Lorraine is one of the 22 regions in France, located in the north east of the country. It shares borders with Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, but also Champagne Ardenne, Franche Comté and Alsace. The region is composed of four departments: Meurthe et Moselle, Moselle, Meuse and Vosges. The administrative centre of Lorraine is Metz (130,000 inhabitants). Lorraine gathers 2,343,000 inhabitants, called the Lorrains.
Lorraine, along with Alsace, has a very strong cultural identity due to its historical heritage. At its origins, the area used to belong to the Belgium Gaulle. It was then conquered by the Francs and became part of the Austrasie, which capital city was Metz. Lorraine as it is today known is a vestige of what used to be the ‘Lotharingie’, a kingdom created by the Carolingian Lothaire II. In 880 the Lotharingie was integrated to the eastern France, which became afterwards the Holy Roman Empire.
Along the centuries, the French kingdom kept on trying to conquer the Lorraine area. It was finally integrated to France in 1766. After the Revolution, the four departments were created, but it did not last long, as in 1871 the ‘Frankfurt treaty’ gave a part of Lorraine (the Moselle department) to the German Empire. At the crossroads between Germany and France, Lorrain suffered a lot during WWI and then WWII. One of the bloodiest battles took place in the region, more precisely in Verdun. After WWI Lorraine was again annexed to the French territory, but only until 1940, when it became German again. Finally, in 1945 the whole region, as well as the Alsace region, became definitely French.
As a result, the German, but also the Belgium, culture is very strong in Lorraine. This can be seen through local languages: the Lorrain, which is a Roman dialect also spoken in Belgium, and the Lorraine Franconian, which is a German dialect spoken in the north of the region; it can also be seen through the architecture, gastronomy, etc.
|Property prices in Lorraine and its 4 departments in 2009|
|Location||Apartments € / sq m||New built apartments € / sq m||Houses €|
|Meurthe et Moselle||1,540||2,340||159,200|
In France in 2009, average for house prices is around €3,200 /sq m. Since in Lorraine house prices are about €1,620 /sq m, the region can be said to be rather affordable. After WWII the region has a very prosperous period and developed very quickly. However, nowadays, the economy has slowed down. Moreover, the region, as the whole country, has been hit by the real estate and financial crisis. As a consequence, house prices are still decreasing. It might be a good opportunity though for investors. Indeed, signs of recovery are present in France, and prices in some regions, in the most dynamic so far, are already started to increase again. As it is not the case yet for Lorraine, investors should not lose time, and buy a property in the region while prices are still low.
To get updated info about property prices in Lorraine, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
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When we think about Lorraine we usually think about its rich culture, at the crossroads of the French, Roman and German ones, we also think of its delicious gastronomy; however we often forget to mention its architectural and historical heritage, its castles and museums, etc.
Culture, art and historical heritage: the best way to discover Lorraine culture and historical heritage is walking in cities, listening carefully to what old monuments have to tell you. Another excellent way to discover this beautiful region and all its secrets is to visit the numerous museums it has on offer. There are many of them in the four departments. In Nancy do not miss the Musée Lorrain which tells long about the region history and culture; in Montmedy you should visit the Citadelle de Montmedu which is a museum about fortifications in the Meuse department, in the same department you can also visit the Beer museum;’ Moselle probably gathers most of museums, have a closer look at the Maison du verre et du cristal, as glass and crystal used to have a special role in the region economy and art craft.
Good food: gastronomy in Lorraine is mainly based on potatoes. It was one of the first regions in France to use the potatoes as a human food (before it was only for animals). The most famous Lorraine dish is of course the Quiche Lorraine, worldwide renowned! It is traditionally made with eggs, cream and smoked bacon. Amongst deserts you will also have a lot of choice between the Madeleine, the macarons, the baba au rhum, etc.
Castles: there are many castles in Lorraine which are really worth seeing. There are around 10 of them, from Roman style to Renaissance, including Gothic style. Near Nancy you will find the Fléville castle, a master piece of Renaissance; Stanislas castle, which was the favourite castle of the Polish King (who was also Duke of Lorraine); Malbrouck castle is located at the crossroads of the 3 countries: Germany, Luxemburg and Fance, etc.
Outdoor activities: located at the heart of the Vosges Mountains, Lorraine has plenty outdoor activities on offer. In the Vosges department you can of course go hiking in the mountains, while Moselle offers peacefull walks along lakes, forests and beautiful landscapes. Meuse must be discovered by bikes, or by horse, while in Meuthe et Moselle you will enjoy tranquillity, fresh air and hilly landscapes.
Architectural style: owing to its historical heritage, the region gathers beautiful monuments that tell long about the region past. The Saint Etienne cathedral in Metz is a good example of the medieval architecture, while in Nancy you can admire the Stanislas square and the old quarter of the city, vestiges of the Polish King’s reign.
Wine and alcoholic drinks: Lorraine is famous for its wines, especially the Gris de Toul, which is a grey wine made from Gamay. Grey wines are a kind a white wine made with red grapes. Lorraine is also home of the Auxerrois grape type. At the beginning, Lorraine was above all a beer region. Nowadays, most breweries have disappeared, however you can still visit the Beer museum in Nancy, or Saint Nicolas de Port, or Ville sur Illon. In 2003 a new brewery opened at the heart of the Pont-à-Mousson town, and is called the ‘Lorraine brewers’.
Chalets: they are to be found mainly in the Vosges department, where the mountains are. They are traditional wood chalets, at the foot of the mountain, at the edge of a lake, or at the heart of a forest. They come with all the comfort needed and with some outdoor features, such as barbeque, garden, balcony, etc.
Half-timbered houses: this kind of house is very common in the whole country, not to say in the whole continent. These houses were mainly built during Middle Ages, and wood is dominant as it was the cheapest material at that time. In Lorraine, as influence from Germany was strong, half-timbered houses are German style houses. Roof tiles are generally brown or red and flat, while walls are filled using cob. The wooden structure faces the street, and walls are usually painted, in purple for instance.
Farmhouses: there is not one kind of farmhouses, indeed each department has its own type, and even inside the department you can find different characteristics, according to the geography, the social class, etc. However, they all have some features in common: they are usually made of earth and stones, rooms in the habitable part are lined up and a corridor goes through each of them. The entrance is situated in the middle of the house and gives way to kitchen.
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|Take a closer look at the Lorraine property market:|
|Meurthe et Moselle Property Insight|
|Meuse Property Insight|
|Moselle Property Insight|
|Vosges Property Insight|