Nancy, the former capital of the Dukes of Lorraine and an important centre of the art-nouveau movement, is one of those cities which you will probably not include in your itinerary on a tight schedule. But if you have a little time to spare, I would definitely suggest to add this to your list because I believe you will leave it feeling rewarded.
Nancy can be done as a day trip from Paris with the mighty TGV covering the 400 odd kms separating them in just about 1.5 hrs. Or you could combine it with Metz and spend the night in either before heading out to your next destination. I haven’t visited Metz yet, but an hour that I spent in its 110 years old neo-Romanesque style built railway station my way to Paris was enough to pique my interest and get it added to my to-visit places. But more about Metz later.
We visited Nancy this weekend as a day trip from Luxembourg, 1.5 hrs each way on the slower regional train. The first thing was obviously the mandatory trip to the Tourist Office which is about a 10 min walk, at the Place Stanislas. Now armed with a walking tour map of Nancy, we decided on the 3 hour walking circuit which covered all the places of interest (the other options were a 1 hr and a 2 hr walking circuit). We started with the magnificent UNESCO listed neo-classical square or the Place Stanislas. Its a beautiful square lined with delicious French cafes and flanked on two sides by the gilded wrought iron gates along with beautiful rococo fountains. In the centre stands the status of Stanislas, the Duke of Lorraine while just opposite to it stands Nancy’s own Arc de Triomphe.
Walking right through the victory arches, one would reach the Place de la Carriere however we decided to walk on the other end of the circle and after a brief walk through the autumn ridden ‘Jardin Godron‘ gardens, we reached the Cathedrale Notre Dame de l’Announciation. If its beautifully painted cupola doesn’t inspire you enough then probably your attention will be held at the cathedral’s magnificent orgran, which is one of the largest in France. Walking further on from the Cathedral, we reached the Nancy Central Market or Marche Central. The market, an epitome of the French love for fresh produce, is a place to visit in itself. A line of restaurants around the market square makes it a good place for some rest and food as well.
After finishing off some delicious french food, we walked on through the ‘painted’ Rue de la Visitation (painted as part of a street painting project) further on to the old Town or ‘Ville Vielle’. The Porte de la Craffe in the old town is the oldest fortification in Nancy, built in the 14th cent. and turned into a prison later on. A little further on is the beautiful St Epvre basilica and opposite to it stands the residence of the dukes of Lorraine – Le Palais Ducal and finally the Place de la Carriere.
We finally backed back to Place Stanislas through the walkway across the Place de la Carriere and took a welcome refuge from the chilly weather outside, into one of the beautiful cafes lining the famous square. A cup of cappuccino and a delectable cheesecake later, we were off to the main station to take out train back home. And before I sign-off here today, I am leaving you with some of the last clicks of the day from Nancy.
As always, Happy Travels!!
Categories: travel review