Grand Est

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Grand Est

Grossa Oschta  (Alemannic German)
Grouss Osten  (Luxembourgish)
1138357639 3c5c483074 o Haut Koenigsbourg CC by Fr Antunes.jpg
A view of the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg north of Colmar
Grand Est in France 2016.svg
CountryFlag of France.svg France
Prefecture Strasbourg
  Body Regional council of Grand Est
   President of the Regional Council Jean Rottner (The Republicans)
  Total57,433 km2 (22,175 sq mi)
Area rank5th
 (2017) [1]
  Density97/km2 (250/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
ISO 3166 code FR-GES
GDP  (2013) Ranked
Total€150.3 billion (US$207.0 bn)
Per capita€27,085 (US$37,312)
Official languages French,
Recognised languages Alemannic German and Luxembourgish

Grand Est [2] (French pronunciation:  [ɡʁɑ̃t‿ɛst] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Alsatian :Grossa Oschta; Moselle Franconian/Luxembourgish : Grouss Osten; Rhine Franconian: Groß Oschte; German : Großer Osten [ˈɡʁoːsɐ ˈɔstn̩] ; English: Greater East) is an administrative region in Northeastern France. It superseded three former administrative regions, Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine, on 1 January 2016 under the provisional name of Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine (pronounced  [alzas ʃɑ̃paɲ‿aʁdɛn lɔʁɛn] ; ACAL or, less commonly, ALCA), [3] as a result of territorial reform which had been passed by the French Parliament in 2014. [4] [5] [lower-alpha 1]


The region sits astride three water basins (Seine, Meuse and Rhine), spanning an area of 57,433 km2 (22,175 sq mi), the fifth largest in France; it includes two mountain ranges (Vosges and Ardennes). It shares borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland. As of 2017, it had a population of 5,549,586 inhabitants. It stands partly within the European Megalopolis. The prefecture and largest city, by far, is Strasbourg.

The East of France has a rich and diverse culture, being situated at a crossroads between the Latin and Germanic worlds which is reflected in the variety of languages spoken there (Alsatian, Champenois, Lorraine Franconian). Most of today's Grand Est region was considered "Eastern" as early as the 8th century, when it constituted the southern part of the Francian territory of Austrasia. The city of Reims (in Champagne), where Frankish king Clovis I had been baptized in 496 AD, would later play a prominent ceremonial role in French monarchical history as the traditional site of the coronation of the kings of France. The Champagne fairs played a significant role in the economy of medieval Europe as well. Alsace and Lorraine thrived in the sphere of influence of the Holy Roman Empire for most of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The region is home to distinctive traditions (the celebration of Saint Nicholas Day, Christmas markets, or traditions involving the Easter hare in Alsace and Lorraine). Alsace-Moselle are furthermore subject to local law for historical reasons. With a long industrial history as well and its agriculture and tourism (arts, gastronomy, sightseeing), the East of France is one of the top economic producing regions in the country.


Provisional name

The provisional name of the region was Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, 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

Official logo Grand Est Logo vectoriel.svg
Official logo

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 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) and Luxembourg (Cantons of Esch-sur-Alzette and Remich) on the north, Germany on the east and northeast, [13] and Switzerland [14] on the southeast. It is the only French region to border more than two countries, or more countries than French regions. Its neighbors within France are Bourgogne-Franche-Comté on the south, Île-de-France on the west, and Hauts-de-France on the northwest.

Map of the new region with its ten departements, colored according to the historical provinces as they existed until 1790.
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Three Bishoprics
County of Saarwerden
Principality of Salm-Salm
Free County of Burgundy
Prince-Bishopric of Liege
Duchy of Luxemburg
small principalities Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine et provinces.svg
Map of the new region with its ten départements, colored according to the historical provinces as they existed until 1790.
  small principalities


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 (Köppen : Cfb), with cool to mild winters and warm summers. But Ardennes, Moselle and Alsace climates are borderline humid continental (Köppen : Dfb) - oceanic (Köppen : Cfb), characterized by cold winters with frequent days below the freezing point, and hot summers, with many days with temperatures up to 32 °C.



