The French region of Lorraine is located in the north of the country and consists of the Departments of Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle and Vosges. The capital is Metz. About 1,339,000 people live in the region, which extends over an area of 23,547 square kilometers.
The history of the Lorraine region
The Duchy of Lorraine existed from 843 to 1766, a phase that naturally shaped the history of the region.
In 843 the village of Lotharii Regnum (kingdom of Lothar, later Lotharingien) was founded. Little by little, this village grew and the area was constantly expanded. From this the Duchy of Lorraine developed. This became part of the Roman Empire during the Roman rule. The impressive thing is that the Duchy of Lorraine remained a part of the Holy Roman Empire until 1766. Then the Kingdom of France took over the government and so Lorraine was henceforth under the rule of the French crown.
The area of the duchy partially extended over what is now the Lorraine region in the northeast of what is now France. When industrialization began in the region in 1850, the first railway line was opened in Nancy. This led from Nancy to Metz. The construction of the Moselle Canal began in France in 1867. They started between Frouard and Metz so that the Lorraine region could be connected to the French canal network. The use of the canal could not begin until 1958. As the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War
Victory in 1871, the Lorraine region was incorporated into the German Empire together with the Eslass as the realm of Alsace-Lorraine. The population at that time was predominantly German-speaking. All industry was expanded in these areas and heavy industry in particular grew rapidly. The Marne-Rhine Canal, which runs from Reims via Nancy to Strasbourg, was ceremoniously opened in 1893. Unfortunately, the Lorraine region has repeatedly been the scene of heavy fighting. This was also the case in the First World War, where from 1914 to 1918 one of the main theaters of war was in Lorraine. The border battle in 1914 and the Battle of Verdun in 1916 were fought in and around Lorraine. The region was repeatedly involved in war battles and not infrequently severely damaged.
After the Germans were defeated in 1918, the north-eastern part of Lorraine was split off from the German Empire in the Treaty of Versailles and returned to France. As a result, French was introduced as the official language, and the official and school language was converted to French. This also applied to the German-speaking population, who had serious problems with it at the beginning.
Also in World War II, the Germans came to the region and occupied Lorraine in 1940. When France surrendered, Lorraine became aTreated Reich territory of the Germans and reintroduced the German official and school language, which of course was positively received by the German-speaking population. After the German dictatorship was superseded and defeated, Lorraine was again assigned to France. Since there was no official introduction into the German Reich, the repatriation of the area could also be carried out in an uncomplicated manner.
Attractions in Lorraine
Today there are several nature parks in the Lorraine region. This also makes the area interesting for day trips. Among other things, visitors will find the Lorraine Regional Natural Park, the Regional Natural Park of Ballons des Vosges and the Vosges du Nord Regional Nature Park. This is a direct neighbor of the German Palatinate Forest Nature Park and has been combined by UNESCO to form the cross-border Palatinate Forest-Vosges Biosphere Reserve.
Metz in France
Metz is the capital of the Departments of Moselle and the Lorraine region. The city is located in the northeast of France at the confluence of the Seille in the Moselle and is a very popular oneExcursion destination.
The story of Metz
archaeologists found the first traces of settlement from 3000 BC. The old Celtic Latin name Metz was Divodurum, meaning castle of the gods. It was renamed Mediomatricum in the late Roman period. This was the Celtic tribe living there. Mediomatricum was then abbreviated to Mettis in the high medieval period.
52 BC Christ came the Romans in the region and conquered the settlement of the Celts. Due to the favorable location at the intersection of the roads to Reims, Lyon, Trier, Strasbourg and Mainz, the city grew very quickly and developed into one of the largest cities in Gaul. Over 40,000 people probably lived here as early as the 2nd century. This made Metz larger than Lutetia at that time, i.e. today’s Paris.
The first Christian communities emerged in the region around the 4th and 5th centuries. The first bishop was St. Clemens, who belonged to the Archdiocese of Trier in the 4th century. He lived in Metz from 535. Attila, the feared king of the Huns, came with his army and destroyed the city of Metz in 451.
After the city recovered from this, it blossomed again. Metz is also the original seat of the Carolingians. Today Charlemagne’s wife Hildegard and Emperor Ludwig the Pious are buried in the Abbey of Sankt Arnulf. Other family members were also buried here.
The ascent from Metz continued to be very steep. From 1180 to 1210 Metz was an imperial city and expanded his dominion far. In the 14th century, Metz held a great position of power and was therefore the largest imperial city in terms of area at that time. The defense also worked perfectly, because all attacks by the Dukes of Lorraine could be repulsed. A document from the 15th century was found in which it was noted that the first firearms were used in Metz as early as 1324. But this thesis is quite controversial. Because it can be proven that the words for this type of weapon were only used from the 15th century. But the use of firearms cannot be ruled out completely.
Metz’s importance continued to grow. In the 17th century, the city served as the center of the campaigns of Louis XIV.
From 1871 to 1918 and 1940 to 1944, Metz was part of the German Empire. In 1870, Friedrich Karl von Prussia occupied Metz during the Franco-Prussian War. Metz was appointed the administrative center of the Lorraine region. In 1900, 78 percent Germans and 22 percent French lived in Metz.
With the Versailles Treaty of 1919, Metz was returned to France. The so-called old Germans were expelled from the country. This affected all immigrant Germans since 1871. The USA intervened against this step and so many of the Germans expelled at the time were allowed to return.
Worth seeing in Metz
Many beautiful churches and monasteries were built in Metz. For example, the Gothic cathedral Saint-Etienne de Metz, on which Marc Chagall also worked, is a special attraction. The churches of Sait-Martin, Saint-Vincent and Saint-Eucaire are also highly recommended for a visit.
The historic squares of the city of Metz are also impressive. When visiting, you shouldn’t miss the Place Saint-Louis from the 13th / 15th centuries. Century can be seen. The Place de la Comedie from the 18th century is also worth seeing.