Nancy, the squares - Visit time : 1 day.
The three main squares in Nancy – Place Stanislas, Place de la Carrière and Place d'Alliance – were built in the 18th century.
This ensemble was designed to create a link between the old town and the new town while prioritizing public utility. The most spectacular, Place Stanislas, is a unique architectural gem that captures visitors with its beautiful fountains, gates and layout. It is considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world. The downtown area of Nancy also showcases a series of bold and romantic Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture.
The three squares in Nancy form a unique ensemble, a true architectural masterpiece. Nancy offers the oldest and most distinctive example of a modern capital where an enlightened monarch proved to be sensitive to the needs of his people. Built between 1752 and 1756 by a brilliant team led by architect Héré, this cleverly designed project resulted in creating a capital that, while increasing the prestige of its sovereign, also brilliantly served its functional purpose. It illustrates a significant stage in urban history.
Criteria for selection (1983)
Criterion (i): Nancy’s squares are one of the masterpieces of 18th century urban planning, reuniting the old town and the new town without removing the rampart that separated them.
Criterion (iv): Nancy, temporary residence for a king without a kingdom, offers the oldest and most distinctive example of a modern capital where an enlightened monarch proved to be sensitive to the needs of his people. Alongside a prestigious architecture, designed to exalt a sovereign with its triumphal arches, statues and fountains, the construction program focused on Nancy’s public life with its three squares from which people were able to access the town hall, the court house, the consular bureau, farm bureau, administrative bureau, the College of Medicine, the botanical garden, the library, the academy, a theater, a public park, cafés and pool halls.
Source: UNESCO / ICOMOS
History of Nancy
It was from the 11th century onward that the town began to grow. In the 13th century, the first ducal palace was built before being fortified in the following century. The only evidence from this period still visible today is the Porte de la Craffe (Craffe Gate).
Development accelerated from the 15th century onward. René I of Anjou made Nancy the most important city in the Duchy of Lorraine. His successor, René II, had big plans for the city, and would continue and modernize the fortifications and the castle of the Dukes of Lorraine, which became the Ducal Palace (1502). Nancy grew so much that the medieval town could no longer absorb the steady population growth. Under Charles III (1559-1608) the defense system of the city was completely redesigned to include new areas that extended beyond the medieval walls. He created the New Town to the south of the Old Town, a huge project that would last nearly 30 years. The New Town was built along two perpendicular axes, at the intersection of streets Rue Saint-Dizier and Rue Saint-Jean. The fortifications of the New Town were completed in 1620, making Nancy a modern fortress.
From this date onward, the city of Nancy would totally change its face and scope, covering an area four times larger than it had in the previous century! Its architecture was strongly influenced by the Renaissance style from Italy, and its urban layout became a model in Europe.
Throughout the 17th century the city was decorated and embellished, giving the Old Town a certain architectural unity. During the next century, the fortifications were gradually abandoned, and then disappeared. Nancy gradually took on its current appearance. Stanislas Lesczynski, deposed king of Poland and father of Mary, wife of King Louis XV, was offered the Duchy of Lorraine as a kingdom of consolation. Three of his grandsons became kings of France: Louis XVI, Louis XVIII and Charles X.
This great builder would reign from 1737 to 1766. He decided to connect the two towns to form a true homogeneous entity developed around an axis connecting the neighborhoods, the city center and the Royal Square. The work, entrusted to the architect Héré, was quick. The Royal Square was inaugurated in 1755. In its center stands a statue of Louis XV, symbolizing the union between France and Lorraine (Lorraine was not yet French). It would be replaced in 1851 by the statue of Stanislas. Nancy owes much of its architectural heritage to Stanislas Leszczynski. Under his reign, the city was embellished and took on an exceptional dimension.
Appreciated by his subjects for his generosity, he marked the history of Nancy and that of his duchy by the urban development of high architectural consistency, decorated with beautiful monuments that undoubtedly beautify the city.
In 1766, at the death of Stanislas, the duchy was absorbed by the kingdom of France as an inheritance. In the 19th century the city turned to industry (steel, coal, salt ...). In the early 20th century, the architecture of Nancy continued to evolve, heavily influenced by the emerging Art Nouveau and Art Deco artistic movements. The bold architectural style called “Ecole de Nancy” still adorns the city. Despite the destruction caused by world wars, the urban landscape of Nancy is still strongly influenced by this school of architecture.
Art Nouveau or Art Déco ?
