|[Saint-Etienne Church, Bar-le-Duc]|
Since right now I'm probably too stuffed from my "adopted" French mom's garden-to-table home cooking (I plan to take rigorous notes between folk-fulls), I'm writing this post ahead of time to give a little window into what's special about the Lorraine. Just a few things I observed during out last trip which make the region stand out from other areas of France. Really, it's such a beautiful country I guess we don't need to search that hard to find something to love. But, I'll give it a good go anyway.
1. Grand Squares
|[Place Stanislas, Nancy]|
If you've stepped anywhere near Paris, you are sure to be considerably wow'd by the grandeur of its monuments, squares, and public works. While I love the sprawling landscape which makes Provence an idyllic "nature escape", I can't help but yearn for a bit of gilded French grandeur every once in awhile. With splendid squares like Place Stanislas, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, you're sure to get your fill of Gaulic inspiration in the Lorraine.
2. Beautiful Cathedrals
|[Basilique Saint-Epvre, Nancy]|
Again, in a country of awe-inspiring cathedrals, it's definitely hard to pick a favorite. I remember quite a blissful late-spring morning spent in the Reims Cathedral that quite literally took my breath away and almost put a stop to our afternoon champagne-cave hopping (huge emphasis on almost here). So just when you thought you'd seen it all, or a few glasses of the bubbly had made you think you had, the Lorraine offers it's own set of exquisite cathedrals, including the Nancy Cathedral and the Metz Cathedral (the city most recently known for becoming home to the latest extension of the Pompidou Center in Paris).
3. The Madeleine
Now if someone could annex a pain au chocolat factory to the town of Commercy (the birthplace of the madeleine), I think we might just have maybe one of the newest tourist centers in France & quite possibly one of the most delicious. Anyhoo, these golden darlings are on our breakfast table every morning & they're simply yummy.
4. Historical Sites
|[WWI Memorial & city of Verdun along the Meuse river]|
If you're a history buff, then the Lorraine is for you. Whether it's touring the WWI battlefields & monuments in Verdun, or a visit to the home & library of Charles de Gaulle, the region has much to offer in terms of historical significance for France & Europe at large. And you'll certainly find a proud, humble people more than willing to share their stories.
5. A Taste of Country Life
Long rolling-hills, grazing cows, and organic (biologique) farms dotted along the road make the Lorraine an excellent place to escape for some fine French-country living. Well, we don't really have a lot to "slow down" a lot from living in the South of France, but traveling to the north does bring a surprising change of landscape and a richness of cuisine not found in Provence. Besides rich and indulgent quiches & tarts, the region also adapts some flavors from it's neighbor, Alsace. All I know is that we've been promised a heaping plate of sauerkraut & sausages on Saturday which puts us in a whole other category of hearty, fall delights.
Hope everyone has some equally delicious plans for the weekend... bon weekend à tous from the Lorraine!