Combining the Renaissance style with Art Nouveau and Art Deco, Nancy is an extraordinary city. Former capital of the Duchy of Lorraine, the old town has one of the most beautiful squares in France, which Unesco has classified as a World Heritage Site.
Today, Nancy has a sumptuous architectural décor and can legitimately be considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, the European capital of Art Nouveau. With its centuries-old historical and Baroque monuments, charming alleys and green spaces, the city of Nancy will amaze you and is an ideal weekend destination, especially during the Saint-Nicolas celebrations, which cloak the city in a magical Christmas atmosphere.
Between 1890 and 1914, some of Nancy’s wealthiest residents, patrons of the new art nouveau movement, commissioned houses in theÉcole de Nancy style. The city thus became a riot of details and architectural features of the new European art movement.
From Place Vaudémont to Porte de la Craffe, the Grande Rue forms the main axis of the historic centre. With its magnificent palace of the Dukes of Lorraine, its tangle of alleyways, its beautiful historical residences and its cobblestones, Nancy has a very special charm, to be discovered strictly on foot with one’s nose in the air.
Nancy is a city with a rich history: it has preserved intact the traces of its past. The historic core allows visitors to take a real leap back in time, admiring the medieval streets where the residences of the old Lorraine families and private villas can still be seen.
This district, with its exceptional architectural heritage is also very lively: from Place Saint Epvre to Porte de la Craffe, you will find a good number of small shops, restaurants of all kinds and bars. Also not to be missed is Place de la Carrière1, a charming medieval square that was used for equestrian exercises and tournaments. In the 18th century, the Government Palace was built here to serve as the seat of the Intendant of France. This square still marks the entrance to the historical centre.
Right in the heart of Nancy, Place Stanislas is a perfect example of French classicism: it is considered the most beautiful royal square in Europe. It is a true 18th century jewel, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built by Emmanuel Héré, the square is surrounded by finely crafted gates, embellished with gold and made by the blacksmith Jean Lamour, as well as two majestic fountains designed by Barthélémy Guibal. Since 1831, the statue of Stanislas Leszczynski, former King of Poland who became Duke of Lorraine, has stood in the centre of the square that bears his name. The Town Hall, the Opera House and the Museum of Fine Arts are among the most important classical-style buildings on the square.
Place Stanislas, now entirely pedestrianised, becomes the annual summer theatre of an extraordinary 30 minute sound and light show .
In the heart of the old town is this beautiful religious building. The Saint-Epvre Basilica was built in the 19th century by Prosper Morey, a famous architect. The monument was erected in a superb neo-Gothic style that is well worth a visit. The place has also been classified as a historical monument since 1999.
On site, you can admire not only the basilica’s incredible façade, but also its splendid interior with majestic stained glass windows. Every day, faithful believers and curious visitors push open the doors of this unmissable place in Nancy.
Located at the end of the Grande Rue, it is the only remaining remnant of the medieval walls. The 2 round towers were added from 1463 onwards.
The oldest fortification in Nancy, it was built in the 14th and 15th centuries and later became a prison until the 19th century. The Notre-Dame gate, located behind it, doubled the city’s defences. It became a symbol of the Old Town.
At Place Stanislas, in the heart of the city centre, is the Museum of Fine Arts. The place will undeniably seduce art lovers. Inside, you will have the opportunity to discover an overview of European art from the 16th century to the present day.
The collections cover 9,000 square metres and include works by the greatest European artists such as Rubens, Delacroix, Perugino, Modigliani or Caravaggio. Several famous artists from the region are also present in this museum. These include Bellange, Jacques Callot, Claude Gellée and Emile Friant.
The Villa Majorelle is one of Nancy’s most important attractions. It owes its name to Louis Majorelle, an artist and industrialist who entrusted the construction of his house to the architect Henri Sauvage.
The Villa Majorelle holds a special place in the history of architecture as it was the first entirely Art Nouveau house in Nancy. It houses remarkable Art Nouveau furniture and allows visitors to discover how the home of a wealthy industrialist was developed at the beginning of the 20th century.