Protesters of the Alsace independence movement holding a banner saying "No to merger" (Non a la fusion), 2014 in Strasbourg. Strasbourg manifestation contre la fusion des regions 23 novembre 2014.jpg
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 creation of the new region was unpopular among Alsatians. In response, the Government created the European Collectivity of Alsace merging the departments of Bas Rhin and Haut Rhin, to take effect in 2021.


The region has an official population of 5,549,586 (municipal population on 1 January 2017). [1]

Cities with over 20,000 inhabitantsFormer region2017
Strasbourg Alsace280,966
Reims Champagne-Ardenne182,460
Metz Lorraine116,429
Mulhouse Alsace109,443
Nancy Lorraine104,286
Colmar Alsace69,105
Troyes Champagne-Ardenne61,652
Charleville-Mézières Champagne-Ardenne46,428
Châlons-en-Champagne Champagne-Ardenne44,753
Thionville Lorraine40,701
Haguenau Alsace34,504
Schiltigheim Alsace31,894
Épinal Lorraine31,740
Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy Lorraine30,020
Illkirch-Graffenstaden Alsace26,780
Saint-Dizier Champagne-Ardenne24,012
Épernay Champagne-Ardenne22,671
Chaumont Champagne-Ardenne21,945
Montigny-lès-Metz Lorraine21,813
Forbach Lorraine21,552
Saint-Louis Alsace21,177
Sarreguemines Lorraine20,783
2017 RankDepartmentLegal Population in 2017Area (km²)Aroen (Pop./km²)INSEE Dept. No.
1 Bas-Rhin 1,125,5594,75523767
2 Moselle 1,043,5526,21616857
3 Haut-Rhin 764,0303,52521768
4 Meurthe-et-Moselle 733,4815,24614054
5 Marne 568,8958,1627051
6 Vosges 367,6735,87462.588
7 Aube 310,0206,00451.510
8 Ardennes 273,5795,2295208
9 Meuse 187,1876,2113055
10 Haute-Marne 175,6406,2112852


Regional council

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


The gross domestic product (GDP) of the region was 159.9 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 6.7% of French economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 25,400 euros or 84% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 101% of the EU average. [20]

Transport and infrastructure

Rail transport

The region has five tram networks:


The region has four airports:


The region has eighteen motorways:

The region has twelve cities that have ring roads:


West portal of St Theobald's Church of Thann, a masterpiece of late 14th-century sculpture and architecture. Thann Saint-Thiebaut Westportal 372.jpg
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  [ fr ], 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. The name Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine was created by hyphenating the merged regions' names in alphabetical order; the 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]

Related Research Articles

Alsace Place in Grand Est, France

Alsace is a cultural and historical region in Eastern France, on the west bank of the upper Rhine next to Germany and Switzerland. In 2017, it had a population of 1,889,589.

Alsatian dialect

Alsatian refers to the Alemannic German dialects spoken in most of Alsace, a formerly disputed region in eastern France that has passed between French and German control five times since 1681.

Marne (department) Department of France

Marne is a department in the Grand Est region of France. It is named after the river Marne which flows through it. The prefecture (capital) of Marne is Châlons-en-Champagne. The subprefectures are Épernay, Reims, and Vitry-le-François.

Champagne-Ardenne former Region of France

Champagne-Ardenne is a former administrative region of France, located in the northeast of the country, bordering Belgium. Mostly corresponding to the historic province of Champagne, the region is known for its sparkling white wine of the same name.

Haut-Rhin Department of France

Haut-Rhin 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, the other being the Bas-Rhin. 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.

Alsace-Lorraine Territory created by the German Empire in 1871

The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine was a territory created by the German Empire in 1871 after it annexed most of Alsace and the Moselle department of Lorraine following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The Alsatian part lay in the Rhine Valley on the west bank of the Rhine River and east of the Vosges Mountains. The Lorraine section was in the upper Moselle valley to the north of the Vosges.

