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Grenoble

Top French Cities - Grenoble at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Grenoble Tourism Office at www.grenoble-tourisme.com.

City region: The Alps / Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Population & what they are called: 163,625 inhabitants (2014 census), called Grenoblois

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 5 h 15 min (357 miles) via A6 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 3 hours by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Stendhal, writer

  • Calogero, singer

  • Jean-Claude Gallotta, dancer and choreographer

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Some historians date the start of the French Revolution to the Day of Tiles (Journée des Tuiles), a revolt that took place in Grenoble on June 7, 1788.

  • Grenoble has the second largest English-speaking community in France, after Paris.

Notable sites:

  • Fort de la Bastille – old fortifications built on the mountainside, reached by cable car, with superb views of the city

  • Vieille Ville – historic center filled with cobblestone streets and picturesque squares

  • Palais du Parlement du Dauphiné – Renaissance palace used as the Dauphiné Parliament until the French Revolution

Top annual events:

  • Rencontres Ciné Montagne – a unique mountain-centric festival of films, workshops and conferences, the biggest of its kind in Europe (grenoble-montagne.com)

  • Grenoble Street Art Fest – Europe’s first festival of street art as a multidisciplinary art, featuring frescoes, collages, stencil work, sculptures, photography, digital art, videos and more (streetartfest.org)

  • Cabaret Frappé – a free, summer, open-air music festival (cabaret-frappe.com)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée de Grenoble – renowned for its extensive paintings collection, but also sculptures and antiquities (museedegrenoble.fr)

  • Musée Archéologique Grenoble-Saint Laurent – presents the archeological excavations done on location (musee-archeologique-grenoble.fr)

  • Musée de la Révolution Française – located in the Vizille Chateau, the only museum in the world dedicated to this key period in French history (domaine-vizille.fr)

Culinary specialties:

  • walnuts – in 1938, the noix de Grenoble was the first fruit to receive an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC)

  • cheese – two local-area standouts are Saint-Marcellin and Bleu du Vercors Sassenage

  • murçon de la Matheysine – local boiled pork sausage with aniseed flavor

Local wines & spirits:

  • Chartreuse – the only liqueur in the world with a completely natural green color, a product of distilled alcohol aged with 130 herbs, plants and flowers

  • Bières de Sassenage – one of the beers produced at the Brasserie des Cuves is called Sacrebleu, the first European blue beer with a 100% natural color (brasseriedescuves.fr)

Shopping:

  • Vieille Ville et Championnet – shops selling designer clothes, art and amazing chocolates

  • Halles Sainte-Claire – a huge, classic, covered market packed with fruits, vegetables, pastries, cheeses, meats etc.

  • La Caserne De Bonne – 50 shops in the De Bonne eco-district

Most popular night spots:

  • La Belle ÉlÈctrique – artistic and cultural project that spotlights amplified music: jazz, rock, pop, techno, fusion and more

  • La Bobine – concerts, bar, restaurant, exhibitions, theater etc.

  • Mark XIII – Friendly bar with DJ electro sets and cyber-goth-punk atmosphere

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Jardin des Dauphins – the city's most luscious garden and a perfect place for a sunny stroll

  • MC2 (for Maison de la culture) – Grenoble's main cultural center, which hosts music, theater, and dance performances (mc2grenoble.fr)

Local industries:

  • FrenchTech – Grenoble was recognized for its growth in high-tech industries, including biotechnology and nanotechnology

  • scientific research – Grenoble is a major scientific research center (second only to Paris) focused on physics, computer science and applied mathematics

In Pop Culture:

  • electronic music – pioneered in Grenoble since the 1990s by the likes of The Hacker (Michel Amato), Miss Kittin, Oxia and others

  • The Trilogy (On the Run [Cavale], An Amazing Couple [Un couple épatant] and After Life [Après la vie]) – three separate feature films by Lucas Belvax, each set in Grenoble over the same few days in the lives of six characters

  • 13 Days in France (13 jours en France) — a documentary about the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, directed by Claude Lelouch and François Reichenbach

Clermont-Ferrand

Top French Cities - Clermont-Ferrand at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Clermont-Ferrand Tourism at www.clermontferrandtourism.com

City region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Population & what they are called: 141,365 municipality inhabitants (2014 census), called Clermontois

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 4 hours (263 miles) via the A10 and A71 autoroutes

  • by train: about 3 h 45 min by direct intercity train from the Gare de Bercy

  • by plane: 1 hour to Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • André and Édouard Michelin, founders of Michelin

  • Audrey Tautou, actress

  • Aurélien Rougerie, international rugby player

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • One of the city's nicknames is "France's Liverpool" due its more than 800 artistic groups and the many music, theater and film festivals.

  • Just west of Clermont-Ferrand, the Puy-de-Dôme is the highest volcano in the the Chaine des Puys, a chain of 80 volcanoes located in an area more than 28 miles long and three miles wide.

