France – Living in the region Lorraine
Lorraine is a region (part of Grand Est) in France, close to Germany, and I had the honour to live here for five months. Lorraine is surrounded with breathtaking nature and I’m an absolute nature lover. Beautiful landscapes can take my breath away. During those five months, I did an internship for my study (tourism management) at Center Parcs Domaine les Trois Forêts in Hattigny (a bungalow park). Together with a classmate I stayed a cottage, which was my home for those five months.
Center Parcs Domaine les Trois Forêts
I did my internship at the reception of the park. On Mondays and Fridays, I was working at the entrance of the park to welcome the guests in all kinds of languages (French, German, English and Dutch) and on the other days, I was working at the reception. At the reception, I answered the questions of guests and helped with the reservations.
When I worked in the park (2012), the park was very new; it was open for just two years. The park is located in the middle of the nature and you also have forests where you can walk through. It is a huge park, one of the biggest parks of Center Parcs. There’s always something to do for all different ages: you can do different kinds of sport activities, swim in the Aquamundo, play at the Baluba or have diner in one of the many restaurant in the Market Dome. There are also several types of cottages. You can choose between a comfort, premium or VIP cottage and it is bookable from four till twelve persons.
The closest town to Hattigny and Center Parcs is Sarrebourg. By car, you’ll be there in approximately 30 minutes. Well, me and my classmate did not have a car and we tried it once by bike (yup, in the Dutch way!), but it was not what we expected with all those hills. In the Netherlands, the land is flat, but in France it is just a bit different. Never again. However, most of the time we could drive with one of our colleagues to Sarrebourg.
Sarrebourg is not a big city, but it has shops, restaurants and everything you can expect of a little city. Furthermore, the environment is breathtaking and the streets are adorable, typical French. A tip when you want to go out for diner in Sarrebourg: go to La Pataterie. All my colleagues were talking about this restaurant and once I went there, I have to admit, it was pretty awesome! It has delicious food (not that luxurious, but very unique plates) and a nice ambiance. During the five months, I ate around four times at La Pataterie.
During my time in France, I went to Strasbourg for two times. The first time for sightseeing and the second time for the Christmas markets. Strasbourg is absolutely my favorite city in the region (well, actually it already is the Alsace region). There are many international shops, tourist attractions and other beautiful places. Also, during Christmas time the entire city and its squares are transformed into a lighted paradise with lots of Christmas stands.
The district ‘La Petite France’ is definitely a must see. It is the most scenic district of Strasbourg. It is located in the center of the city and belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The cathedral is also a nice building to visit. Around the cathedral, you can enjoy a drink in one of the many bars/restaurants.
I went to Nancy once during my time in France. I went to the city when my family visited me at Center Parcs. It’s a lovely city with lots of beautiful places and for shopping it is a good city as well.
Nancy is approximately an hour driving from Center Parcs. During a visit to Nancy, you should definitely visit ‘Place Stanislas’. This is a very beautiful square which also belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The square is named as the most beautiful royal square in Europe and high point of Nancy’s outstanding collection of 18th century monuments.
Just do it!
When you get the chance to do an internship abroad, I can really recommend it! You should not doubt about it, just do it and make some new experiences. Not only the internship itself is very educational, but during your time abroad you also learn a lot about the culture, the people and the language of the country you are going to. Furthermore, being five months all on your own in an unknown country let you learn lots about yourself too.
And oh, when you are in France, you should really taste a delicious big macaron of the bakery ‘Paul’. They are the best!
Have you ever been to Lorraine and the Grand Est? How was your trip? Or do you have any questions about the region? Go ahead and ask me in the comments!