Grand Est

Grand Est
Region of France
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]; English: Great East, German: Großer Osten — both in the Alsatian and the Lorraine Franconian dialect —), previously 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 It superseded three former administrative regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine—on 1 January 2016, as a result of territorial reform which was passed by the French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 was a provisional name, created by hyphenating the merged regions in alphabetical order; its regional council had to approve a new name for the region by 1 July 2016.[4] France's Conseil d'État approved Grand Est as the new name of the region on 28 September 2016, effective 30 September 2016.[5] The administrative capital and largest city is Strasbourg.


Provisional name

The provisional name of the region was 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 applied to all but one of the provisional names for new regions.[4] The ACAL regional council, which was be 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.[4][6] The provisional name of the region was retired on 30 September 2016, when the new name of the region, Grand Est, takes effect.[5]

In Alsace and in Lorraine, the new region has frequently been called ALCA, for Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardennes, on the internet.[7]

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

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.[8] Grand Est also topped a poll the following month conducted by L'Est Republicain, receiving 42% of 3,324 votes.[9]

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


Grand Est 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. Grand Est borders four countries—Belgium,[12] Luxembourg,[13] Germany,[14] and Switzerland[15]—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


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 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.

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.[16] 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 Grand Est regional council—a move to appease the region's politicians.[17]


The region has a population of 5,552,388 (municipal population on 1 January 2013).[18]

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 RankDepartmentLegal Population in 2013Area (km²)Aroen (Pop./km²)INSEE Dept. No.


Regional council

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
Further information: Regional council (France)

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]

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.

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, 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.
  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.
  3. "La carte à 13 régions définitivement adoptée" (in French). Le Monde. Agence France-Presse. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 4 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. 1 2 Décret n° 2016-1262 du 28 septembre 2016 portant fixation du nom de la région Grand Est (in French)
  6. Quel nom pour la nouvelle région ? Vous avez choisi..., Sud-Ouest, 4 December 2014, accessed 2 January 2015
  7. "Cette région que l'Alsace ne veut pas baptiser". Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace (in French). 7 December 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  8. 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.
  9. 1 2 "Choisissez un nom pour la Grande Région". L'Est Républicain (in French). 2 December 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Wallonia
  13. Grevenmacher and Luxembourg Districts
  14. Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland
  15. Cantons of Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Jura and Solothurn
  16. "La carte à 13 régions définitivement adoptée". Le Monde (in French). 17 December 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  17. "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.)
  18. "Insee - Populations légales 2013 - Populations légales 2013 des régions 2016". Insee. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  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.

Coordinates: 48°45′16″N 5°51′06″E / 48.7544°N 5.8517°E / 48.7544; 5.8517

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