The largest city and its capital is called Strasbourg.
Alsace is the smallest région of metropolitan France. It is
almost four times longer than it is wide, corresponding to a plain between the Rhine in
the east and the Vosges mountains in the west.
It includes the departements of Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin. Alsace borders Germany on the
north and the east, also Switzerland on to south border, and Lorraine
on the west.
It contains many forests, but these are mainly in the Vosges and in Bas-Rhin. Several
valleys are also found in the region. Its highest point is the ballon de Guebwiller in
Haut-Rhin, which reaches a height of 1426m.
Alsace has a semi-continental climate with cold and dry winters and hot summers. The city
of Colmar is the second driest city in France, with an annual precipitation of only around
550 mm, which makes it an ideal place for producing vin d'Alsace (Alsatian wine).
68% of its jobs are in the services and 25% are in industry, which makes Alsace one of
France's most industrialised regions.
Alsace is a region of varied economic activity, which includes wines, hop harvesting and
brewing (half of French beer is produced in Alsace, especially in the vicinity of
Strasbourg, with most commonly known - Kronenbourg), forestry development, automobile
industry and tourism.
Alsace has many international ties and 35% of firms are foreign companies (notably German,
Swiss, American, Japanese and Scandinavian).
This region is well known for its history, and hence is
a fantastic spot for tourists and holiday makers, plus its cosmopolitan background makes
it a very worthwhile place to visit.
Alsace was part of the Holy Roman Empire and is still inhabited by people speaking a
dialect of Upper German.
And because Alsace has changed hands between France and Germany many times, the overall
characteristics of the architecture, infrastructure, economy and interests generally point
towards a more Germanic outlook than French, but are generally divided between German and
French accomplishments. Yet when it comes to cuisine, customs, language, dress and
music, these are mainly of German influence.