Notable sites:

  • Place de Jaude – the city's most famous public square, with a large statue of Vercingetorix by Auguste Bartholdi, sculptor of the Statue of Liberty

  • Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption Cathedral – built of black lava stone and crowning the hill in Clermont’s historic center

  • Notre-Dame-du-Port Basilica – 12th-century, Romanesque church included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Top annual events:

  • Festival du Court-Métrage de Clermont-Ferrand – one of the world's leading international festivals for short films (clermont-filmfest.com)

  • Contre Plongées de l’Eté – summer festival of garden readings, circus acts, shows and screening (clermont-ferrand.fr/contre-plongees)

  • Europavox Festival – the best in European music (europavoxfestivals.com/en/)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée d'Art Roger-Quilliot (MARQ) – the city's foremost cultural venue with six levels of art from the Middle Ages to contemporary times

  • Muséum Henri-Lecoq – a journey of discovery into the history of science and the region’s nature heritage

  • L’Aventure Michelin – an exhibition devoted to the Michelin Group’s past, present and future (laventure.michelin.com/en/)

Culinary specialties:

  • cheese – the custom is to sample the Saint-Nectaire, Cantal, Salers, Fourme d'Ambert and Auvergne Bleu at Saint-Pierre Market or beneath Saint-Joseph Hall

  • truffade and aligot – two typical potato-and-cheese dishes best eaten in a little local restaurant

  • petit salé aux lentilles vertes du Puy – salted pork meat served with green lentils from Le Puy

Local wines & spirits:

  • Côtes d’Auvergne wine – vintages such as Boudes, Châteaugay, Corent, Chanturgue, Madargue and Saint-Pourçain (the last of which now has a protected name)

  • Chateldon and Volvic mineral waters – naturally sparkling mineral waters from the region (Chateldon is only served in the finest restaurants)

Shopping:

  • city center – the pedestrian zone of antique dealers and booksellers

  • fruit paste and jellies – Cruzilles (cruzilles.fr) is the last confectionary business remaining in Clermont-Ferrand, which has a confectionary history that goes back almost 800 years

  • knives – made in the nearby city of Thiers (lagrandecoutellerie.fr)

Most popular night spots:

  • Bell’s Australian’s Pub – a little piece of Down Under right in the center of town, next door to fnac at the Place de Jaude

  • Place de la Victoire, near the Cathedral – restaurants and bars with large terraces that are ideal places to watch ASM rugby team play

  • L’Appart – how about a glass of wine in the bathroom of this bar designed like an apartment?

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Puy de Dôme – from the top (accessible via a cog railway) there are sensational views over the city and 80 inactive volcanoes

  • rugby match – become a one-day supporter of the local ASM Clermont-Auvergne Rugby team, French champion in 2017

  • learn about volcanoes – in a natural setting like the Volcans d’Auvergne Regional Natural Park or a theme park like Vulcania Park that invites discovery of the extraordinary tale of volcanoes

Local industries:

  • Michelin – the company headquarters are in the city, where manufacturing has given way to the Research, Development and Innovation Campus called Urbalad.

  • seeds – Limagrain, based in Auvergne, is the 4th largest seed company in the world

In Pop Culture:

  • The Sorrow and the Pity (Le Chagrin et la pitié) – Clermont-Ferrand is the basis for this two-part 1969 documentary by Marcel Ophüls about the collaboration between the Vichy government and Nazi Germany

  • My Night at Maud's (Ma nuit chez Maud) – a dramatic 1969 film by Éric Rohmer set and filmed in Clermont-Ferrand, the third in his series of Six Moral Tales.

Reims

Top French Cities - Reims at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Reims Tourism Office at www.reims-tourism.com.

City region: Champagne / Grand Est

Population & what they are called: 186,971 inhabitants (2014 census), called Rémois

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 1 h 30 min (90 miles) via the A4 autoroute de l'Est

  • by train: about 45 minutes by TGV from the Gare de l'Est

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, television journalist and writer

  • Kyan Khojandi, actor

  • Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, world champion cyclist

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Reims was more than 80% destroyed in World War I, but rebuilt in less than 10 years by more than 400 architects.

  • A bottle of champagne is opened every 10 seconds.