These two architectural styles succeeded each other. The first, Art Nouveau, emerged in France, and in particular in Nancy, as in many in many European countries in the late 19th century. Local precursors of this style, such as glass artisan Emile Gallé, influenced other artists, sculptors, architects, and potters ... And thus was born the “Ecole de Nancy”, which soon earned an international reputation, following the example of Prague or Brussels. The current urban landscape was strongly influenced by the decorative arts. As for Art Deco, it developed during the inter-war period, later than elsewhere because of the First World War.
Nancy Tourist Office
Place Stanislas, 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 03 83 35 80 10.
Open every day:
Monday: 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday: 9:30 to 6:30.
Accommodation available for visitors with disabilities.
The Tourist Office offers many guided tours and discovery tours.
Tips for Visitors in Nancy
The Nancy City Pass
Pass: 1 day/ 2 days/ 3 days: €16/ €25/ €33.
The pass includes a guided tour and an audio-guided tour, access to many museums and monuments and public transport. Provide discounts or benefits from other tourist and cultural sites. Available at the Tourist Office.
City tours offered by the Nancy Tourist Office
Guided tour of the historic center (1 hour, 30 minutes)
Discover the architectural ensemble of the 18th century and the Old Town.
From April through October, Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. Language: French
Audio tour (half day)
Full / reduced price : €7.50/ €3.50.
Discover the architectural ensemble of the 18th century and the Old Town, or the Art Nouveau districts. Information available at the Tourist Office. Language: French, English, German. Japanese for Art Nouveau districts only.
Take a stroll with a greeter
Volunteer “Greeters” host visitors and help them discover the city (tours run about 2 hours). Though this is not an official guided tour, the greeters are intended as complementary city guides. These walks, offered free of charge, are more focused on cultural exchange.
The themes of the walks can be varied: a simple walk in the city, a trip to the botanical gardens for enthusiasts, crafts, art galleries ... Information available at the Tourist Office.
Main museums of Nancy
Le musée des Beaux-Arts
3 Place Stanislas, 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 03 83 85 30 01.
Full price / reduced price: €7 / €4.50. Free for children under 12 years old. Free the first Sunday of each month.
Pass Muséo (include : Musee de l'Ecole de Nancy Museum + Musée des Beaux-Arts): €15.
Open every day except Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Guided tours and audio guides possible (Price: €3).
Many activities for children.
Accommodation available for visitors with disabilities. Bookstore.
Established in 1801, the Museum of Fine Arts brings together, chronologically and thematically, a remarkable collection of paintings and sculptures representing different artistic movements in Europe from the 15th to the 20th century (Bruegel, Rubens, Caravaggio, Delacroix, Manet, Picasso ...). It also includes a collection of drawings and prints, as well as a magnificent collection of 350 Daum glasses from Nancy’s famous factory.
The Musée Lorrain
Palais des Ducs de Lorraine, 64 Grande Rue , 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 03 83 32 18 74.
THE DUCAL PALACE AND THE MUSEUM ARE CLOSED FOR RENOVATION UNTIL 2023.
The Lorraine Museum traces the history of the region through its artistic and cultural life. From prehistory to the present day, objects and works of art testify to its rich past. The museum features furniture, objects from daily life, ornaments, ceramics, sculptures, weapons, stained glass, ceramics, offering a good introduction to the history and culture of Lorraine. Part of the collection is devoted to archeology and art, located in the Ducal Palace. The arts and traditions section is located in the former Convent of the Cordeliers.
The Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy
36-38 Rue du Sergent Blandan, 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 03 83 40 14 86
Full price / reduced price: €6 / €4. Free for children under 12 years old. Free the first Sunday of each month.
Pass Muséo (Included: Musee de l'Ecole de Nancy + Musée des Beaux-Arts): €15.
Open Wednesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Guided tours possible in English, German or Italian on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. Price: €4.
This museum is dedicated to Art Nouveau with an outstanding collection. The selection of works of art, furniture, stained glass and ceramics from the late 19th century influenced by the Ecole de Nancy are exhibited along the reconstructions of rooms from the period. Works by major artists like Emile Gallé and Louis Majorelle are widely represented. This museum is well worth the visit.
Garden of the Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy
Entrance: 36, rue du Sergent Blandan, 54000 Nancy
Open Wednesday to Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free access.
Pleasant garden beautifully landscaped around its ponds. The Art Nouveau Aquarium is classified as a historical monument.
Main events of the year in Nancy
Rendezvous at Place Stanislas (mid-June to mid-September at night)
City of Art and Culture, Nancy celebrates its architectural heritage with the show "Rendezvous at Place Stanislas". Beautiful visual spectacle at the Place Stanislas and on its facades.
