Grand Est

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Region of France
Flag of Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine
Country  France
Prefecture Strasbourg
 • President Philippe Richert (The Republicans)
 • Total 57,433 km2 (22,175 sq mi)
Population (2013)
 • Total 5,552,388
 • Density 97/km2 (250/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
GDP (2013) Ranked
Total €150.3 billion (US$207.0 bn)
Per capita €27,085 (US$37,312)

Grand Est[1] (French pronunciation: ​[ɡʁɑ̃.t‿ɛst]; translates to "Grand East" in English), officially still Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine (ACAL or less commonly, ALCA),[2] is a French administrative region in northeastern France. It superseded three former administrative regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine—on 1 January 2016, as a result of territorial reform which was passed by the French legislature in 2014.[3][4] Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine is a provisional name, created by hyphenating the merged regions in alphabetical order; its regional council must approve a new name for the region by 1 July 2016, which then must be approved by France's Conseil d'État by 1 October 2016.[4] The administrative capital and largest city is Strasbourg.


Provisional name

The provisional name of the region is Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, which is 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 applies to all but one of the provisional names for new regions.[4] The ACAL regional council, which will be elected in December 2015, must choose a name for the region and submit it to the Conseil d'État—France's highest authority for administrative law—by 1 July 2016 for approval. The Conseil d'État then has until 1 October 2016 to issue a decree officially recognizing the names of the new regions.[4][5]

In Alsace and in Lorraine, the new region has frequently been called ALCA, for Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardennes, on the internet.[6]

Permanent name

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.[7] Grand Est also topped a poll the following month conducted by L'Est Republicain, receiving 42% of 3,324 votes.[8]

Among the names which have received a moderate amount of discussion are:

  • fr (Grand Est) is a term used to refer to the northeast quarter of Metropolitan France, although this term refers to a geographic region larger than just ACAL. The term has been commonly used and has topped the polls mentioned above.
  • Grand Est Europe (Great East Europe) is a variant of Grand Est that alludes to the region being a gateway to Europe both through trade and since Strasbourg is home to several European institutions (which makes it one of the three unofficial capitals of the European Union).[9] However, the name has been mocked for how it could suggest that the region is in Eastern Europe.[10]
  • Austrasie (Austrasia),[7][8] which refers to a historic region spanning parts of present-day northeast France, the Benelux, and northwest Germany.[citation needed]
  • Quatre frontières (Four Frontiers), which refers to the region's border with four countries, has also been discussed.[7]


ACAL covers 57,433 square kilometres (22,175 sq mi) of land and is the sixth-largest of the regions of France effective 1 January 2016. ACAL borders four countries—Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Switzerland—along its northern and eastern sides. It is the only French region to border more than two countries. To the west and south, it borders the French regions Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie (provisional name), Île-de-France, and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (provisional name).

Map of the new region with its ten départements, colored according to the historical provinces as they existed until 1790.
  small principalities


ACAL 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 border on the east by the Rhine which forms most 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.



Protesters of the Alsace independence movement holding a banner saying "No to merger" (Non a la fusion), 2014 in Strasbourg.

ACAL 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.[11] ACAL is the merger of three regions: Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine.


The merger has been strongly opposed in Alsace. The territorial reform law allows new regions to choose the seat of the regional councils, but specifically made Strasbourg the seat of the ACAL regional council—a move to appease the region's politicians.[12]


The region has a population of 5,552,388 (municipal population on 1 January 2013).[13]

Cities with over 20,000 inhabitants Region 2013
Strasbourg Alsace 275,718
Reims Champagne-Ardenne 182,592
Metz Lorraine 118,634
Mulhouse Alsace 112,063
Nancy Lorraine 104,072
Colmar Alsace 67,956
Troyes Champagne-Ardenne 59,671
Charleville-Mézières Champagne-Ardenne 48,991
Châlons-en-Champagne Champagne-Ardenne 44,899
Thionville Lorraine 41,627
Haguenau Alsace 34,419
Épinal Lorraine 32,188
Schiltigheim Alsace 31,450
Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy Lorraine 29,836
Illkirch-Graffenstaden Alsace 26,455
Saint-Dizier Champagne-Ardenne 25,626
Épernay Champagne-Ardenne 23,413
Chaumont Champagne-Ardenne 22,560
Montigny-lès-Metz Lorraine 21,831
Forbach Lorraine 21,596
Sarreguemines Lorraine 21,572
Saint-Dié-des-Vosges Lorraine 20,471
2013 Rank Department Legal Population in 2013 Area (km²) Aroen (Pop./km²) INSEE Dept. No.
1 Bas-Rhin 1,109,460 4,755 233 67
2 Moselle 1,046,873 6,216 168 57
3 Haut-Rhin 758,723 3,525 215 68
4 Meurthe-et-Moselle 731,004 5,246 139 54
5 Marne 569,999 8,162 70 51
6 Vosges 375,226 5,874 64 88
7 Aube 306,581 6,004 51 10
8 Ardennes 280,907 5,229 54 08
9 Meuse 192,094 6,211 31 55
10 Haute-Marne 181,521 6,211 29 52


Regional council

Inaugural session of the new Regional council on 4 January 2016
File:Alsace Regional Council headquarters in Strasbourg January 2013.jpg
The current headquarters of the Alsace Regional Council, which serves as the headquarters of ACAL'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.[14] The elected inaugural President of the ACAL Regional Council is Philippe Richert, who was previously the President of the Alsace Regional Council.[14]

Transport and infrastructure

Rail Transport

The region has five tram networks:


The region has four airports:


The region has eighteen motorways:

  • A4 Paris to Strasbourg
  • A5 Paris to Langres
  • A26 Calais to Troyes
  • A30 Uckange to Longwy in N52
  • A31 Beaune to Luxembourg in A3 motorway (Luxembourg)
  • A33 Nancy to Phalsbourg in N4
  • A34 Reims to Sedan
  • A35 Strasbourg to Basel
  • A36 Beaune to Mulhouse
  • A304 project in city of Charleville-Mézières
  • A313 in city of Pont-à-Mousson
  • A314 and A315 in city of Metz
  • A320 in city of Forbach
  • A330 in city of Nancy
  • A340 Brumath to Haguenau in D1340
  • A344 in city of Reims
  • A351 in city of Strasbourg
  • A352 Molsheim to Schirmeck in D1420

The region has twelve cities that have ring roads:

  • Strasbourg
  • Reims
  • Metz
  • Nancy
  • Mulhouse
  • Troyes
  • Châlons-en-Champagne
  • Épinal
  • Colmar
  • Thionville
  • Longwy


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 fr (Basillica of Avioth), 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. ""Grand Est": les élus valident le nom de région". Le Figaro (in french). Retrieved 2016-04-29.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 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.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "La carte à 13 régions définitivement adoptée" (in French). Le Monde. Agence France-Presse. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 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)
  5. Quel nom pour la nouvelle région ? Vous avez choisi..., Sud-Ouest, 4 December 2014, accessed 2 January 2015
  6. "Cette région que l'Alsace ne veut pas baptiser". Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace (in French). 7 December 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "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.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Choisissez un nom pour la Grande Région". L'Est Républicain (in French). 2 December 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 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.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 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.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "La carte à 13 régions définitivement adoptée". Le Monde (in French). 17 December 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "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.)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Insee - Populations légales 2013 - Populations légales 2013 des régions 2016". Insee. Retrieved 4 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 "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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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