Alsace is a cultural one-off. With its Germanic dialect and French sense of fashion, love of foie gras and choucroute (sauerkraut), fine wine and beer, this region often leaves you wondering quite where you are. Where are you? Why, in the land of living fairy tales, of course, where vineyards fade into watercolour distance, hilltop castles send spirits soaring higher than the region’s emblematic storks and half-timbered villages garlanded with geraniums look fresh-minted for a Disney film set.
Lorraine has high culture and effortless grace thanks to its historic roll call of dukes and art-nouveau pioneers, who had an eye for grand designs and good living. The art and architecture in blessedly underrated cities like Nancy and Metz leave visitors spellbound, while the region's WWI battlefields render visitors speechless time and again with their painful beauty.