Notable sites:

  • Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Reims – for more than 1,200 years the place where the kings of France were coronated

  • Porte Mars – a beautifully preserved Roman gate

  • Fort de la Pompelle – tells the story of how the Great War fashioned today's Reims

Top annual events:

  • La Magnifique Society Festival – electro-pop music festival (lamagnifiquesociety.com)

  • Les Flâneries Musicales – a month-long series of classical concerts (flaneriesreims.com)

  • Les Fêtes Johanniques – two days of public holiday in the atmosphere of the Middle Ages to celebrate Joan of Arc (reims-fetes.com/fetes_johaniques.php)

Most notable museums:

  • Palais du Tau – a palace used as the residence of the kings during their coronations (palais-du-tau.fr/en/)

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts – five centuries of painting, sculpture, furniture and art objects

  • Musée Saint-Rémi – set in the royal abbey of Saint-Remi with historic objects from the city's past

Culinary specialties:

  • jambon de Reims – made from pork shoulder that is brined, cooked in stock, seasoned, pressed into molds and then coated in breadcrumbs

  • gingerbread – baked out of rye flour and buckwheat honey

  • biscuits roses – the famous pink biscuit, one of the oldest in France

Local wines & spirits:

  • champagne – Reims is a center of champagne production, home to the headquarters of large champagne-producing houses, many open for tasting and tours

  • Bouzy rouge – light red wine that gives pink champagne its color

  • ratafia – a fortified wine made from leftover champagne pressings

Shopping:

  • Rue de Vesle – the main commercial street

  • Grande Boutique du Vin – a comprehensive inventory of more than 150 types of champagne (vinscph.com/en/)

  • Maison Fossier – has produced the famous pink biscuit for more than 260 years (fossier.fr/en/)

Most popular night spots:

  • La Loge – food and relaxing dinner music that gives way to a full-blown night club

  • Le Clos – excellent wine bar with a sizable courtyard

  • Le Wine Bar – a relaxing bar with more than 500 wines and champagnes

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Coulée Verte – a green corridor for jogging and cycling

  • Parc de la Patte d’Oie or Parc Léo Lagrange – green spaces that lend themselves to relaxation

  • Montagne de Reims – the vineyard-covered hill south of town, a hiker's paradise of gorgeous forests and numerous wine villages, like Verzenay and its Vine Museum

Local industries:

  • champagne – it is impossible to separate Reims from its champagne heritage

  • bioeconomy – agriculture and its ancillary industries, including the industrial development of agricultural resources

In Pop Culture:

  • local musicians – Reims natives include Yuksek, an electronic music producer, remixer and DJ; and The Shoes, an electro-rock duo

  • Expérience Pommery – modern art exhibitions in the chalk galleries and cellars of the prestigious

Nimes

Top French Cities - Nîmes at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit Nîmes Tourism at www.nimes-tourisme.com.

City region: Pyrénées-Méditerranées / Occitanie

Population & what they are called: 154,013 inhabitants (2013 census), called Nîmois

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 6 h 45 min (442 miles) via the A6 and A7 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 3 hours by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Alphone Daudet, writer

  • Jean Bousquet, fashion designer

  • Louis Perrier, doctor, founder of original Perrier water spa

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The famous serge cloth used in jeans was originally from Nîmes – de (from) + Nîmes = denim.

Notable sites:

  • Maison Carrée – one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world

  • Arène de Nîmes – best-preserved Roman amphitheater in France, now used as a bull fighting and concert arena

  • Tour Magne – ruined Roman tower atop Mont Cavalier

Top annual events:

  • Festival de Nîmes – a music festival with performances in the Roman amphitheater (festivaldenimes.com)

  • Feria de Nîmes – a twice annual bullfighting event that takes over the city

  • Grands Jeux Romains – an experience of life during the Roman era through historic reconstructions and a unique show with 500 participants

Most notable museums:

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes – a growing collection of fine European art from past centuries

  • Carré d'Art Jean Bousquet – a media library and museum of modern art (carreartmusee.com/en/)

  • Musée des Cultures Taurines – devoted to bullfighting traditions

Culinary specialties:

  • brandade de Nîmes – a purée of salt cod with olive oil and a little milk

  • gardiane de taureau – bull's meat marinated in Nîmes red wine

  • petit pâté nîmois – a small pastry case with meat filling

  • Croquant Villaret – long golden biscuits with a special texture and secret flavor

Local wines & spirits:

  • Costières de Nîmes AOC wines – from vineyards that are some of the oldest in Europe

  • Côtes du Rhône (AOC) wines – including Tavel, called ‘the first rosé of France'

  • Perrier mineral water – its source is in Vergèze, just a few kilometers from Nîmes

Shopping:

  • Les Halles – the large, daily, covered food market

  • Marché Jean Jaurès – the excellent Friday farmers market with a simultaneous antique market

  • downtown – the main area for shopping is around Rue Général-Perrier, Rue Marchands, Rue Madeleine and Rue de l’Aspic

Most popular night spots:

  • SMAC Paloma – modern stage for today's music

  • Le SPOT – an alternative exhibition and event space, also with a bar

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • playing pétanque in the many parks and gardens, such as the Arènes Esplanade Feuchères and the Allées Jaurès

  • Jardins de la Fontaine – gardens built around the ruins of the Roman sanctuary

  • Pont du Gard – Roman aqueduct built more than 2,000 years ago and located just outside of town

Local industries:

  • textiles – especially denim, the fabric of blue jeans, which derives its name from the city

In Pop Culture:

  • Rock bands like Dire Straits, Rammstein, Metallica and Depeche Mode have performed or record live video and albums at the Arena of Nîmes

  • A Long Way from Home – the 2013 romantic drama about retiring in the South of France was filmed in Nîmes

  • The Vanishing – parts of the original Dutch film (called Spoorloos) were set in Nîmes

Nice

Top French Cities - Nice at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Nice Convention and Visitors Office at www.nicetourisme.com.

