Bar-le-Duc, Meuse: tourism & sightseeing
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Visit Bar-le-Duc (Lorraine, France)
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).
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.
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 contain a good number of medieval houses and you can see the clocktower, a remaining part of what was once the ramparts for Bar-le-Du (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 items explaining the history of the town 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.
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, the 19th century town hall and the Hotel de Florainville, now the Palais de Justice.
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).
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.
Map of Bar-le-Duc and places nearby
Tourist classifications for Bar-le-Duc
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, Lorraine, 55000, France || GPS: latitude 48.7719, longitude 5.16028
Plan your visit to Bar-le-Duc, Meuse
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Parc de G. de Tréves: remarkable garden (10 km)
- Parc de la Varenne: remarkable garden (11 km)
- Ligny-en-Barrois: village d'etape (15 km)
- Beaulieu-en-Argonne: ville fleurie 4* (30 km)
- Haussignemont: ville fleurie 4* (31 km)
- Lac du Der-Chantecoq: site of natural beauty (37 km)
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)