NANCY, FRANCE: Nancy is an elegant medium-sized French town in the region of Lorraine. The city is famous for some of its architectural masterpieces. You can see touch of both medieval and Renaissance in its old part. Nancy is also considered as an Art Nouveou jewel in this region of France. Being a university town, its old town offers a melting pot atmosphere for Nancy’s students, locals, and tourist.
TIME of TRAVEL: Nancy was the last stop on our summer road trip of 2014. The main highlight of this trip was visiting Mont-Blanc…the highest peak of the Alps. We also visited Annecy, Chamonix, and Dijon before coming to Nancy. It was a nice weather but Nancy looked a bit slow and less-crowded when we were there.
EATING and SHOPPING: We really didn’t eat anything here, except for our girls who had sandwiches from Subway. But streets near Place Stanislas had some cafes and restaurants and shops. Other than that I didn’t really see too many eateries or souvenir shops.
PLACES WE’VE VISITED: We barely stayed only couple hours in Nancy. It was on our way from Dijon to Brussels. So we stopped for a little break and to look around its old part. It makes a great day-trip from places like Dijon. Walking is the most convenient and best way to explore the city.
1) CATHEDRAL of NANCY: Also known as Cathedrale-Primatiale de Nancy, was our first stop in Nancy. Nancy is known for having many beautiful and old churches.
The church was built between 1703 and 1742. This is a very Gothic looking cathedral with powerful Corinthian pillars, angel sculptures, decorative arches, painted dome, small chapels, and chapel gates. The altar from 1763 is made of different colored marbles. Check out the organ which fills the entire rear of the church. It is considered as one of the most beautiful one in whole France. The façade, as well as the interior are of the Corinthian order. Interior plan has a Latin-cross shape.
It’s free to enter the cathedral.
2) PLACE STANISLAS: Listen as the UNESCO World Heritage site, Place Stanislas is an impressive square from mid-1700s which is a popular public gathering point. Town hall of Nancy stands on one side of Place Stanislas. Statue of King Stanislas dominates the square surrounded by buildings and decorative doors. Right in front of the statue of King Stanislas and opposite of the town hall is Arch Here, which was built in honor of King Louis XV and looks very similar to Arc de Triumph in Paris. The square is guarded by few fancy golden wrought iron gates…reminded me of Tsars’ Village in St. Petersburg, Russia. Two lavishly decorated fountains with statues can be seen on the two sides of this square.
3) LA BASILIQUE ST. EPURE: Our last stop in Nancy before heading back to Belgium was this extravagant basilica, known as La Basilique St. Epure. This is a must-see in Nancy which receives thousands of people from all over the world each year. The basilica is standing over an old parish church from 9th Before this current basilica was built in 1871, there were three more churches that have been erected on this site. A large number of European artists and architects were involved giving this edifice its present look.
Loved the woodwork, stone carvings, and stained-glass windows here. There are 74 large windows and 3 rose windows which all together, represent about 2300 sq. meters of stained glass surface. This church is known to have “more glass than wall”. Most of these windows are from Vienna, Austria. Check out the carved wood decoration on altars, choir-stalls, cross, statues, and pulpit. The church collected items from all over Europe, like the heaviest bell of the main choir is from Hungary, chandeliers from Belgium, a 25-sq. meter pavement from the Pope Pius IX in Rome. Small chapels on the sides and behind the main altar are very decorative with statues, stained-glass windows, and old religious artifacts. Its 84 meters (or 275 ft.) height spire rises high and looms over Nancy’s old town with a glaze.
The basilica is located at the very heart of Nancy, only few minutes’ walk from Place Stanislas. There is no fee to get inside. Check out Museum of Lorraine, an artistic building in front of this basilica, which once used to be the Ducal Palace.