Located on the banks of the Moselle River, the city of Épinal benefits from a privileged situation in the heart of Europe, at the crossroads of Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. If the city owes its fame to the famous Imagerie d'Épinal, the Lorraine city is also rich of a thousand years of history and has a varied and unusual heritage. Moreover, due to its numerous sports infrastructures, Épinal has been labeled as the "Land of the Games 2024" and will thus serve as a preparation center for the Olympic Games. Thanks to the JOOKS application, come and discover the city of images, on foot or by bike, with the three audio-guided routes proposed by the city!
A thousand-year-old city, the prefecture of the Vosges is the leading economic and commercial center of the department. As a result, it plays a leading role on a regional scale within the framework of the Sillon lorrain, the result of more than 15 years of collaboration with the agglomerations of Thionville, Nancy and Metz.
Fourth city of Lorraine, Épinal claims to be a city of history and a city of the future. It thus highlights its cultural and patrimonial wealth but also its exceptional natural environment and its dynamism.
The historical part of the city is located on the right bank of the Moselle. Its history begins with a castle, built in the 10th century, as well as a monastery and a church. From a village, Épinal became a city and passed through the hands of the Dukes of Lorraine before being attached to France. The traces of this rich historical past are everywhere in the streets of the city and will take you on a journey through the centuries.
During your walk, you will be brought to the foot of the imposing Saint-Maurice Basilica, classified as a historical monument since 1846. Push the doors of this magnificent building mixing Romanesque and Gothic styles in order to admire the superb statues, the paintings and the reliquaries. Don't miss the Place des Vosges and its beautiful arcades once reserved for merchants, the Chapter Museum, located on the remains of the medieval ramparts, or the covered market.
Your walk will also take you to the discovery of some rather unusual constructions for the region. First of all, the Chinese Tower, which was built during the reign of Napoleon I by a rich Spinalian citizen, in order to hide the stairs connecting his residence and his private gardens. Another curiosity of the city is the Roman house, which was built at the end of the 19th century. This replica of a villa in Pompeii was commissioned by a rich heiress who, ruined, unfortunately never saw her project completed.
The imagerie d'Épinal
When we talk about Epinal, the first thing that comes to mind are the pictures. Indeed, these brightly colored prints with popular subjects were a huge success in the 18th and 19th centuries and have become a symbol of the city's living heritage. Founded in 1796 by Jean-Charles Pellerin, the Imagerie d'Épinal was originally a printing company producing card games and religious images. Gradually abandoning religious prints, the Imagerie turned to the production of plates illustrating popular events and became what newspapers and magazines are today.
The Imagerie is still active today and allows you to visit its former workshops. A visit to the Image Museum, located next door, is also a must. It houses an impressive collection of more than 110,000 popular French and foreign images, from the 17th century to the present day.
Terre de Jeux
Elected "the most sporty city in France" in 1991, Épinal has remained faithful to its title. With more than fifty sports facilities, nearly 80 disciplines and a hundred or so sports clubs and associations, the city is a true sports territory. It is therefore not surprising that it has been awarded the "Terre de Jeux 2024" label for the next Olympic Games.
This certification allows it to welcome foreign sports delegations but it is also a great spotlight on the region. Thanks to the Terre de Jeux route, discover the six infrastructures that are part of the official list of the Games Preparation Centers.
Find all the routes of the city of Épinal and more than 1300 others on the JOOKS application.
Run, walk or cycle with JOOKS, from the Saint-Maurice Basilica to the Musée de l'image!