Bar-le-Duc, Lorraine: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Bar-le-Duc in Meuse

Visit Bar-le-Duc (Lorraine, France)

MAP & PLACES TO VISIT

Bar-le-Duc is located between Reims and Nancy in the Lorraine department of north-east France (200 km east of Paris). In a quiet location in a forested valley on the River Ornain, the town has several features and monuments to discover during a visit.

Bar-le-Duc has also received the classification of a protected Historic Town in France as well as being one of the oficial French 'villes d'art et histoire' towns (see French Towns of Art and History).

Exploring Bar-le-Duc

The town essentially falls into two parts - the lower town, containing the more modern part of the town; and the upper town (reached by various steep staircases) where much of the historical interest is to be found. Bar-le-Duc is best known for the elegant renaiassance period buildings in the upper town, typically built in the 16th century.

Statue in Church of Saint-EtienneUpper Town

Start your visit at the Place Saint-Pierre (and in the adjacent Rue des Ducs), to see the best of the renaissance houses, several of which feature very imposing facades with stonework ornamentation.

At one end of the square you can see the gothic style Church of Saint Etienne, and the renowned carving of a corpse (that of René de Chalon, Prince of Orange) called Le Transi that it contains, by an important renaissance sculptor called Ligier Richier

The surrounding streets also contain a good number of medieval houses. You can also see the clocktower, a remaining part of what was once the town ramparts (follow the walk along the ramparts to best appreciate these), and some ruins from the original 15th century chateau.

The newer 16th century castle is now home to the Museum Barrois, with an interesting collection of itels explaining the history of Barr and surrounding region. The museum has a wide collection of paintings and sculpture, mostly 16th to 18th centuries, and a separate section dedicated to archaeology.

Lower town

Clocktower in ramparts at Bar-le-Duc

While the most important highlights are found in the compact upper town in Bar-le-Duc it is also worth spending the time to explore the tower part of the town.

The places of interest are mostly along the Rue du Bourg and the adjacent streets, between the clocktower and the place de l'horloge in the upper town and the bridge (Pont Notre-Dame) over the river, and the Church of Notre-Dame, in the lower town.

The Church of Notre-Dame is the oldest church in Bar-le-Duc, although the tower that dominates the building was added in the 18th century.

Among the other highlights are the 16th century Gilles de Treves College and the 19th century town hall. There are also some attractive parks in Bar-le-Duc, including the 200 year old park of the town hall itself, and the unusual plant species in the Parc de Marbeaumont (around the Chateau Marbeaumont and a little way to the north-east of the main town centre).

Other information

Historical note: the route from Bar-le-Duc to Verdun, to the north, was of great importance during the terrible Battle of Verdun during the First World War, being the only supply route for the provisions for the French army.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Lorraine guide.

See also:

Map of Bar-le-Duc and places to visit

Visit near Bar-le-Duc with France This Way reviews

Tourist classifications

Bar-le-Duc has received the following tourist classifications: recommended detour town (plus beau detour); historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); listed town of Art and History

Address: Bar-le-Duc, Meuse, Lorraine, 55000, France || GPS: latitude 48.7719, longitude 5.16028

Plan your visit to Bar-le-Duc, Lorraine

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Parc de G. de Tréves: remarkable garden (10km)
  • Parc de la Varenne: remarkable garden (11km)
  • Ligny-en-Barrois: village d'etape (15km)
  • Beaulieu-en-Argonne: ville fleurie 4* (30km)
  • Haussignemont: ville fleurie 4* (31km)
  • Lac du Der-Chantecoq: site of natural beauty (37km)

Market days in Bar-le-Duc, France

Regular market(s) are held in Bar-le-Duc each Tuesday & Thursday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Bar-le-Duc (Francais)