Grand Est

Grand Est[2] (French pronunciation: [ɡʁɑ̃t‿ɛst] (listen); English: "Great East"; German: Großer Osten—both in the Alsatian and the Lorraine Franconian dialect), previously Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine (ACAL or less commonly, ALCA),[3] is an administrative region in eastern France. It superseded three former administrative regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine—on 1 January 2016, as a result of territorial reform which was passed by the French legislature in 2014.[4][5] Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine was a provisional name, created by hyphenating the merged regions in alphabetical order; its regional council had to approve a new name for the region by 1 July 2016.[5] France's Conseil d'État approved Grand Est as the new name of the region on 28 September 2016, effective 30 September 2016.[6] The administrative capital and largest city is Strasbourg.

Grand Est
Grand Est in France 2016
Country France
PrefectureStrasbourg Strasbourg
 • PresidentJean Rottner (The Republicans)
 • Total57,433 km2 (22,175 sq mi)
 • Total5,555,186
 • Density97/km2 (250/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166 codeFR-GES
GDP (2013)Ranked
Total€150.3 billion (US$207.0 bn)
Per capita€27,085 (US$37,312)


Provisional name

The provisional name of the region was Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, which is formed by combining the names of the three present regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine—in alphabetical order with hyphens. The formula for the provisional name of the region was established by the territorial reform law and applied to all but one of the provisional names for new regions.[5] The ACAL regional council, which was elected in December 2015, was given the task of choosing a name for the region and submitting it to the Conseil d'État—France's highest authority for administrative law—by 1 July 2016 for approval.[5][7] The provisional name of the region was retired on 30 September 2016, when the new name of the region, Grand Est, took effect.[6]

In Alsace and in Lorraine, the new region has frequently been called ALCA, for Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardennes, on the internet.[8]

Like the name Région Hauts-de-France (and, until 2015, the name Région Centre), the name Région Grand Est contains no reference whatsoever to the area's history or identity, but merely describes its geographical location within metropolitan France.

Permanent name

In a poll conducted in November 2014 by France 3 in Champagne-Ardenne, Grand Est (29.16%) and Austrasie (22.65%) were the top two names among 25 candidates and 4,701 votes.[9] Grand Est also topped a poll the following month conducted by L'Est Républicain, receiving 42% of 3,324 votes.[10]

The names which received a moderate amount of discussion were:

  • Grand Est français, a term used to refer to the northeast quarter of Metropolitan France, although this term refers to a geographic region larger than just ACAL. The term has been commonly used and topped the polls mentioned above.
  • Grand Est Europe (Great East Europe), a variant of Grand Est that alludes to the region being a gateway to Europe both through trade and since Strasbourg is home to several European institutions (which makes it one of the three unofficial capitals of the European Union).[11] However, the name was mocked for how it could suggest that the region is in Eastern Europe.[12]
  • Austrasie (Austrasia), which refers to an historical region spanning parts of present-day northeast France, the Benelux, and northwest Germany.[9][10]
  • Quatre frontières (Four Frontiers), which refers to the region's border with four countries.[9]


Grand Est covers 57,433 square kilometres (22,175 sq mi) of land and is the sixth-largest of the regions of France. Grand Est borders four countries—Belgium (Wallonia region), Luxembourg (Cantons of Esch-sur-Alzette and Remich), Germany,[13] and Switzerland[14]—along its northern and eastern sides. It is the only French region to border more than two countries. To the west and south, it borders the French regions Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France, and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine et provinces
Map of the new region with its ten départements, colored according to the historical provinces as they existed until 1790.


Grand Est contains ten departments: Ardennes, Aube, Bas-Rhin, Marne, Haute-Marne, Haut-Rhin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Vosges.


The main ranges in the region include the Vosges to the east and the Ardennes to the north.


The region is bordered on the east by the Rhine, which forms about half of the border with Germany. Other major rivers which flow through the region include the Meuse, Moselle, Marne, and Saône.

Lakes in the region include lac de Gérardmer, lac de Longemer, lac de Retournemer, lac des Corbeaux, Lac de Bouzey, lac de Madine, étang du Stock and lac de Pierre-Percée.


Grand Est climate depends of the proximity of the sea. In Champagne and Western Lorraine, the climate is oceanic, with mild winters and mild summers. But Moselle and Alsace climates are humid continental, characterized by cold winters with frequent days below the freezing point, and hot summers, with many days with temperatures up to 32°C.



