21 Best Places And Things To Do in Épinal, France

Épinal is a charming city located in the northeastern part of France, in the Grand Est region. Known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene, Épinal offers a range of attractions and activities that are sure to captivate visitors. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Épinal:

1. Épinal Castle

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Dominating the city’s skyline, Épinal Castle is a must-visit attraction. This medieval fortress offers panoramic views of the city and houses the Musée Départemental d’Art Ancien et Contemporain, where you can explore a collection of art from various periods.

2. Place des Vosges

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This picturesque square is the heart of Épinal’s historic center. Surrounded by beautiful buildings, quaint cafes, and shops, it’s a perfect place to relax and soak in the local atmosphere.

3. Musée de l’Image

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Épinal is renowned for its production of colorful and iconic images known as “images d’Épinal.” The Musée de l’Image showcases a vast collection of these popular prints, offering insights into the city’s artistic heritage.

4. Parc du Château

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Located near the Épinal Castle, this expansive park provides a peaceful escape from the bustling city. Stroll through its lush gardens, enjoy a picnic, or simply unwind amidst nature’s beauty.

5. Basilica of Saint-Maurice

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This stunning Gothic-style basilica is an architectural gem worth visiting. Admire its intricate stained glass windows, impressive organ, and ornate details that reflect centuries of craftsmanship.

6. Boat ride on the Canal des Vosges

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Explore Épinal’s waterways by taking a boat ride along the Canal des Vosges. Relax as you cruise past picturesque scenery, charming locks, and quaint villages, offering a unique perspective of the region.

7. Parc du Cours

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Located in the city center, Parc du Cours is a delightful green space perfect for leisurely walks, picnics, or outdoor activities. It features beautifully landscaped gardens, a small lake, and even a mini-golf course.

8. Explore the Vosges Mountains

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Épinal is surrounded by the stunning Vosges Mountains, offering ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, cycling, and skiing are popular activities in the area, allowing you to immerse yourself in the region’s natural beauty.

9. Taste regional cuisine

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Indulge in the local gastronomy by sampling traditional dishes of the Vosges region. Try delicious specialties such as Quiche Lorraine, Munster cheese, and tarte flambée, accompanied by regional wines.

10. Visit nearby towns

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Épinal’s location provides easy access to several charming towns and villages. Take day trips to places like Gérardmer, known for its picturesque lake, or the historic town of Nancy, with its stunning architecture and renowned Place Stanislas.

11. The Imagerie d’Épinal

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No visit to Épinal would be complete without a trip to the Imagerie d’Épinal. This iconic printmaking workshop has been producing its famous images since the 18th century. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the craft, witness the printing process, and even try your hand at making your own print.

12. The Museum of Ancient and Contemporary Art

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Situated in the heart of Épinal, this museum showcases a diverse collection of artwork spanning different periods and styles. From Renaissance paintings to contemporary installations, you’ll find a range of artistic treasures to admire.

13. Shopping in the city center

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Épinal’s city center is a shopper’s paradise, with a mix of boutiques, specialty stores, and local markets. Explore the narrow streets and discover unique souvenirs, antiques, crafts, and regional products to take home.

14. Music and cultural events

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Épinal hosts a vibrant cultural scene with a variety of music festivals, concerts, and performances throughout the year. Check the local events calendar to see if there’s a show or festival happening during your visit, and immerse yourself in the city’s lively artistic atmosphere.

15. La Manufacture

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Delve into the city’s industrial heritage at La Manufacture. This former textile factory has been transformed into a cultural space that houses art exhibitions, workshops, and events. Explore the historical building and learn about Épinal’s industrial past.

16. Visit the Épinal Market

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Experience the local flavors and vibrant atmosphere at the weekly market in Épinal. Stroll through the stalls, sample regional produce, and engage with friendly vendors. It’s a great opportunity to discover local delicacies and soak in the lively ambiance.

17. The Museum of Local Traditions and Popular Arts

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Dive into the traditions and customs of the Vosges region at this fascinating museum. Learn about local folklore, traditional crafts, and rural life through a collection of artifacts, costumes, and interactive displays.

18. Attend a theater performance

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Épinal boasts several theaters that showcase a range of productions, from plays and musicals to dance performances and comedy shows. Check the schedule and enjoy an evening of cultural entertainment in one of the city’s charming theaters.

19. Maison Romaine

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Step back in time at Maison Romaine, a beautifully preserved Roman house located in Épinal. Explore the ancient ruins, walk through the reconstructed rooms, and gain insights into the daily life of the Romans who once inhabited the area.

20. Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix

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Visit the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix, a serene and peaceful chapel located on a hill overlooking the city. Admire the stunning stained glass windows and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere as you take in panoramic views of Épinal and its surrounding landscapes.

21. Musée de l’Imagerie Numérique

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Discover the modern side of Épinal’s image-making tradition at the Musée de l’Imagerie Numérique. This interactive museum showcases digital art and the latest techniques used in image creation. Learn about the evolution of Épinal’s iconic images and even try your hand at creating digital artwork.