Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle: tourism & sightseeing
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Visit Nancy (Lorraine, France)
France This Way comment: although not always considered part of the established tourist routes in France, Nancy has some very interesting places to visit with many interesting historical buildings and important museums - and attracts millions of visitors each year.
A visit to Nancy can begin in the large square dedicated to Duke Stanislas, the Place Stanislas, which falls between the old town and the newer neighbourhoods of the city, and is surrounded by impressive buildings and feature wrought iron decorations. This very impressive square, certainly one of the most attractive in France, was created in the late 18th century and is essentially the same now as it was 200 years ago.
The principal buildings around the edges of Place Stanislas include the Town Hall (a large building in the classical style that dominates one side of the square), the Museum of Fine Arts, the Opera, the 'Neptune Fountain' and the Triumphal Arch, an eighteenth century addition which pays tribute to King Louis XV and is decorated with trophies, gold bars and floral motives. You can also see various statues and fountains in the square, which is enhancd further by being pedestrianised.
If possible you should also try to see Place Stanislas in the evening when the buildings are all beautifully lit, even better in the summer if you can see the 'son et lumière' show.
From here you can visit the Park of Pépinière with its gardens and activities for children. Other squares in Nancy to visit include the Place de la Carrière, next to Place Stanislas and once dedicated to races, and with imposing gates in the Rococo style, and the Place d'Alliance with a baroque fountain by Louis Cyfflé.
The Nancy Basilica of Saint Epvre, built in the flamboyant Gothic style, is another important historic monument; the stone carvings around the entrance, the beautiful stained glass windows (there are over 70 of these in total), and various statues including a painted wooden pièta are among the highlights. Another religious monument close to Place Stanislas is the Cathedral Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation, with an attractive baroque style facade incorporating two open belltowers and a clock.
Among the many other historical monuments in Nancy, the Porte de la Craffe is a substantial 14th century gateway that once gave access to the historic city and features a Cross of Lorraine in the stone between the two large towers. The Church of the Cordeliers and the imposing Duke's Palace are also here in medieval Nancy. The central parts of historic Nancy, including Place Stanislas, are listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Throughout Nancy you will discover lots more churches, imposing stone gateways, fountains and gardens, and in the district of Saint Leon and Saurupt you can see a later style, with the stained glass and floral motives of the palaces representing the Art Nouveau style.
The Rue des Maréchaux also merits a special mention: it is a street of restaurants and a remarkable spectacle of art and restaurants. You can find an international cuisine in Nancy, but there are some restaurants with local dishes such as the Alsatian choucroute (made with sauerkrauts and pork), quiche lorraine, tart aux mirabelles, and a wide choice of cheeses as well as local drinks such as the 'Bergamot from Nancy'.
Museums in Nancy
One of the most important museums in Nancy is the Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux Arts) where, among many others, you can see works by Eugène Delacroix ('La Bataille de Nancy') and Edouard Manet ('Automne' and the 'Soleil couchant à Etretat', which is perhaps one of his most successful landscape paintings).
There is a hall dedicated to the Pointillism technique in this museum with themes related to everyday life illuminated by bright colours by artists such as George Seurat. Other halls in the museum are dedicated to the Fauves and the Futurists, who painted the modern world in terms of movement, industrial cities and speed, as well as an interesting room devoted to the works of the Impressionists.
The Duke's palace holds an important museum, the Musée Lorrain, with statues, potteries, carvings and a section devoted to folklore.
Another museum of great artistic interest in Nancy is the Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy, above all for the art nouveau articles that you can see. As well as precious glass windows, potteries and carved furniture, the museum exhibits outstanding Art Nouveau works by Emile Gallé, Victor Prouvé and others. Among the many works by Gallé you can see the Assiette Japonaise, a decorative vase, and the famous "Bed, Dawn and the Dusk".
See also our related feature about the history of Nancy.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Lorraine guide.
Map of Nancy and places nearby
Tourist classifications for Nancy
Nancy has received the following tourist classifications: historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*;
Address: Nancy, Lorraine, 54000, France || GPS: latitude 48.6936, longitude 6.1846
Plan your visit to Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Place Stanislas, Nancy: heritage site
- Muséum-aquarium de Nancy: aquarium
- Jardin Alexandre-Godron: remarkable garden
- Parc Sainte-Marie: remarkable garden
- Jardin botanique du Montet: remarkable garden (4 km)
- Parc du château de Fléville-devant-Nancy: remarkable garden (8 km)
- Toul: recommended detour (22 km)
- Lorraine: regional natural parc (24 km)
- Gelaucourt: ville fleurie 4* (30 km)
- Parc romantique et Art Nouveau du château: remarkable garden (33 km)
- Château de Moyen: site of natural beauty (37 km)
Market days in Nancy, France
Regular market(s) are held in Nancy each Wednesday all day & Tuesday all day & Thursday all day & Sunday & Friday all day. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Nancy (Francais)