Strasbourg manifestation contre la fusion des régions 23 novembre 2014
Protesters of the Alsace independence movement holding a banner saying "No to merger" (Non a la fusion), 2014 in Strasbourg.

Grand Est is the result of territorial reform legislation passed in 2014 by the French Parliament to reduce the number of regions in Metropolitan France—the part of France in continental Europe—from 22 to 13.[15] Grand Est is the merger of three regions: Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine.


The merger has been, and still is, strongly opposed by some groups in Alsace, and a large majority of Alsatians.[16][17] The territorial reform law allows new regions to choose the seat of the regional councils, but specifically made Strasbourg the seat of the Grand Est regional council—a move to appease the region's politicians.[18]


The region has an official population of 5,555,186 (municipal population on 1 January 2016).[1]

Cities with over 20,000 inhabitants Former region 2016
Strasbourg Alsace 279,284
Reims Champagne-Ardenne 183,113
Metz Lorraine 117,890
Mulhouse Alsace 108,999
Nancy Lorraine 104,592
Colmar Alsace 69,899
Troyes Champagne-Ardenne 60,640
Charleville-Mézières Champagne-Ardenne 46,682
Châlons-en-Champagne Champagne-Ardenne 44,980
Thionville Lorraine 40,586
Haguenau Alsace 34,460
Schiltigheim Alsace 31,811
Épinal Lorraine 31,558
Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy Lorraine 30,182
Illkirch-Graffenstaden Alsace 26,837
Saint-Dizier Champagne-Ardenne 24,932
Épernay Champagne-Ardenne 23,084
Chaumont Champagne-Ardenne 22,367
Montigny-lès-Metz Lorraine 21,713
Forbach Lorraine 21,627
Sarreguemines Lorraine 20,944
Saint-Louis Alsace 20,642
2016 Rank Department Legal Population in 2016 Area (km²) Aroen (Pop./km²) INSEE Dept. No.
1 Bas-Rhin 1,121,407 4,755 236 67
2 Moselle 1,045,271 6,216 168 57
3 Haut-Rhin 762,743 3,525 216 68
4 Meurthe-et-Moselle 733,821 5,246 140 54
5 Marne 570,883 8,162 70 51
6 Vosges 369,641 5,874 63 88
7 Aube 308,910 6,004 51 10
8 Ardennes 275,371 5,229 53 08
9 Meuse 189,055 6,211 30 55
10 Haute-Marne 178,084 6,211 29 52


Regional council

Séance plénière inaugurale conseil région ACAL 4 janvier 2016
Inaugural session of the new Regional council on 4 January 2016
Alsace Regional Council headquarters in Strasbourg January 2013
The current headquarters of the Alsace Regional Council, which serves as the headquarters of Grand Est's regional council

The regional council has limited administrative authority, mostly concerning the promotion of the region's economy and financing educational and cultural activities. The regional council has no legislative authority. The seat of the regional council will be Strasbourg. The regional council, elected in December 2015, is controlled by The Republicans.[19] The elected inaugural president of the Grand Est Regional Council is Philippe Richert, who was previously the President of the Alsace Regional Council.[19] The current president is Jean Rottner.

Transport and infrastructure

Rail transport

The region has five tram networks:


The region has four airports:


The region has eighteen motorways:

  • A4 Paris to Strasbourg
  • A5 Paris to Langres
  • A26 Calais to Troyes
  • A30 Uckange to Longwy in N52
  • A31 Beaune to Luxembourg in A3 motorway (Luxembourg)
  • A33 Nancy to Phalsbourg in N4
  • A34 Reims to Sedan
  • A35 Strasbourg to Basel
  • A36 Beaune to Mulhouse
  • A304 project in city of Charleville-Mézières
  • A313 in city of Pont-à-Mousson
  • A314 and A315 in city of Metz
  • A320 in city of Forbach
  • A330 in city of Nancy
  • A340 Brumath to Haguenau in D1340
  • A344 in city of Reims
  • A351 in city of Strasbourg
  • A352 Molsheim to Schirmeck in D1420

The region has twelve cities that have ring roads:

  • Strasbourg
  • Reims
  • Metz
  • Nancy
  • Mulhouse
  • Troyes
  • Châlons-en-Champagne
  • Épinal
  • Colmar
  • Thionville
  • Longwy


Thann Saint-Thiébaut Westportal 372
West portal of St Theobald's Church of Thann, a masterpiece of late 14th-century sculpture and architecture.

