Located in northeastern France, Nancy is a great model of town-planning where wide boulevards connect its vast public squares in a carefully considered manner. Many of France’s great architects have contributed to its appearance, earning the city fame throughout the world for its beauty.

Beginning as an Iron-Age settlement, Nancy has expanded to become the capital of the Duchy of Lorraine, a position through which it retains many souvenirs. With the death of Duke Stanisław Leszczyński, former king of Poland, Lorraine reverted to a French province, of which Nancy remained the capital. In the middle of the Twentieth century when Lorraine became a region, Metz was chosen as its administrative first city; although due to its cultural heritage, Nancy is referred to as 'the capital of the East'.

This reputation owes much to the École de Nancy, a collection of artists, architects and designers who worked in the Art Noveau style. Led by the glassmaker Emile Gallé, their movement (characterised by the use of leaves and natural designs as well as the use of wrought iron and irregularly shaped glass) found expression in the creation of paintings, jewellery, glassware and interior decoration, which made Nancy a centre of artistic culture to rival Paris.

A time-line of architectural styles, Nancy is also celebrated for its outstanding medieval, renaissance and 18th century constructions.


Nancy retains many souvenirs from its previous status as the capital of the former Duchy of Lorraine, including the elegant Ducal Palace, which is now the Lorraine Museum. With its sinister gothic and renaissance exterior, it is one of eight major museums in the city.

The imposing twin towers of the 14th century Craffe Gate is the oldest remaining part of Nancy’s fortifications and was formerly a prison. The Arc de Triomphe built in honour of Louis XV separates the old town from modern Nancy and is a copy of the Septimius Severus arch in Rome.

By far the most impressive piece of the Dukes’ legacy is the stunning Place Stanislas, named after the final Duke of Nancy (and former King of Poland), who founded it. The vast, cobbled square is centred around a large statue of Stanislaw himself, which replaced a statue of Louis XV removed during the French revolution. It is surrounded by six monumental wrought iron gates embellished with golden leaves, indicative of the Art Nouveau style. It is a very fashionable place to have a coffee or dine in any of the multitude of restaurants and cafés around its edges. The renaissance Opera house and Grand Hotel are also to be found on the Place Stanislas along with Nancy's Museum of Fine Arts.

The Place Stanislas is on the list of protected UNESCO world heritage sites, along with the Place de la Carrière, which was originally used for jousting tournaments; and contains the governor’s palace and the Beauvau-Craon Mansion created by the architect Boffrand.

The tiny Place d'Alliance, commissioned by Duke Stanislaw and created by the architect Emmanuel Héré was built in celebration of the Alliance between the Hapsburg House of Lorraine and the Royal House of France. In its centre is a baroque fountain sculpted by Cyfflé and is also UNESCO listed.

There are over 80 examples of Art Nouveau construction remaining in Nancy after extensive shelling destroyed much of the city during the First World War. The best examples are the Maison Bergeret, the Villa Majorelle and the Maisons Huot.

Just outside of Nancy, the Chateau de Fleville is also worth visiting. It is one of the finest renaissance castles in the East of France.


The major commercial city in the region, Nancy attracts shoppers from all over Lorraine, including nearby Metz as well as from Luxemburg and Germany. They come to shop for the numerous designer brands like Hugo Boss and Kenzo, and specialist shops such as top of the range hi-fi manufacturers Bang & Olufsen.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Aside from the multitude of late-night bars, nightclubs, and pubs, Nancy has a famous Opera House, a ballet and numerous theatres that enhance the city’s active cultural life.

The extensive public lighting system makes Nancy an impressive city to stroll around at night, particularly in the recently renovated medieval Grand Rue.

Dining in Nancy is relatively inexpensive, even in the large Gastronomic restaurants on the Place Stanislas, where prices start from around €25 per meal. The nearby rue des Marechaux, is filled solidly with restaurants and bars, whose terraces spill onto the pedestrianised street. Aside from traditional French and Italian fare, all sorts of world cuisine can be sampled in Nancy’s excellent Japanese, Cuban, Indian, Vietnamese, Creole and Chinese restaurants.

Tourist Information

Nancy Office de Tourisme Place Stanislas, BP 81054000, Nancy.France Tel: + 33 (0)383 352 241Fax: +33 (0)383 359


The Metz-Nancy Lorraine Regional Airport has regular domestic flights from major destinations around France, and regular charter flights to Italy and North-Africa. Located 40km north of Nancy, a shuttle service transfers passengers to and from the train station.

Nancy is 120km from Luxembourg airport and the Luxembourg train station has regular direct services to Nancy, which take an hour and 26 minutes.

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