April 28, 2016

2497 FRANCE (Grand Est) - Lorraine

Lorraine is a cultural and historical region in north-eastern France, which has borders with three other countries: Belgium (Wallonia), Luxembourg, and Germany (Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate). Its location led to it being a paramount strategic asset as the crossroads of four nations. This, along with its political alliances, marriage alliances, and the ability over the centuries to choose sides between East and West, gave it a tremendously powerful and important role in transforming all of European history.

Lorraine's name stems from the medieval kingdom of Lotharingia, which in turn was named for either Emperor Lothair I or King Lothair II. It became later the Duchy of Lorraine before it was annexed to France in 1766. Most of Lorraine has a clear French identity with the exception the northeastern part, today known as Moselle, which is historically German-speaking. Like many border regions, Lorraine was a patchwork of ethnicities and dialects not mutually intelligible with either standard French or German.

The regional prefecture was Metz, although the largest metropolitan area of Lorraine is Nancy. Metz has a rich 3,000-year-history, having variously been a Celtic oppidum, an important Gallo-Roman city, the Merovingian capital of the Austrasia kingdom, the birthplace of the Carolingian dynasty, a cradle of the Gregorian chant, and one of the oldest republics in Europe. The city has been steeped in Romance culture, but has been strongly influenced by Germanic culture due to its location and history.

Except for the Vosges Mountains in the southeast and the ridges paralleling the Moselle and Meuse rivers, Lorraine is a slightly rolling plateau with pastures and some agricultural districts. Hops are grown (Lorraine has large breweries), and there are numerous vineyards. In the east salt is mined; coal was formerly mined. The northeastern section of the region has turned into a rustbelt, with its mining and steel industries, once a mainstay of the economy, losing thousands of jobs since the early 1980s.

About the stamp
The stamp belong to the definitive series Marianne de la jeunesse, about which I wrote here.

Lorraine - Wikipedia
Lorraine - Encyclopedia.com

Sender: Wandrille Mollard
Ssent from Bibiche (Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine / France), on 19.12.2015

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