City region: Côtes d'Azur / Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Population & what they are called: 343,895 inhabitants (2014 census), called Niçois

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 8 h 30 min (296 miles) via the A6 and A7 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 5 h 30 min by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

  • by plane: 1 direct flight from NYC every day and from Paris 30 times a day

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Francis Lay, musician

  • J. M. G. Le Clézio, writer and Nobel Prize laureate in literature

  • Simone Veil, first president of the European Parliament

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Nice's ancient past is immersed in its present: Terra Amata is an archeological site with evidence of very early use of fire and right on the edge of town is the Grotte du Lazaret, a cave with vestiges of prehistoric human occupation.

  • France's first city to have been granted a wine-producing AOC [Protected Designation of Origin] label across its municipality.

Notable sites:

  • Vieux Nice – a lively commercial area of narrow streets little changed since the 1700s

  • Cathédrale Orthodoxe Russe St-Nicolas – one of the biggest Russian Orthodox churches outside Russia

  • Observatoire de Nice – when it became operational in 1888, it was the world's largest telescope, still in use today

Top annual events:

  • Carnaval de Nice – Carnival, light and flower parades held around Mardi Gras (nicecarnaval.com/en)

  • Nice Jazz Festival – concerts by prestigious jazz musicians (nicejazzfestival.fr)

  • Festival Crossover – electronic and alternative music festival (festival-crossover.com)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC) – avant-garde art from the 1950s to the present, including works from the Nice School, New Realism and Pop Art (mamac-nice.org/english/)

  • Musée Matisse – the only museum dedicated to – and created in cooperation with – the artist (musee-matisse-nice.org)

  • Musée Masséna – dedicated to the history of the Riviera, set in a belle-époque building

Culinary specialties:

  • pissaladière – onion tart with olives and anchovies

  • ratatouille – a concoction with tomatoes as a foundation for sautéed vegetables and herbs

  • salade niçoise – traditionally made with tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives and tuna and/or anchovies with an olive oil dressing

Local wines & spirits:

  • AOC Bellet wine – one of the oldest vineyards in France yields remarkable white, red and rosé wines

Shopping:

  • Cours Saleya – daily food and flower markets, except on Mondays when it's all about antiques

  • Caprice Vintage – Nice’s number one vintage shop, focusing on 1920-1950 (capricevintageshop.com)

  • Antique District – over 100 antique stores in the Port

Most popular night spots:

  • Vieux Nice – plenty of good animated bars and pubs

  • Shapko Bar – live music bar with jazz, soul, rock and more

  • Ma Nolan's – a rowdy Irish pub with live music

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Promenade des Anglais – the famous seaside boulevard along which locals hike, run and bike

  • beaches – four miles of strand, both public and private, right in the city

  • Parc du château – the historic Castle Hill park with amazing city and ocean views, especially at sunset

Local industries:

  • Sophia Antipolis – a nearby technology park houses companies in the fields of computing, electronics, pharmacology and biotechnology

  • Eco-Valley – one of France's largest areas (25,000 acres) dedicated to sustainable development

  • medical research – University Hospital of Nice is very active in cutting-edge medical research and innovation due in part to its involvement in information and communication technology for the health sector and ambitious projects such as Pasteur 2, the largest hospital construction project in France

In Pop Culture:

  • Riviera – the 2017 British TV drama/mini-series is filmed in and around Nice

  • Ronin – the infamous car chase and street scenes in this 1998 action movie with Robert De Niro and Jean Reno was filmed on location in Nice

  • Magic in the Moonlight – Woody Allen’s 2014 romantic comedy was filmed in part in Nice

Major 2020 development:

  • Nice, capital of the French Riviera will now be accessible via daily non-stop flights from New York/Newark starting May 2, 2020 with United Airlines
Mulhouse

Top French Cities - Mulhouse at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Tourism Office and Convention Bureau of Mulhouse at www.tourisme-mulhouse.com.

City region: Alsace / Grand Est

Population & what they are called: 112,127 inhabitants (2014 census), called Mulhousien

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 5 hours (296 miles) via the A5 autoroute de l'Est

  • by train: about 2 hours 40 by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • William Wyler, movie director

  • François Florent, actor, founder of the Cours Florent

  • Vitaa, singer

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The world’s biggest car collection open to the public is in Mulhouse, hosted in the Cité de l'Automobile, Musée national de l'automobile, Collection Schlumpf.

  • Given its industrial underpinnings, Mulhouse has been nicknamed "the French Manchester" or the "city with a hundred chimneys.”

