In my first visit to Nancy I was surprised by the harmony and beauty of the city.
My new digital camera brought some good photos that, in the computer… gone.
This second time I was more careful and the pictures are safe. But the rain only abandoned me for a few moments, and the colors were lost. That means that I need a third visit to Nancy.
Stanislas statue stands alone in the center of a large and empty square.
Sometimes, people decide to embellish the square, and an artificial garden is displayed around the statue. Still beautiful! But… come closer! Look at the garden! What do you see?
Grass, flowers and… glass! Lots of elements in glass, mixed with the natural flowers, combine perfectly, and remind us that Nancy is a must in glass art.
Confusing, is what I can say.
Looking Roman, in the decoration, I cannot link this door from the 18th century, to Stanislas.
My fault, of course!
In the way to/from the train station, evidencing the signs of the intense traffic that crosses it, it doesn’t make justice to what is expecting you at the end of the street.
Nancy’s top attraction, Stanislas Square, is… perfect.
Impossible to catch in a photo, the architectural harmony of the square and the richness of the details demand a personal observation.
I had the privilege twice!
Fountains in Stanislas square
The great harmony of Stanislas square owes much to the art of Barthelémy Guibal, the creator of the two fountains celebrating Neptune and Amphitrite that close two corners of the square. Precious details.
La Carrière Square
Right beside Stanislas Square, this other square, respecting the geometry of the 18th century is… ugly!
I mean, both extremes are beautiful with Herè’s arch connecting with Stanislas Square, and the harmonious Charles de Gaulle square at the other, but the middle is wide, empty, and with a neglected image! I think that something is missing there.
The old residence of the governors of Lorraine, was a palace from the 18th century, that seems closing the square of La Carriere, when you enter from Stanislas square.
Closed to visit (?), when you approach, you may notice that it makes part of an independent complex, facing a large round area delimited by some arches, named De Gaulle square.
The triumphal arch with the architect’s name was built with Stanislas square, honoring Louis XV, and connects Stanislas and La Carrière squares.
Enhancing the perfect geometry of the squares, it frames the central part of both dominant buildings in each square – City Hall, and Governor’s palace.
Porte de la Craffe
The most remarkable building in the old quarter is this medieval door, once a prison. I don’t know why, but the door is much more beautiful from inside than from outside, the same happening to Stanislas door.
This gateway into Nancy was built at the end of the 14th century, as part of the walls that protected the town. The towers flanking the gate were added on at the end of the 15th century, to be used as prisons.
There’s a small lantern from the 17th century above the gate that contained a bell used to ring the hours of the day, and to call the population for public executions.
This beautiful square, near the train station, is the start (or end) of the most commercial area, and, with other motifs, it is the place to the BNP Paribas, one of the best examples of “Art Nouveau” and the school of Nancy.
In Maginot Square, surrounded by some good examples of Nancy’s art nouveau, there’s an interesting temple, identified as “protestant”.
I don’t know its story, but it’s funny to notice in its facade the niches created to hold images of the saints, left… empty, as a result of the protestant concepts (I think!).
No doubt, we are facing an “adoption” of a catholic temple (I think, again!).
La Pepiniere Park
My first visit was in winter, and I skipped it.
The second one was in summer, and I went there: raining!
A quick visit, and a promise: next time, if under the sun, I’ll appreciate the details.
Once, twice, you pass in front of this cafe, repeating the same thought: “nice building”.
Then, you read something telling you that it is one of the most distinguishable samples of the school of Nancy.
The third time, you look again, and update the thought: “Very nice building”.
If you decide to enter, you may have a drink or a meal (expensive, I think) or just to appreciate the decoration.
The centre of town shows two different areas: the perfect geometry of Stanislas square with its surroundings, and the narrow streets of the medieval quarter.
Close to each other, it’s easy to visit both areas in a single day.
Nancy is a case study, and a showcase of the best ever done in Art Nouveau.
All over the city is possible to see several examples, respected by the volumes of the adjacent buildings, as a signal of modern respect for the city’s history and art.
St Epvre Church
This church from the 19th century, in a neo-gothic style, is one of the outstanding buildings of the old city.
It was undergoing hard recovering work when we were there, so we didn’t visit.
The cathedral of Nancy was… a disappointment.
In a very beautiful town, the word to describe the first impression of the cathedral was… dirt.
Only the grids, matching the style of Stanislas square gates, oppose that negative sensation.
Inside, things are different, and Rococo details are present in the Neoclassical and Baroque styles, mixed in the construction.
A Portuguese that we met in Vannes-le-Chatel, advised us that we should try to visit this house.
We went there, but unfortunately, it was not opened to the public, demanding a previous booking (See the details in the site École de Nancy).
We only appreciated it from outside, and realized that it is mainly a symbol, because, all around it, there are many other beautiful samples of Nancy School of Art.
Address: 1, rue Louis Majorelle
San Sebastian church
Integrated in a modern quarter, this baroque church of the 18th century faces a popular market, showing a different look of the city, closer to the common European cities.
Built in 1593, the church suffered several transformations, the hardest one during the revolution, when it was transformed in a warehouse for straw.
Returning to religious use in 1801, it keeps the Baroque style from the works in the 18th century.
St Georges Gate
Close to the cathedral and far from the old town, this door seems out of context, without any connection with the missing old ramparts.