A few minutes’ walk from Villa Majorelle, don’t miss the Ecole de Nancy museum. It is located in the former residence of Eugène Corbin, who was one of Nancy’s greatest collectors and donated part of his collection to the city.
It is one of the few museums in France to be entirely dedicated to Art Nouveau, an artistic movement of the early 20th century. The collections thus testify to the richness and technical diversity of this current: stained glass windows, furniture, ornaments, ceramics, textiles, local artwork and glassware.
Built in the 16th century, the imposing building was the residence of the Dukes of Lorraine before being abandoned in the 18th century in favour of Lunéville.
Its remarkable guardhouse, which was the gatehouse, is inspired by that of the royal château of Blois and combines Gothic art with Italian Renaissance. Since 1848, the palace has housed part of the Lorraine Museum, dedicated to the history of the region.
Not far from the famous Place Stanislas, in the heart of the city, you will find a small green corner, ideal for a relaxing stroll.
The Parc de la Pépinière, nicknamed the green lung of Nanc by the inhabitants, with its surface area of almost 21 hectares, is an urban space designed for a variety of activities such as picnics on the grass, outdoor sports and children’s playgrounds, merry-go-rounds and even a puppet theatre. Nature lovers can admire the park’s rose garden, home to various species of flowers, or visit the mini-zoo with monkeys, deer, mouflon and many other species.
Don’t miss a small diversions to Rue des Écuries: this picturesque and little-known street owes its name to the fact that it once housed the stables of the Duke of Lorraine. Today it houses original private houses that have the distinction of being connected to the Parc de la Pépinière by small bridges and suspended footbridges.
It is the ideal place to dive into the heart of local life. Open five days a week, the Market of Nancy brings together almost 60 traders in a magnificent U-shaped building.
Here you can buy everything from daily groceries to flowers and even books. Once you have finished shopping, take the opportunity to discover the local gastronomy in the market’s small restaurants, all in a joyful and friendly atmosphere. And don’t forget to taste Nancy’s specialities including delicious macarons and the famous bergamots, small citrus-flavoured sweets.
Street Art lovers should not miss the DNA route (Art Dans Nancy), an invitation to discover contemporary works. From the pavement of a pedestrian street to graffiti with geometric shapes, you will discover another face of Nancy, that of a city whose artistic heritage also manifests itself in its most urban dimension.
The most famous works? Definitely Fresque Giulia11, a monumental fresco by the portrait painter David Walker, The Red Bull12, a giant bull 3 metres long and weighing 800 kg, which proudly shines in the heart of the city, and Le Coeur du Grand Nancy13, a work by the Argentine artist Jorge Orta that celebrates organ donation through this sculpture, whose golden heart, at the top of the work, contains the donation card, the fruit of the work of 35,000 university students in the department.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Famous for its elegant square and Art Nouveau architecture, Nancy is also an important regional economic and university centre, attracting visitors for its incredible architectural landscape.
Particularly well served by public transport, with 12 bus lines as well as a tram, not to mention the train station, the old town is the best area to stay in Nancy, thanks to its relaxed atmosphere and numerous tourist attractions.
In this area, you will have no problem finding hotels for every need in the heart of the city. The centre is also home to the highest concentration of bars and restaurants, to experience Nancy at its most cheerful and lively.
Nancy is an obligatory transit point when you want to reach Germany or Luxembourg: these two countries are less than 50 km from the border. It is also easily connected by public transport.
Once there, you can rent a car directly at the airport to reach the city.
The city of Nancy is very well served by regional and TGV trains. From Paris there are ten daily TGV connections from the Gare de l’Est, for a journey of approximately one hour and thirty minutes.
Please note that the Lorraine TGV station is located outside the city. A shuttle allows you to quickly reach the centre of Nancy.
What's the weather at Nancy? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Nancy for the next few days.
Nancy is located in the north-east of France, in the Grande Est region, near the confluence of the Moselle and Meurthe rivers.