Notable sites:

  • Parc zoologique et botanique – a “remarkable garden” and zoo specialized in preserving endangered animal species and celebrating its 150 anniversary in 2018 (zoo-mulhouse.com)

  • Temple Saint-Etienne – the only protestant church on a main square in France and the tallest protestant building in France

  • Ancien Hôtel de Ville – the 16th-century town hall which contains a history museum

Top annual events:

  • Scènes de rues – a four-day street theater festival (scenesderue.fr)

  • Etofféeries (Marché de Noël) – every year, the Christmas Market and city center are dressed in a new fabric created by a local designer – this year, blue and gold colors by Acanthus Festis (etoffeeries.fr)

  • Carnaval de Mulhouse – a buzzing atmosphere, carnival groups’ “Guggamusik” and good times guaranteed for thousands of carnival-goers (carnaval-mulhouse.com)

Most notable museums:

  • Cité du Train / Cité de l'Automobile – respectively the largest railway and automobile museums in Europe (for trains) and the world (for automobiles) (citedutrain.com / citedelautomobile.com)

  • Musée de l'impression sur étoffes – a museum of printed textiles that bears witness to the textile heritage (musee-impression.com)

  • Ecomusée d'Alsace – lively open-air museum of over 70 traditional houses and seasonal programming (ecomusee-alsace.fr)

Culinary specialties:

  • sauerkraut – emblematic meal of pickled cabbage, sausages, smoked bacon and potatoes, best eaten in a winstub (local restaurant)

  • fleischschnakas – a salted log cake (pastry and meat) shaped like a snail (“schnaka” in the local language)

  • bredala – without these biscuits Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in Alsace

Local wines & spirits:

  • Alsace wines – the famous Alsace Wine Route is 25km from Mulhouse and leads through medieval villages where wines are tasted directly at the growers (route-des-vins-alsace.com)

  • schnapps – Alsatian brandy made with local wine, flowers, herbs and fruits such as the plum-like damson

  • beer – lots of local craft beers mades by micro-breweries

Shopping:

  • La Vitrine – a temple to local and Alsatian creativity (danslavitrine.com)

  • La Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie – special artisanal confections (maison-alsacienne-biscuiterie.com)

Most popular night spots:

  • Le Gambrinus – a beer bar and restaurant with evening programming that usually involves music

  • Noumatrouff – the local alternative scene for the music of today

  • La Quille – a highly esteemed wine bar

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Quai des Pêcheurs – to enjoy the latest street-artists’ performances along the edge of the river Ill

  • Historic Mulhouse – the medieval lower town, the Rebberg district and around the Place de la Bourse in the Nouveau Quartier

  • Parc Wallach – a “remarkable garden” for a walk in the rose garden or run in the nearby Waldeck Forest

Local industries:

  • automobile – PSA Mulhouse, the Peugeot factory in Mulhouse, is the largest employer in Alsace (museepeugeot.com/en/aventure-peugeot-museum/car-factory-visit.html)

  • textiles – Dollfus-Mieg et Compagnie (DMC), is the world leader in embroidery and crochet yarn with 40,000 retail outlets all over the world

In Pop Culture:

  • Parc du Petit Prince – more than 30 experiences in Little Prince Parc make it the first “aerial park” in the world (parcdupetitprince.com)
Metz

Top French Cities - Metz at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Metz Tourism Office at www.inspire-metz.com.

City region: Lorraine / Grand Est

Population & what they are called: 119,775 inhabitants (2014 census), called Messins

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 3 hours (206 miles) via the A4 autoroute de l'Est

  • by train: about 1 h 25 min by TGV from the Gare de l'Est

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Carole Gaessler, journalist

  • Robert Schuman, politician and a founding father of the European Union

  • Paul Verlaine, poet

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The largest surface area of stained glass windows in France is found in Metz cathedral (70,000 ft² from the 13th to 20th centuries).

  • Laurent Wiltz, director of Mr Hublot, Academy Award winner for Best Short Film (Animated) in 2014, studied fine art in Metz.

Notable sites:

  • Quartier Impérial – a magnificent and intact example of German town planning

  • Cathédrale St-Etienne – one of the most impressive Gothic churches in Europe

  • Porte des Allemands and ramparts – a fortified gateway attached to vestiges of the medieval ramparts that were once 7km long

Top annual events:

  • Festival Mirabelle – a series of mirabelle plum-based activities that take place in late summer (metz.fr/pages/culture/evenements_culturels/fetes_mirabelle.php)

  • Marché de Noël – France’s second most visited Christmas Market (noelmetz.com)

  • Constellations – a summer festival of art and culture focused on the digital arts (constellations-metz.fr)

Most notable museums:

  • Centre Pompidou-Metz – this sister institution of the Pompidou Center in Paris is a cultural center with innovative multi-disciplinary programs in contemporary art (centrepompidou-metz.fr/en/)

  • Musée de la Cour d’Or – a maze of galleries visiting 2,000 years of Metz city history, from Gallo-Roman times to the 19th century (musee.metzmetropole.fr)

