of Troyes
Troyes is famous for its emblematic cathedral. But this is not the only asset of this particular municipality! The city is indeed characterized by its magnificent traditional architecture. Between cobbled streets and half-timbered houses, you will have the impression of making a real leap in time.
Built-in the sixteenth century, these surprising houses undeniably charm this historic center.
6. The castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg
The castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg has been dominating Alsace since the twelfth century. The fortress rises to more than 750 meters above sea level. It is a medieval building of which some towers were built in the sixteenth century. It is a castle with a rich architectural heritage since it is part of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Visiting Haut-Koenigsbourg is always the most rewarding for history buffs and enthusiasts.
At the bend of Switzerland, Germany, and Franche-Comté, the Sundgau is full of exceptional landscapes. A few kilometers from the Jura, this small territory is dotted with green and wild valleys. Sundgau is a true paradise for cycling enthusiasts. It invites you to explore its natural expanses.
During your walk, you can discover authentic villages with magnificent architecture.
8. The Stanislas ensemble in Nancy
The last of the Dukes of Lorraine, Stanislas, created three atypical squares in the city of Nancy. In the eighteenth century, the father-in-law of Louis XV ordered the construction of three magnificent places in the city.
Place Stanislas, Place d’Alliance and Place de la Carrière were born. They are a set of neo-classical architecture inspired by the Rococo style of the Renaissance.
True jewels of our cultural heritage are among the first places classified by Unesco since 1983. And, of course, they are a must for those who wish to visit the Grand Est.
9. The hill of Sion-Vaudémont
This hill has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times. It stands in the middle of the Lorraine landscapes. Also, it offers a spectacular view of their enchanting scenery.
Climb to the top. You can admire the surroundings and visit the legendary basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Sion. Nothing like it to learn more about regional history!
10. Lake Madine & Hattonchâtel
In the heart of the Lorraine Natural Park, this site will immerse you in the exceptional landscapes of the region. Then, on the refreshing beaches of the lake, you can take the time to relax and unwind.
In front of you, a small green mound is emerging. Overlooking this enchanting setting, you can admire the medieval fortress of Hattonchâtel. Built-in the Middle Ages, it seems to protect the territory of its high fortifications.
11. Amnéville Zoo
This time we are in Lorraine for a slightly lighter activity. Built-in 1986, the Amnéville Zoo is one of the most visited in France. It is also one of the only ones in France to present orangutans and gorillas.
Its 2000 animals from five continents will make you travel around the globe.
Also, the zoo has one of the most beautiful collections of wild animals in Europe and a tiger show. Therefore, visiting this unique place will necessarily please young and old alike!
12. Reims Cathedral
Notre-Dame-de-Reims is one of the most emblematic buildings in the history of France. Indeed, it was the place of coronation of almost all the country’s monarchs. Its construction began in the thirteenth century and spanned nearly two centuries.
Reims Cathedral is considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the country. It will seduce both history buffs and visitors eager for discoveries!
Visiting Reims will be an unforgettable experience if you are a history lover.
13. Other activities to do in the Grand Est
This administrative region is marked by all eras of our rich French history. Grand Est has a rich cultural heritage and atypical landscapes. It will undoubtedly delight history lovers. Moreover, the region is not limited to these activities alone.
● The Ecomuseum of Alsace
● Ebersmunster Abbey
● The birthplace of Joan of Arc
● The Cathedral of Toul
● Travelers will also be able to visit many other exciting sites in the Vosges.
How to go to the Grand Est?
To visit the Grand Est, you can opt for the way of the air. If you choose to travel by plane, you can land in Strasbourg, Metz-Nancy, Vatry, or, Basel-Mulhouse. But do you want to find a flight offer at the best price? So, we recommend that you visit our partner’s website, Skyscanner.
You can rent a car or book a taxi at the airport with TaxiTender. It is an online booking platform that allows you to make an airport transfer reliably and affordably. Your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area, with a sign with your name on it. It will then take you to the exact place you want to go. Cancellation is free of charge. So if you booked an early morning flight to Strasbourg Airport or simply prefer to take a taxi to get to the airport, this platform is ideal.
Opting for the train can quickly start admiring the regional landscapes while going to your destination. The most central stations are Strasbourg, Reims, Troyes, Nancy and Colmar.
You can also travel by car on the main highways to visit the Grand Est. The most accessible road from Paris is the A31.
We recommend that you reach the Grand Est by one of the largest municipalities. Namely Reims, Troyes, Nancy or Colmar. As a result, you can choose to visit the city in question to start before apprehending your other visits. Besides being quite central, the region’s major cities are vital in their atypical architecture. Also, it will make it easier for you to find accommodation for your stay.
Where to stay in the Grand Est?
The administrative region of the Grand Est covers nearly 60,000 km² and vast territory. So there are many places to stay for your visit.
Yet, we advise you to opt for one of the prefectures in the area. Indeed, by orienting yourself towards a big city, you will have access to more activities and visits. Thus, we advise you to use a hotel comparator to find accommodation and visit the Grand Est.
This will help you choose the best cheap hotel for your stay. The price of a room for two people in high season varies between 30€ and 150€. Naturally, the rates are different from one city to another, depending on the type of hotel you choose.
For example, you can stay at the Hotel des Armes de Champagne for an affordable rate. Or you can book a night at the Strasbourg Hilton to treat yourself.
The area is also full of various accommodations for your stay. For lovers of culture and traditions, there are Airbnbs. This allows visitors to have a most immersive region experience and sleep in an atypical place. We hope our guide on “Unique and Best Things to do in the Grand Est” was helpful to you.