The Northeast: Champagne, Lorraine, Alsace

Three areas with strong identities comprise the region officially called Grand Est: Champagne, Lorraine and Alsace. Champagne, with Reims as its major city, has lent its name to the world's most evocative sparkling wine, though there area points of interest beyond the bubble, e.g. the town of Troyes. Lorraine, with Nancy and Metz as its main cities, still bears the scars of -- and the notable sights resulting from -- the First World War (Verdun, American cemeteries and monuments, etc.). Alsace is bordered by the Vosges Mountains to one side and the Rhine River to the other. Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse are its main cities. The Alsace Wine Route runs north-south through the heart of the province. To these three areas might be added a fourth, the French Ardennes, with Charleville-Mézières as its urban center.

Portrait of Camille Claudel (c) Musee Rodin, Paris

Camille Claudel’s Great-Niece Shines Light on the Sculptor’s Life and Work

The Camille Claudel Museum in Nogent sur Seine, 65 miles southeast of Paris, not only brings the sculptor out of the shadows of her Auguste Rodin, it also shines light on Claudel’s work as a talented and innovative sculptor in her own right. An interview of Camille Claudel’s great-niece, Reine-Marie Paris, by Janet Hulstrand.
Gabrielle Renard and Jean Renoir by Auguste Renoir in Essoyes. Photo Janet Hulstrand.

The Painter’s Wife: Aline Charigot Renoir and the Renoir Home in Essoyes

As the village of Essoyes in southern Champagne prepares to open Renoir’s home to the public and the surrounding department of Aube celebrates this as the Year of Renoir, Janet Hulstrand, a part-time American resident of Essoyes, examines the life of Aline Charigot Renoir, wife of the artist and mother of three artists.

The French Ardennes, Part 1. Charleville-Mézières: The Runaway Poet, Great Beer Bars and the...

Two hours by train from Paris, in Charleville-Mézières, capital of the French Ardennnes, near the Belgian border, the author glimpses the flight of Arthur Rimbaud, sets out to investigate beer and beer bars and encounters the giant lizard Mawhot.

The French Ardennes, Part 2. Charleville-Mézières: Place Ducale and the Bare-Ass Casserole

On the Place Ducale, the great square of Charleville-Mézières, the author tries the Ardennes' celebrated bare-ass casserole and encounters men and women in colorful robes and floppy hats during the Festival des Confréries.

The French Ardennes, Part 3: The Meuse, Sedan, More Beer and the Big Boar

In which the author continues his beer travels in the Ardennes and finds quirky bars, aspiring breweries, a magnificent view over the Meuse and an enormous boar named Woinic.

‘Tis the Season of Christmas Markets in France

A tour of some of France’s most lively of the Christmas markets: Alsace (Strasbourg, Colmar, Mulhouse), Champagne (Reims), Provence (Avignon, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence) and Paris.

An Investigation into Nasti Business in Kaysersberg, Alsace

Olivier Nasti may sound like the name of a villainous cartoon character, mean, bony, bitter and solitary, but the Olivier Nasti I met in the town of Kaysersberg in Alsace is a charming, round-cheeked chef and businessman with a strong sense family. Seven miles northwest of Colmar, in one of the small, colorful tourist-friendly towns along the Alsace wine route,...

Just a Glimpse: Colmar, Alsace

A brief stay in Colmar, capital of the Upper Rhine department of Alsace. The Hotel Marechal, the Unterlinden Museum, the Bartholdi Museum.

Vincent Dallet, Master Pastissier-Chocolatier in Epernay, and His Recipe for Champagne Biscuits (Biscuits Roses)

Vincent Dallet invites us into his pastry and chocolate school in Epernay to make the Champagne region's famous "biscuits roses" or "biscuits roses de Reims," known in English as champagne biscuits, and shares the recipe with our readers.

Private Paris & France Tours

Award-winning travel writer and editor Gary Lee Kraut is the go-to guy for individuals and agencies seeking personalized tours, events and advice in Paris and throughout France.

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