Nancy is a city and commune in the Lorraine région of northeastern France.
The city is the préfecture (capital) of the Meurthe-et-Moselle département.
The metropolitan area (aire urbaine) of Nancy had a population of 410,509 inhabitants
at the 1999 census, 103,602 of whom lived in the city of Nancy proper
(105,100 inhabitants in the city proper as of 2004 estimates).
read full wikipedia reference about Nancy, France
NANCY lies on the banks of the River
Meurthe. It was spared the Prussian occupation that afflicted
the rest of the region from 1870 to 1918, and its centre, largely
unaffected by the undistinguished modern sprawl that blights
the valley sides, remains a model of eighteenth-century Classicism.
For this, it has the last of the independent dukes of Lorraine
to thank, the dethroned King of Poland and father-in-law of Louis XV,
Stanislas Leszczynski. During the twenty-odd years of his office
in the mid-eighteenth century, he ordered some of the most successful
urban renewal of the period in all France.
Pride of place in Nancy
must go to the beautiful place Stanislas , the middle of which
belongs to the solitary statue of its inspirer, the portly Stanislas
himself, who was responsible for laying out the square in the
1750s. On the south side of the square stands the imposing Hôtel
de Ville , its roof-line topped by a balustrade ornamented with
florid urns and amorini, while along its walls lozenge-shaped
lanterns dangle from the beaks of gilded cocks; similar motifs
adorn the other buildings bordering the square. Its entrances
are closed by magnificent wrought-iron gates, with the best work
of all in the railings of the northeastern and northwestern corners,
which frame gloriously extravagant fountains dominated by lead
statues of Neptune and Amphitrite.
In the corner where rue
Stanislas joins the square, the Musée des Beaux-Arts (daily
except Tues 10.30am-6pm) has an excellent presentation of French
nineteenth- and twentieth-century art on the ground floor, with
a good selection of paintings by Émile Friant and Nancy's
own Victor Prouvé, as well as a Manet, a Matisse and a
Picasso. The rest of the collection upstairs, encompassing Italian,
German, northern European and the rest of French painting, is
less interesting. Time is better spent in the basement, where
works from Nancy's glass company, Daum, which formed a part of
the "School of Nancy" , are beautifully lit in black
rooms. The layout of the basement follows the shape of fortifications
dating from the fifteenth century through to Vauban's seventeenth-century
alterations, which were found during the recent renovation. For
a glimpse of Daum's contemporary creations you can visit their
shop, also on place Stanislas. A short walk east of the square
is the excellent Muséum-Aquarium de Nancy , at 34 rue
Ste-Cathérine (daily 10am-noon & 2-6pm). Upstairs
is a colossal jumble of stuffed animals and birds, woefully displayed
and labelled, while downstairs is a startling aquarium of exotic
fish whose colours surpass even the daring of Matisse.
On its north side, place
Stanislas opens into the long, tree-lined place de la Carrière
, a fine eighteenth-century transformation of what was originally
a jousting ground. Its further end is closed by the classical
colonnades of the Palais du Gouvernement , former residence of
the governor of Lorraine. Behind it, housed in the fifteenth-century
Palais Ducal and entered through a handsome doorway surmounted
by an equestrian statue of one of the dukes, is the Musée
Lorrain , 64 Grande-Rue (daily except Tues: May-Sept 10am-6pm;
Oct-April 10am-noon & 2-5pm; closed public hols). Dedicated
to the history and traditions of Lorraine, it contains, among
other treasures, a room full of superb etchings by the Nancy-born
seventeenth-century artist, Jacques Callot, whose concern with
social issues, evident in series such as The Miseries of War
and Les Gueux , presaged much nineteenth- and twentieth-century
art. Next door, in the Église des Cordeliers et Chapelle
Ducale, is the Musée des Cordeliers (same hours as Musée
Lorrain), where rural life in the region in days gone by is illustrated.
On the other side of the Palais du Gouvernement, you can play
crazy golf, admire the deer or just collapse with exhaustion
on the green grass of the Parc de la Pépinière
, a sort of cross between a formal French garden and an English
park - there is also a free zoo. At the end of Grande-Rue is
the medieval city gate, Porte de la Craffe .
A half-hour walk southwest
of the train station, the Musée de l'École de Nancy
, 36 rue Sergent-Blandan (Mon 2-6pm, Wed-Sun 10.30am-6pm), is
housed in a 1909 villa built for the Corbin family, founders
of the Magasins Réunis chain of department stores. Even
if you are not into Art Nouveau, this collection is exciting.
Although not all of it belonged to the Corbins, the museum is
arranged as if it were a private house. The furniture is outstanding
- all swirling curvilinear forms, whether the object is mantelpiece
or sofa, buffet or piano - and the standards of workmanship are
superlative, with a fair sprinkling of Gallé's work on
display, too. Another quirky sight is the Musée du Télephone
, 11 rue Maurice Barres, just off place Stanislas (check with
the tourist office for opening hours), which dedicates two floors
to the display of telephones and models of telephone exchanges.
OTHER POPULAR DESTINATIONS