The Grand Est supersedes the three former administrative regions of Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine. It consists of the eastern departments of the Ardennes, Aube, Bas Rhin, Haut Rhin, Haute Marne, Marne, Meurthe et Moselle, Meuse, Moselle and the Vosges.
The administrative capital and largest city is Strasbourg, which is the official seat of the European Parliament and home of the Council of Europe and the European Court for Human Rights.
The region is particularly famous for producing Champagne and the industry is also a major local employer. Chalk soil and a semi-continental climate create ideal conditions for champagne vineyards.
The city of Reims, along with Épernay and Ay, is the hub of champagne production and most of the major champagne houses have their headquarters here. Below street level, a network of tunnels has been carved out of the chalk rock and it is here that much of the champagne is kept.
Grand Est borders four different countries – Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg – with the Rhine river marking the border between France and Germany.
In the north of the region the mountainous terrain of the Ardennes and Vosges contrasts with the gentle lowlands of the Champagne growing areas.
During the First World War the town of Verdun was the site of an 11-month battle and is an important historic site to this day with memorials recording its significant role in the War.
The cuisine of Grand Est is strongly influenced by its border with Germany which means there is plenty of pork and sausage on the menu as well as tarte flambée and Black Forest gateau.
Grand Est borders the French regions of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
, Hauts-de-France and Île-de-France.