Gare de lEst One of Pariss six main railway stations

The Gare de l'Est, officially Paris-Est, is one of the six large mainline railway station termini in Paris, France. It is located in the 10th arrondissement, not far southeast from the Gare du Nord, facing the Boulevard de Strasbourg, part of the north-south axis of Paris created by Georges-Eugène Haussmann.

Lorraine Cultural and historical region in northeastern France

Lorraine is a cultural and historical region in north-eastern France, now located in the administrative region of Grand Est. Lorraine's name stems from the medieval kingdom of Lotharingia, which in turn was named for either Emperor Lothair I or King Lothair II. It later was ruled as the Duchy of Lorraine before the Kingdom of France annexed it in 1766.

LGV Est French high-speed railway

The Ligne à Grande Vitesse Est européenne, typically shortened to LGV Est, is a French high-speed rail line that connects Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim. The line halved the travel time between Paris and Strasbourg and provides fast services between Paris and the principal cities of Eastern France as well as Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland. The LGV Est is a segment of the Main Line for Europe project to connect Paris with Budapest with high-speed rail service.

November 1918 in Alsace-Lorraine

November 1918 was the period of transition when the region of Alsace-Lorraine passed from German to French sovereignty at the end of World War I. During this month, international events were linked to domestic troubles, particularly the German Revolution.

History of the Jews in Alsace

The history of the Jews in Alsace is one of the oldest in Europe. It was first attested to in 1165 by Benjamin of Tudela, who wrote about a "large number of learned men" in "Astransbourg"; and it is assumed that it dates back to around the year 1000. Although Jewish life in Alsace was often disrupted by outbreaks of pogroms, at least during the Middle Ages, and reined in by harsh restrictions on business and movement, it has had a continuous existence ever since it was first recorded. At its peak, in 1870, the Jewish community of Alsace numbered 35,000 people.

Paris-Est–Strasbourg-Ville railway

The railway from Paris-Est to Strasbourg-Ville is a 493-kilometre-long railway line that connects Paris to Strasbourg via Châlons-en-Champagne and Nancy, France. Officially, the line does not start at the Gare de l'Est in Paris: the first 9 km until Noisy-le-Sec is shared with the railway from Paris to Mulhouse. The railway was opened in several stages between 1849 and 1852. The opening of the LGV Est high speed line from Paris to Baudrecourt in Lorraine in 2007 has decreased the importance of the section Paris–Sarrebourg for passenger traffic.

Protestant Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine

The Protestant Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine is a Reformed denomination in Alsace and Northeastern Lorraine, France. As a church body it enjoys the status as an établissement public du culte.

Protestant Church of the Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine

The Protestant Church of the Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine is a Lutheran church of public-law corporation status in France. The ambit of the EPCAAL comprises congregations in Alsace and the Lorrain Moselle department.

Flag of Alsace

The flag of Alsace is the original red and white flag of the region, and can be traced to the red and white banner of Gerard, Duke of Lorraine in the 11th century.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Metz, France.

TER Grand Est Regional rail network in northeastern France

TER Grand Est is the regional rail network serving the region of Grand Est, northeastern France. It is operated by the French national railway company SNCF. It was formed in 2016 from the previous TER networks TER Alsace, TER Lorraine and TER Champagne-Ardenne, when the respective regions were merged.

Regional Council of Grand Est

The regional council of Grand Est, formerly the regional council of Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, is the deliberative assembly of the region of Grand Est. Jean Rottner of The Republicans (LR) is the current president of the regional council. He was elected on 20 October 2017, following the retirement of Philippe Richert on 30 September 2017.

ABCM-Zweisprachigkeit is a network of bilingual community schools, located in the regions of Alsace, Moselle and Baden-Württemberg. The teaching is given in French and German on a 50-50 basis.


  1. 1 2 "Populations légales 2017". Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  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. 1 2 3 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. 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. 1 2 3 "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. 1 2 "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. 1 2 "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.
  20. "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". Eurostat.

Coordinates: 48°45′16″N5°51′06″E / 48.7544°N 5.8517°E / 48.7544; 5.8517