  • FRAC Lorraine – a contemporary art collection at the Regional Contemporary Art Fund of Lorraine (fraclorraine.org/en/)

Culinary specialties:

  • Metz mirabelle – a small golden plum that makes excellent jam and brandy

  • Paris-Metz – cake made of macaroons, filled with mousse and topped with raspberries

  • macarons de Boulay – an almond-flavored macaroon (macaronsdeboulay.com)

Local wines & spirits:

  • Moselle AOC wines – a rich and varied range of wines can be discovered on the 25km wine trail of the Metz region

  • Mirabelle liqueur – a brandy distilled from the mirabelle, the small plum of the Lorraine region

Shopping:

  • Marché Couvert – this covered market (once a bishop's palace) has a wide choice of local produce and specialties

  • flea market – second largest in France (after St-Ouen near Paris), located in the Metz Expo

  • the heart of the city – major shopping streets include Rue des Clercs, Rue Serpenoise and Rue Taison

Most popular night spots:

  • Place St Jacques – bars and terraces are open until 2am

  • Arsenal – one of the grandest concert halls in Europe

  • Café Jehanne d’Arc – a watering hole dating back to the 13th century

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Plan d'eau – a favorite local park, at a bend in the Moselle River, for strolling and paddling

  • Jouy Canal – especially popular with joggers and walkers, emerges into a lake opposite Mont Saint‐Quentin

  • Jardin botanique – a botanical garden with ponds, winding paths and a toy train railway

Local industries:

  • energy – electric stations powered by gas, nuclear, water, wind and solar; one of France’s largest biomass power stations is in Metz, delivering 60% of the city’s heat from renewable resources

  • automobile – car and car-part factories such as PSA Tremery, a leader in building motors and gear boxes

In Pop Culture:

  • An American Werewolf in Paris – a 1997 comedy horror movie that was partly filmed in Metz

  • The Hunters – parts of this 2011 French thriller were filmed at Metz's Fort de Queuleu

  • the written works of François Rabelais, Paul Verlaine, Bernard-Marie Koltès and Adrienne Thomas

Major 2020 developments:

  • 800th Anniversary of the city's Saint-Etienne Cathedral, nicknamed "The Lantern of God," is renowned for its Chagall stained-glass windows. Celebrations begin December 8, 2019 through December 8. 2020.

  • 2020 will also be the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Pompidou Metz, the regional wing of Paris' Pompidou Center

Dijon

Top French Cities - Dijon at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Dijon Tourism Office at www.destinationdijon.com.

City region: Burgundy / Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Population & what they are called: 153,668 municipality inhabitants (2014 census), called Dijonnais

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 3 hours (196 miles) via the A6 Autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 1h 35 min by TGV from the Paris Gare de Lyon

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Gustave Eiffel, engineer and architect

  • Jean-Pierre Marielle, actor

  • Yan Pei-Ming, artist

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The owl is the symbol of Dijon. The small carving of one in the north facade of Notre-Dame is said to bring good luck if you touch it with your left hand and make a wish.

  • Dijon is at the heart of the Burgundy vineyards.

Notable sites:

  • Palais des Ducs et des États de Bourgogne – incredible architectural ensemble that was the residence and seat of government of the Dukes of Burgundy

  • Tour Philippe le Bon – there are 316 steps to its terrace and a 360° view of the city

  • Eglise Notre Dame – a 13th-century church with three tiers of creepy gargoyles

Top annual events:

  • Le Brunch des Halles de Dijon – a delicious a la carte meal at the covered market, available on Sundays from May to September, prepared by talented chefs in a laid-back and festive ambiance (bhd.otdijon.com/le_brunch_des_halles_de_dijon_en.html)

  • Fêtes de la Vigne – biennial international festival of folk music and dance (fetesdelavigne.org)

  • Foire Internationale et Gastronomique de Dijon – pays homage to fine local food products (foirededijon.com)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts – an extensive overview of the region's art and history (beaux-arts.dijon.fr)

  • Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne – models and reconstructions of everyday Burgundian life at the end of the 19th century

  • Musée Archéologique – displays of surprising archeological artifacts from the region (archeologie.dijon.fr)

Culinary specialties:

  • mustard – since its creation in Dijon in the 18th century, it has been famous around the world

  • pain d'épices – a spiced bread that has been made in the traditional way – with wheat flour, honey and spices – for over 220 years at Mulot & Petitjean, which has a full museum space at its production site (mulotpetitjean.fr)

  • oeufs en meurette – poached eggs served on toasted garlic bread with a red wine reduction sauce, lardons, onions and shallots

Local wines & spirits:

  • Burgundy wines – the nearby Côte de Nuits includes 16 grand crus (highest quality) vineyards

  • crème de Cassis – a liqueur made from blackcurrants harvested in the Hautes-Côtes-de-Nuits area; when combined with aligoté white wine, it becomes a Kir