Grand Est is rich with architectural monuments from the Roman Empire to the early 21st century.

Gothic architecture is particularly conspicuous, with many famous cathedrals, basilicas and churches, such as Reims Cathedral, Strasbourg Cathedral, Metz Cathedral, Troyes Cathedral, Châlons Cathedral, Toul Cathedral, the Basilica of L'Épine, the Basilica of Saint-Nicolas-de-Port, the Basillica of Avioth, the Basilica of St. Urbain in Troyes, Thann Church, Niederhaslach Church, Notre-Dame-en-Vaux, St. George's Church, Sélestat and St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Wissembourg.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Populations légales 2016". Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  2. ^ ""Grand Est": les élus valident le nom de région". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  3. ^ Dupuis-Remond, Dupuis-Remond (18 December 2014). "Débat d'orientation budgétaire : la Grande Région ALCA dans tous les esprits – France 3 Lorraine". France 3 (in French). Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  4. ^ "La carte à 13 régions définitivement adoptée". Le Monde (in French). Agence France-Presse. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Loi n° 2015–29 du 16 janvier 2015 relative à la délimitation des régions, aux élections régionales et départementales et modifiant le calendrier électoral, article 2(I) (in French)
  6. ^ a b Décret n° 2016-1262 du 28 septembre 2016 portant fixation du nom de la région Grand Est (in French)
  7. ^ Quel nom pour la nouvelle région ? Vous avez choisi..., Sud-Ouest, 4 December 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2015
  8. ^ "Cette région que l'Alsace ne veut pas baptiser". Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace (in French). 7 December 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  9. ^ a b c "Votez pour le nom de la future grande région Champagne-Ardenne – Lorraine – Alsace". France 3 Champagne-Ardenne (in French). France Télévisions. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Choisissez un nom pour la Grande Région". L'Est Républicain (in French). 2 December 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  11. ^ Bach, Christian (21 June 2015). "Région Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardenne : le nom de la chose..." Derniers nouvelles d'Alsace (in French). Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  12. ^ Baldit, Etienne (21 July 2015). "Philippot refuse le nom 'Grand Est Europe' pour sa région : "Et pourquoi pas 'Roumanie' ?"". Europe 1 (in French). Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  13. ^ Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland
  14. ^ Cantons of Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Jura and Solothurn
  15. ^ "La carte à 13 régions définitivement adoptée". Le Monde (in French). 17 December 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Le malaise Alsacien ne décroit pas". L'Alsace (in French). 21 February 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Grand Est: Philippe Richert, le "fossoyeur" de l'Alsace, démissionne". L'Express (in French). 30 September 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  18. ^ "Strasbourg sera la capitale de la future région Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine". Le Monde (in French). 20 November 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015. [Members of the National Assembly] decided Thursday, 20 November to designate in advance Strasbourg as the capital of the future region Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine in a gesture to appease the Alsatian politicians. (From French: Les députés ont décidé jeudi 20 novembre de désigner par avance Strasbourg comme capitale de la future grande région Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine dans un geste d'apaisement vis-à-vis des élus alsaciens.)
  19. ^ a b "Alsace – Champagne-Ardenne – Lorraine: Nouveau Conseil Régional". Elections régionales et des assemblées de Corse, Guyane et Martinique 2015. Ministre de l’Intérieur. Retrieved 14 December 2015.

External links

Coordinates: 48°45′16″N 5°51′06″E / 48.7544°N 5.8517°E

Bust, Bas-Rhin

Bust (German: Büst) is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.

Champagne (province)

Champagne (French pronunciation: ​[ʃɑ̃paɲ]) is a historical province in the northeast of France, now best known as the Champagne wine region for the sparkling white wine that bears its name. It was founded in 1065 near the city of Provins and was made up of different counties descended from the early medieval kingdom of Austrasia.

Formerly ruled by the counts of Champagne, its western edge is about 160 km (100 miles) east of Paris. The cities of Troyes, Reims, and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area. In 1956, most of Champagne became part of the French administrative region of Champagne-Ardenne, which comprised four departments: Ardennes, Aube, Haute-Marne, and Marne. From 1 January 2016, Champagne-Ardenne merged with the adjoining region of Alsace-Lorraine to form the new region of Grand Est.

