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Boating Holidays In Alsace-Lorraine

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Enjoy the unique flavour of Frances scenic eastern provinces.

These two regions on France's eastern frontier provide fine cruising on rivers and on the excellent and extensive canal network. The two rivers Moselle and Meuse cross the region, linking important towns and cities. Several canals - the Canal de la Marne au Rhin, the Canal de la Meuse, the Canal des Houillères - take you through some beautiful countryside and allow you to see the characteristic timber-framed houses in picturesque villages. The cuisine of this region has a distinctive Germanic twist, and the famous crisp white wines of Alsace are definitely worth sampling!

Our bases in Alsace-Lorraine at Boofzheim, Hesse, Lutzelbourg and Saarbrücken give you good flexibility on route selection. One popular choice starts in Hesse and takes you from the Sarre valley along the Canal de la Marne au Rhin through Strasbourg and on to Boofzheim. Lutzelbourg and Saverne are two delightful stops en route. Saverne has rose gardens, a Renaissance palace and the Haut Baar Castle with its fine views. The amazing 'boat-lift' at Arzviller, where your boat is lowered or raised from one level of the canal to another is a masterpiece of canal engineering. The Unesco World Heritage city of Strasbourg is well worth a stop - perfect for sightseeing and shopping! Towards Boofzheim you pass through the amazing Rhine red plains, a haven for many varieties of wading birds and perfect for bird-watchers.

To the west you can cruise the region of Lorraine. Following the Canal de la Marne au Rhin, you reach the splendid city of Nancy, the capital of Lorraine. Lovers of Art Nouveau and Baroque architecture will revel in the attractions of Nancy especially the beautiful Place Stanislas. The River Moselle north to Metz offers fine river cruising ; the Canal des Houillères de la Sarre takes you north from Hesse or Lutzelbourg through the exceptionally scenic Sarre valley. Enjoy Mittersheim Lake, the aqueduct at Sarralbe and the bustling port of Sarreguemines.

Places of Interest

Arzviller - The small village of Arzviller is home to the "Saint-Louis / Arzviller" lift bridge. Up until 1969, a flight of 17 locks was needed to climb up to the Vosges Mountains. Today the lift bridge allows over 10,000 vessels a year to climb the 102 metre slope in a matter of minutes, not days!

Metz - Metz possesses one of the largest Urban Conservation Areas in France and more than 100 buildings of the city are classified on the Monument Historique list. The city features noteworthy buildings such as the Gothic Saint-Stephen Cathedral, the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, its Station Palace and its Opera House, the oldest one in France. Metz is home to some world-class venues including the Arsenal Concert Hall and the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum. The city is also a hot bed of local cuisine - specialties include quiche, the potée, Lorraine pâté, and also suckling pig. Different recipes, such as jam, tart,

charcuterie and fruit brandy, are made from Mirabelle and Damson plums.

Nancy - The old city centre's heritage dates from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. The cathedral of Nancy, the Triumphal Arch and the "Place de la Carrière" are fine examples of 18th century architecture. One of the regions largest botanical gardens, the Jardin Botanique du Montet is based in the city. At the turn of the 20th century, Nancy was a major centre of Art Nouveau and the citys museum of fine arts has an excellent collection of pieces on display.

Saarbrücken - The city may be over the German border, but it retains a very French feel. In modern German, Saarbrücken literally means "Saar bridges", and indeed there are about a dozen bridges across the Saar river. The old town centre has been transformed with cafés, bars and restaurants lining the streets.

Strasbourg - Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island), was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. The city is chiefly known for its sandstone Gothic Cathedral with its famous astronomical clock, and for its medieval cityscape of Rhineland black and white timber-framed buildings. The centre is awash with other fine Franco/German architecture, squares, parks, museums and restaurants. Strasbourg is the home to the oldest symphonic orchestra in western Europe, and hosts many internationally renowned music festivals throughout the year.

Toul - There is a great deal of Roman archaeology in the area and allegedly some in the town. The Roman fortified town of Grand is some 30km away, with its great amphitheatre and temple to the Cult of Apollo. The old town's architecture is dominated by past glories in various states of decay, including a major Gothic cathedral, which is in a poor condition and is being slowly restored.

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