Books on the Square (september)
Place Carrière, 54000 Nancy
Large exhibition at the beginning of the literary season with 600 authors.
Ephemeral Garden (End of September until begin of November)
Nancy Jazz Pulsations (october)
Saint Nicolas Festival (1st weekend in December)
For two days the city of Nancy celebrates its patron saint (see "The story of Saint Nicolas"). The festival features many activities in town (parades, music, fireworks ...).
Christmas Market (December)
Wooden chalets take over the downtown area, offering jewelry, crafts, gingerbread, sweets, mulled wine, all in a festive atmosphere.
Markets of Nancy
The Central Market of Nancy
Rue Saint Dizier, 54000 Nancy
Tuesday to Saturday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Beautiful building covered by a glass canopy. Many restaurants.
The Haussonville Market
Boulevard Haussonville, 54000 Nancy
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ; Friday 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Food from local producers.
The Old Town Market
Rue Jacquot, 54000 Nancy
Sunday: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Getting to Nancy
From Paris or Strasbourg: Highway A4. Exit 18, Nancy-centre.
From Brussels, Luxembourg or Dijon: Highway A31. Exit 20, Nancy-centre.
Nearby classified sites
Strasbourg: 156 km (97 mi), duration: 1 hour, 50 minutes.
Reims: 207 km (128.5 mi), time: 2 hours, 40 minutes.
3 Place Thiers, 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 36 35.
5-minute walk from Place Stanislas.
Bus Station - Transdev
8 Place de la République, 54000 Nancy
Tel : 03 55 68 20 00.
Regional Airport Metz-Nancy Lorraine
Route de Vigny, 57420 Goin
Website - tel : 03 87 56 70 00
45 kilometers north of Nancy via Highway A31 Many shuttles with connection to the Nancy bus station (allow 40 minutes for the trip).
Getting around in Nancy
The city center can easily be explored on foot.
The park and ride centers at the different entrances to the city allow visitors to park outside the city and reach the center by tram. Fast and economical solution.
Urban bus and tramway
STAN (bus + tramway)
3 Rue Docteur Schmitt, 54000 Nancy
Website - 03 83 30 08 08.
Bicycles Stan Lib'
Website - Tel: 08 00 25 00 25.
Access to bicycles 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 29 stations around the city.
Tourist train (40 minutes)
Departure Place STanislas.
Price: €7 / 6 to 14 years old: €5. Free for children under 6 years old.
Operates daily from April through October.
Tour of the historic center in 10 languages.
Art Nouveau tour is also available from May through September, on Sunday. Price: €9 / 6 to 14 years old: €7. Free for children under 6 years old.
Nancy Taxis (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
2 Place de la République, 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 09 74 56 61 35.
Accommodation in Nancy
The selection of accommodation proposed below consists of establishments that offer quality services at competitive rates, they are considered as references in their respective categories. These addresses are nearby the classified area. The prices shown are for the off season, on the basis of 2 people.
B&B "Maison de Myon"
7 Rue Mably, 54000 Nancy
Website - Tel: 03 83 46 56 56.
Room from €140.
Hôtel de Guise ***
18 Rue de Guise, 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 03 83 32 24 68.
Room from €65.
Hôtel des Prélats ***
56 Place Monseigneur Ruch, 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 03 83 30 20 20.
Room from €97.
Hôtel La Résidence ***
30 Boulevard Jean Jaurès, 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 03 83 40 33 56.
Room from €73.
Restaurants in Nancy
The selection of restaurants proposed below consists of restaurants that offer a good price/quality value. These addresses are nearby the classified area. “Formule” corresponds to a lunch special with a starter and a main course, or a main course and a dessert. The “menus” usually consist of a starter, a main course and a dessert," for lunch or dinner.
Brasserie l’Excelsior – traditional french cuisine
50 Rue Henri Poincaré, 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 03 83 35 24 57.
"Formule" €28.90. "Menu" from €49.90.
A la Table du Bon Roi Stanislas – cuisine from the 18th century
7 Rue Gustave Simon, 54000 Nancy
Website - tel : 03 83 35 36 52
"Formule" from €20. "Menu" from €26.
La Toq' - gourmet cuisine
1 Rue Trouillet, 54000 Nancy
Website - Tel: 03 83 30 17 20.
"Lunch menu" €23."Dinner menu" from €33.
Le V'Four - creative cuisine
10 Rue Saint-Michel, 54000 Nancy
Website - Tel: 03 83 32 49 48.
"Lunch formule" €21. "Menu" from €40.