Shopping:

  • mustard – the Maille mustard store sells dozens of different mustards from pumps in earthenware pots (us.maille.com), and the Fallot boutique-workshop revisits traditional recipes with unusual twists (fallot.com/en/)

  • La Rose de Vergy – 15th-century boutique for spice bread (a must try: spice bread baguette garnished with chutney or tapenade), fine cookies, jams and both traditional and unique candies

  • Toison d'Or – 10 minutes by tram from the city center, this shopping includes more than 160 boutiques, including a huge Apple Store

Most popular night spots:

  • Péniche Cancale – a wide variety of concerts and DJ sets, plus a restaurant, all set on a barge

  • Le Smart – bar with live music and a downstairs disco

  • Bistrot de la Scène – introduces new artistic creations to an audience spanning generations and social classes

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Lake Kir – jog, bike or walk around this beautiful lake, perhaps going further along the Canal de Bourgogne

  • Les Halles de Dijon – wander the market and learn about the city's incredible gastronomy

  • Greater Dijon trails – follow the signposts into the surrounding region, especially those that head into the vineyards

Local industries:

  • appliances – Groupe SEB (Société d'Emboutissage de Bourgogne) is a large French consortium that produces small appliances

  • technology – adhesive technology company Adhex and navigation systems leader Safran Electronics & Defense both use Dijon as a base of global operations

  • pharmaceuticals – Groupe Urgo is a specialist in the care of wounds, public health and new health technologies

In Pop Culture:

  • Cyrano de Bergerac – the 1990 movie adaptation, with Gérard Depardieu, of the famous novel, filmed in Dijon

  • Love on a Pillow (Le repos du guerrier) – a 1962 French film shot partly in Dijon, starring Brigitte Bardot and directed by Roger Vadim

  • Long Ago In France: The Years In Dijon (Une Jeune mariée à Dijon) by M.F.K. Fisher — candid memoir of the author’s stay in Dijon from 1929-1931 absorbing the essence of French character and

Bordeaux

Top French Cities - Bordeaux at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit Bordeaux Tourism at www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk.

City region: Aquitaine / Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Population & what they are called: 250,776 municipality inhabitants (2016 census), called Bordelais

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 5 h 40 min (363 miles) via the A10 autoroute called L'Aquitaine

  • by train: about 2 hours by TGV from the Gare Montparnasse

  • by plane: about 1 h 15 min from Paris

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • François Mauriac, writer and Nobel laureate

  • Michel de Montaigne, philosopher and essayist

  • Jean-Jacques Sempé, cartoonist

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Bordeaux is the most extensive urban environment in the world to be honored as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • 22 bottles of wine from Bordeaux are sold every second all over the world.

Notable sites:

  • Vieille ville – Old Bordeaux, its historic sites (the big bell tower, Place Pey-Berland, Opera House), elegant architecture and numerous wine bars

  • Cité du Vin – a unique immersive journey into the discovery of wine cultures (laciteduvin.com/en)

  • Miroir d'eau – world's largest water mirror, located on the Place de la Bourse

Top annual events:

  • Bordeaux Fête le Vin – a large biennial four-day wine festival that celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018 (June 14 to 18) with the arrival of the Tall Ships Regatta (bordeaux-wine-festival.com)

  • Bordeaux S.O Good – a three-day festival of epicurean and gourmet food, 7,000 gourmet dishes cooked by a collective of chefs (bordeauxsogood.fr)

  • International Festival of Arts of Bordeaux Métropole – nicknamed the FAB, it's three weeks of “artistic effervescence” (fab.festivalbordeaux.com/en/)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée des Beaux Arts – one of France's best painting galleries with artwork by masters from many eras – Rubens to Delacroix to Picasso (musba-bordeaux.fr/en)

  • Musée d'Aquitaine – archeological and history museum (musee-aquitaine-bordeaux.fr/en)

  • Bernard Magrez Institut Culturel – cultural institute with temporary exhibitions of modern art (institut-bernard-magrez.com)

Culinary specialties:

  • oysters – straight from the sea at Arcachon

  • canelé – a rum- and vanilla-flavored pastry with a thick caramelized crust and soft custard center

  • entrecôte bordelaise – a quality cut of beef grilled over a wood fire

Local wines & spirits:

  • Bordeaux wine – famous reds and dry, sweet and even sparkling whites, well worth visiting at the wineries and learning about through a tasting class

  • Lillet – made near Bordeaux with wine and fruit liqueur as a great prelude to any meal

Shopping:

  • Rue Sainte-Catherine – the main shopping street in town, often acclaimed as the longest pedestrian street in Europe (0.75 miles long)

  • Marché des Capucins – Bordeaux’s principal market hall, one of the best and biggest cupboards in the southwest of France

  • wine marmalade – all the delicious taste without the alcohol

Most popular night spots:

  • La Plage – the largest open-air dance floor in a city in France

  • I.BOAT – a concert hall, club and restaurant on a boat moored in a tidal basin

  • Mama Shelter – a rooftop bar with amazing city views

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Quays of the Garonne River – run, bike or stroll from the Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge to the Pont de pierre (Stone Bridge)

  • Marché des Chartrons – an outdoor Sunday market and perfect place for a glass of wine with oysters, or a canelé

  • Darwin Ecosystem – a green hub and alternative place dedicated to sustainable economic development and featuring an organic restaurant, urban farm, skate parks etc. (darwin.camp)

Local industries:

  • wine – with the largest AOC vineyards of France, Bordeaux is one of the world's most important wine producers and exporters

  • laser and plasma technologies – the Bordeaux area has the most important concentration of optical and laser expertise in Europe

In Pop Culture:

  • The Mummy – a 2016 movie with Tom Cruise with a scene made in Mérignac, near Bordeaux

  • The Flower of Evil (La fleur du mal) – a 2003 movie by Claude Chabrol about a seemingly perfect bourgeois family in Bordeaux

  • Les Misérables – a Robert Hossein adaptation of the famous novel, released in 1982

Major 2020 developments:

  • The trendy and rejuvenated neighborhood of Bacalan welcomes in spring 2020 the Bassin des Lumières, a grand digital exhibition space housed in the former WWII submarine base. It will also neighbor the Cité du Vin and the new Musée Mer Marine, all a 15mn tram ride from the city’s central Place de la Comédie.
Avignon

Top French Cities - Avignon at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit Avignon Tourisme at www.avignon-tourisme.com.

City region: Provence / Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Population & what they are called: 94,087 inhabitants (2016 census), called Avignonnais

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 6 h 45 min (435 miles) via A6 and A7 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 2 h 40 min by TGV from the Gare de Lyon; 30 min by train from Marseilles Provence Airport

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Pierre Boulle, writer

  • Bernard Kouchner, politician

  • Mireille Mathieu, singer

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The bridge of Avignon is the one referred to in the famous children's song.

Notable sites:

  • Palais des Papes – the largest Gothic palace in Europe, former papal residence during the 14th century, now a World Heritage site (palais-des-papes.com)

  • Pont d’Avignon – the surviving four arches (of the original 22) of the 13th-century Saint-Bénézet bridge (avignon-pont.com)

  • Carré du Palais – a palace for Côtes-du-Rhône wines and all things related to wine tourism related (carredupalaisavignon.com)

Top annual events:

  • Festival d'Avignon – major arts festival during three weeks in July (festival-avignon.com/en/)

  • Festival Off d'Avignon – in parallel with the main Festival, one of the largest festivals for independent theater companies in the world (avignonleoff.com/en/)

  • Festival Résonance – bands and DJs performing in heritage monuments (festival-resonance.fr)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée du Petit Palais – Italian paintings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance (petit-palais.org)

  • Musée Calvet – a fine arts collections from the 15th to the 20th centuries, set in a magnificent 18th-century mansion (musee-calvet-avignon.com)

  • Musée Angladon – located in a private mansion, a museum notable for works of art by 20th-century masters (angladon.com)

Culinary specialties:

  • papaline d'Avignon – fine chocolate with sugar and oregano liqueur

  • asparagus – it's a seasonal vegetable, but in that season it is revered in soups, roasted, grilled and lightly sautéed

  • daube avignonaise – the traditional lamb stew from the city, where the meat is marinated in white wine

Local wines & spirits:

  • Côtes-du-Rhône wines – Avignon is the capital of the appellation, which includes famous vintages like Châteauneuf du Pape

  • Distillerie Manguin – fruit-based eau-de-vies and liqueurs distilled on Ile de la Barthelasse

Shopping:

  • city center – Rue Joseph Vernet and Rue St Agricol feature trendy creators and chic boutiques, antiques shops and other designers in the pedestrian area

  • markets – Les Halles d'Avignon (Place Pie) is the most famous of the city

Most popular night spots:

  • 83 Vernet – a restaurant and bar set in former school buildings

  • La Cave des Pas Sages – small wine bar situated in a typical cobbled street (Rue des Teinturiers)

  • L’Opéra Café – one of the standout cafes on the Place de l’Horloge

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Rocher des Doms – the cradle of civilization in Avignon and now a lush hilltop garden with amazing views

  • Ile de la Barthelasse – the biggest river island in France and a great places for a stroll, jog, cycle or skate

  • Ramparts – enjoy leisurely time walking along one of the finest examples of medieval fortification in existence, one of the few to have been preserved in France

Local industries:

  • French Tech – the Avignon-Arles economic basin includes 600 companies working in digital technology

  • Technopôle Pégase Avignon – brings together more than 300 actors in the aerospace industry

In Pop Culture:

  • The Avignon Quintet, by Lawrence Durrell – a five-volume series of celebrated metafictional novels, set partly in Avignon

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