It seems that Victor Hugo had to help Émile Galé, to save it from destruction, in the 19th century.
The canal that serves Nancy is not only a useful resource, but also a garnished spot. Boats and flowers fill and surround the water, in a discreet but nice harmony, with the bridge as a good sightseeing and photographic point.
Sacre Coeur Church
Out of our plans, this church peeping “over the shoulder” of Majorelle Villa, attracted us by its exotic look.
We visited it and discovered that it is a new (100 years old) Roman-Byzantine church, inspired in the Sacre-Coeur in Paris.
Large, with a nice interior with great stained glasses.
Le Coeur du Grand Nancy
A discreet statue near the train station, in Place of Republique, calls our attention, with a golden heart atop a pile of iron hearts, clearly reproducing the style of the iron works in Stanislas square.
It invites us to read, and doing that I found that it is a recent work of the artist Jorge Orta, created in 2002, to celebrate a convention of organ donors.
Close to the train station two high towers called our attention.
They belong to the Neo-gothic church of Saint-Leon, built in the 19th century, and dedicated to the bishop of Toul, who became Pope Leon IX.
Fine Arts Museum
Right in the Stanislas Square, this museum has a good collection of classical art, with some modern works.
Truly “smashing”, for my taste, is a painting of Emile Fryant, from the beginning of last century that… you have to look.
Directions: Stanislas Square
Website: Fine arts
If you visit the Fine Arts museum (and you should do it, of course!) look, at the end of the first floor, near the stairs to the basement, for a discreet door, with a sign allowing the entrance of only one person.
Inside you will find a curious combination of lights, mirrors and water, with a psychedelic result.
I hope that this is a permanent element!
Nancy School Museum
Searching for Majorelle Villa we went to this museum, before opening time.
We couldn’t wait and didn’t enter, but, with the whole Nancy being an open museum, I’m curious: what else did they put inside?
If you visit it just let me know!
Museum of Lorraine – Ducal Palace
This was another museum where we didn’t enter (you know… I had to leave something to do in the third and following visits!).
The palace, in the old city, is very beautiful, but when we were there it was showing the effects of pollution.
Of course, the most important is the content, but this sad image is not a great invitation.
Mignardise (or Capucin Gourmand?)
In my first visit to Nancy, we entered by accident in a restaurant where we had the pleasant surprise of a fabulous dinner.
In this second visit we tried to repeat it, but we were not sure how to find it.
My colleague said it was something like “Capucin Gourmand”, I had an approximate idea of its location, and… Mignardise was there.
We entered, and the interior matched our memories. We had a very good dinner there, and very reasonably priced.
Later on, surfing the net I saw that there is near it a “Capucin Gourmand” with a different look, but… recently renovated. I’m not so sure, now.
Mignardise was great, and, in the 3rd visit I promise I’ll check both again.
Good, cheap and quick
We were in a shortage of time, in front of this Lebanese restaurant.
We entered. Good idea.
This was my first Lebanese experience, and it was positive: we ate well, paid reasonably, and left in time.
In a nice ambiance. Good!
Address: 65, Grand Rue, Nancy
Very fine for a late dinner
We went there for a light late dinner, and it matched exactly what we needed. I don’t know how it works with regular meals, when it acts as a restaurant, nor how is the ambiance when it turns into a bar, but the “Fajitas” we had in the “in-between”, where perfect (yes, being hungry helps a lot!).
Address: 11, Rue des Maréchaux
Just across the street from the station (with the evident advantages concerning scheduling and luggage), and close to Stanislas door, the hotel is unexpectedly silent and quiet.
The rooms are small but with all the essential and a fully working bathroom. The breakfast is a continental buffet, very basic but… cheap.Since we were not supposed to stay in the hotel more than the sleeping time, it filled perfectly our needs. PS – There is no internet for the clients, but, when I needed it, the receptionist used her computer and kindly helped me to find what I needed. OK!
Address: 3 Rue Crampel, 54000 Nancy
Hotel des Prélats
No, I didn’t stay there, however, watching its superb integration with the cathedral, and the way its facade brings personality to the square, I kept it in my mind.
Of course, facades are not the most important thing in hotels, but… if the inside matches the outside…
Address: By the Cathedral
Browsing Booking.com, I found not only a good photo, but also the information that it is a three star hotel, far from the range of prices that I imagined by its image and location.
OK, it is affordable, and in my next visit I will check it
A new wonder
After several days in Nancy, I couldn’t decide what would be the most spectacular time to see Stanislas square: day or night?
A perfect illumination, and the relief won by Town Hall under the lights are responsible for the doubt.
Maybe at night…
Or by day…But at night.
Please, clean the cathedral
Black signs of pollution, large stains in the interior, and a general idea of… poverty.
The contrast with the well maintained city suggests that a quick intervention is needed.
It should be done by now, but… I don’t know.
We know that Nancy is a landmark in arts, but we were not expecting to see painters around, as seen in Paris.
For our surprise, it happened in the garden called “La Pepiniere”. A very old man (almost two hundred years old) approached us, identifying himself as Claude Oscar Monet (never heard!), and asking permission to paint us.
We had no much time, and posing under the rain was not the best idea, so we turned our back and tried to move away.
He insisted and in a couple of strokes painted something. Na! I think that Monet has no future! Do you agree?