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The Champagne-Ardenne Region of France

Location:

Alsace is located on France's northeastern border and on the west bank of the upper Rhine River neighboring both Germany and Switzerland. The region of Lorraine France lies to its west.


Climate:

The Alsatian climate is semi-continental, with varying weather according to the season. The summer is usually hot and dry on the plain but relief from the heat can be found in the higher altitudes in the Vosges. In the fall the region usually experiences an Indian summer where tourists can experience the changing of the forest foliage as well as the bountiful harvest among the farms and vineyards. Winters can be severe in the region with copious snow fall in the mountain areas and frost and fog on the plains. Although generally mild, spring can be highly changeable with a few periods of rain and cold weather. In May nature really comes into bloom.


Geography:

Alsace is the smallest region of France. It is almost four times longer than it is wide. It is approximately 20 miles wide and 80 miles in length. The region is bordered by the Vosges Mountains in the west and the rich fertile valleys along the Rhine River in the east. Although it is small in size it offers a variety of landscapes ranging from peaks, valleys, forests and plains. Its modest size also allows the traveler to easily discover all the regions treasures.


History:

Like many regions in the area Alsace’s earliest inhabitants were nomad hunters and gatherers. The Celts settled in the area around 1500 BC by clearing and cultivating the rich lands in the Rhine valley. By 58 BC, the Romans had invaded and established Alsace as a center of vineyards for grape and wine production. To protect this highly valued industry, the Romans built fortifications and military camps that evolved into various communities which have been inhabited continuously to the present day. With the decline of the Roman Empire, Alsace became the territory of the Germanic Alemanni. It spent centuries in the Holy Roman Empire until the mid-1600s when it was conquered by France.


Culture:

The historical language of Alsace is Alsatian, a Germanic dialect also spoken in part of Lorraine and across the Rhine, but today most Alsatians primarily speak French, although many are bi-lingual speaking both French and German. The area boasts many gastronomic delights with influences from both countries.



The Official Champagne-Ardenne Tourism Site
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