Located in the Lorraine region of north-eastern France, Nancy is exudes and air of grace and sophistication having once served as an epicentre of the Art Nouveau movement.
Direct connections to Nancy are available on the high-speed rail line TGV from Paris, with the journey taking around 90 minutes. Regular trains also service Nancy from Metz, Lyon, Strasbourg, Dijon and other regional centres.
Although most of the city’s attractions are within an easy walking distance, Nancy itself has an excellent public transportation system, providing both bus and tram services. Bus tickets can be purchased directly from the drivers, while vending machines at each stop provide tram tickets. Bulk tickets for either 10 or 20 journeys are also available if you intend to be travelling extensively around Greater Nancy.
Nancy became part of the Duchy of Lorraine after it was conquered by Frederick II in the 13th century, and was fortified in stone following this time because of its strategic importance as the Capital. It became a French province in 1766 with the death of Duke Stanislas. The Prussian annexing of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871 left Nancy under French sovereignty, during which time if became the host to thousands of refugees. The city came under German occupation during WWII and was liberated in September 1944 during the Lorraine Campaign.
There are several interesting historical sites to visit in Nancy. The town square, Place Stanislas, includes a statue of Duke Stanislas, fountains and wrought iron gates dating back to the 18th century. A tourist office is located on the southern side of the square where plenty of maps and information about Nancy is available.
The Triumphal Arch, Place de la Carriere and cathedral in the Old City’s centre all provide excellent examples of 18th century architecture. The Old City itself dates back to the Middle Ages. In it you can find relics such as La Porte de la Craffe, a 14th century gate with two towers which resembles something from a fairy-tale.
There are several Art Nouveau-style buildings from the late 19th and early 20th century, following the establishment of École de Nancy by glass and furniture maker Émile Gallé who aimed to develop the city into a centre of architecture and art rivalling Paris. These houses include Maison Weissenburger and Maison Huot. Furniture, glassware and other decorative pieces produced during this movement are also housed in the villa of Eugène Corbin.
For some relaxation, enjoy the Jardin botanique du Monet and Jardin Dominique Alexandre Gordon botanical gardens or the Pepiniere public gardens.(photo:Moala, Alecs.y, TL)