The name Champagne comes from the Latin campania and referred to the similarities between the rolling hills of the province and the Italian countryside of Campania located south of Rome.

In the High Middle Ages, the province was famous for the Champagne fairs, which were very important in the economy of the Western societies. The chivalric romance had its first beginnings in the county of Champagne with the famous writer Chrétien de Troyes who wrote stories of the Round Table from the Arthurian legends.

A few counts of Champagne were French kings with the comital title merging with the French crown in 1314 when Louis I, king of Navarre and count of Champagne, became king of France as Louis X. Counts of Champagne were highly considered by the French aristocracy.


Champdray is a commune in the Vosges department in Grand Est in northeastern France.

Champdray is situated in the Vosges, Lorraine region (now part of the Grand-Est region), in the north-east of France at 23 km from Epinal, the department capital.


Dahlenheim is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.

Grand Est Open 88

The Grand Est Open 88 (previously known as the Open 88 Contrexéville and the Lorraine Open 88) is a tournament for professional female tennis players played on outdoor clay courts. The event is classified as a $100,000 ITF Women's Circuit tournament and has been held in Contrexéville, France, since 2007.


Haut-Rhin (French pronunciation: ​[oʁɛ̃]; Alsatian: Owerelsàss or ‘s Iwerlànd); German: Oberelsass) is a department in the Grand Est region of France, named after the river Rhine. Its name means Upper Rhine. Haut-Rhin is the smaller and less populated of the two departments of the former administrative Alsace region, especially after the 1871 cession of the southern territory known since 1922 as Territoire de Belfort, although it is still densely populated compared to the rest of metropolitan France.


Haute-Marne (French pronunciation: ​[ot.maʁn]) is a department in the northeast of France named after the Marne River.


Jebsheim is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.


Kauffenheim is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France. It lies twenty kilometres (twelve miles) to the east of Haguenau, and a short distance from the main north-south autoroute in Grand Est.

Marne (department)

Marne (French pronunciation: ​[maʁn]) is a department in north-eastern France named after the river Marne (Matrona in Roman times) which flows through the department. The prefecture (capital) of Marne is Châlons-en-Champagne (formerly known as Châlons-sur-Marne). The subprefectures are Épernay, Reims, and Vitry-le-François.

The Champagne vineyards producing the world-famous sparkling wine are located within Marne.


Meurthe-et-Moselle (French pronunciation: ​[mœʁte mɔzɛl]) is a department in the Grand Est region of France, named after the Meurthe and Moselle rivers.

Meuse (department)

Meuse (French pronunciation: ​[møz]) is a department in northeast France, named after the River Meuse. Meuse is part of the current region of Grand Est and is surrounded by the French departments of Ardennes, Marne, Haute-Marne, Vosges, Meurthe-et-Moselle, and has a short border with Belgium on the north. Parts of Meuse belong to Parc naturel régional de Lorraine. Front lines in trench warfare during World War I ran varying courses through the department and it hosted an important battle/offensive in 1916 in and around Verdun.

Moselle (department)

Moselle (French pronunciation: ​[mɔzɛl]) is the most populous department in Lorraine, in the east of France, and is named after the river Moselle, a tributary of the Rhine, which flows through the western part of the department. Inhabitants of the department are known as Mosellans.

Neufchâteau, Vosges

Neufchâteau (French pronunciation: ​[nøʃɑto]) is a commune in the Vosges department in Grand Est in northeastern France.

Inhabitants are called Néocastriens.


Oberlauterbach is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.


Ratzwiller (German: Ratzweiler) is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.


Richeval (German: Reichental) is a commune in the Moselle department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.

Richeval is situated in the Moselle, Lorraine region (now part of the Grand-Est region), in the north-east of France at 76 km from Metz, the department capital. (General information: Richeval is 335 km from Paris).

Popular places to visit nearby include Saint-Quirin at 12 km and Le Struthof at 33 km.


Rittershoffen is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.

Vosges (department)

Vosges (French pronunciation: [voʒ] (listen)) is an eastern department of France named after the Vosges mountain range. It consists of 17 cantons and 507 communes, of which 234 are rural, including the commune of Domrémy-la-Pucelle, where Joan of Arc was born.

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