After we already enjoyed our short trip to Strasbourg so much – and we were so proud of our school French – we decided to take another short trip to a French city: Nancy. From Frankfurt, you can reach this beautiful, dreamy city with good food, interesting museums and charm in just three hours by car. Let me tell you: once again I asked myself why I left the versatile country France off my travel list for such a long time. I can't explain it, because this city has also conquered my heart in no time.
Briefly about Nancy:
Nancy was once the capital of the Duchy of Lorraine. You notice that. Here was not spared on urban planning. Opulent Art Nouveau mansions, a lively market hall, city mansions from different eras, magnificent palaces – all this you get in this charming city. Nancy is world famous for its architectural ensemble from the 18th century. Nancy, the Golden City, is a nineteenth-century city that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983: including the heart of the old town – Place Stanislas, Place de la Carriere, and Place d'Alliance. There is something to discover at every corner. A perfect city for bright, culture-loving travelers who love good food and a glass of wine.
On the road in Nancy.
Just stroll through the city.
No matter if you watch the gentlemen repairing their bicycles, take a little walk through the hectic market or buy fresh flowers in one of the many beautiful flower shops – Nancy is just wonderfully charming. My absolute travel tip is and remains: wander around! Yes, I actually think that you should just walk around every new city completely haphazardly for a while. Without a goal. You have to let yourself drift and just stop when you see something beautiful. Have a coffee – or a glass of wine – in between and just let the city take effect on you. Since I don't have to marvel at every little sight of a city, I have the feeling that I can get to know the cities much more intensively. Paradoxical but true. Definitely try it out!
Visiting museums? Boring? No way – my top three museums in Nancy:
I love museums and interesting exhibitions. Therefore, in every city we visit, I pick at least three that we pay a visit to. The choice in Nancy in clear but quite interesting. If you google museums in Nancy, the search engine suggests exactly 6 of them. For me, after a short research, my top three were already decided: the "Musee des Beaux-Arts de Nancy", the "Museum Aquarium de Nancy" and the "Musee lorrain A Nancy". Why exactly these three? Quite simply: because my soul always needs art as input, an aquarium is always a must for me and because it never hurts to find out a little more about the history of a city. TIP: For those of us who like to save money: the museums offer free admission on the first Sunday of every month – great, isn't it??
The "Musee des Beaux-Arts de Nancy" translates as the "Museum of Fine Arts" and it lives up to its name. The museum is located directly at the Place Stanislas, opposite the opera house. Represented here are the various art movements of the 14. to 21. Century. The collection of paintings includes names such as Rubens, Delacroix, Monet, Dufy, Picasso and many other artists. The tour gradually leads to the discovery of works of contemporary French or. foreign artist. In addition, there are temporary and constantly changing exhibitions and installations. In my favorite installation of the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, I have certainly spent at least 20 minutes, because it fascinates me so much. The Infinity Mirror room took me to another world for a short time – this installation alone made the visit worthwhile! In addition, in the basement you will find the attractively presented glass collection of Daum, which offers the visitor an overview of the century-old tradition of the famous glass production in Nancy. With the presentation of the remains of the fortifications from the 15. until 17. Also in the basement, the museum not only bridges the gap between the old and the new city, but also between the old Duchy of Lorraine and modern Nancy. TIP: If you want background information on the individual works, it's best to take an audio guide with you.
Wherever you find an aquarium in a city, you will find me there. Don't ask me why, but I love aquariums. The aquarium with integrated natural history museum is small but nice. On the completely renovated second floor, more than 600 animals are presented in an educational, appealing exhibition design, while on the first floor, 60 aquariums immerse the visitor in the tropical waters of the Red Sea, the Amazon and Lake Tanganyika. I stood like a little child in front of each aquarium, watching all the colorful fishes. Do I sound boring when I get excited about it? We had a lot of fun there because of the partly very interactive exhibition. Here, too, there was an installation that, let's put it this way, took us by surprise. In the end we could not stop laughing about ourselves. But I don't want to tell you more – you have to go there yourself, if you want to laugh about yourself as well. TIP: Approach with childlike curiosity and interest!
Last but not least, we visited the "Musee lorrain A Nancy". This museum is located in the heart of the old town of Nancy, in the former palace of the Dukes of Lorraine and the Eglise des Cordeliers. Above all, it testifies to the remarkable artistic and cultural importance of the region. Archaeological and medieval collections bring visitors closer to the history of the city. In the former Franciscan monastery next to the Eglise des Cordeliers, where the tomb of the Dukes of Lorraine can be seen, there is also a collection showing rural life in Lorraine in the 19th century. Jhs shows. It was indeed very interesting to see how people lived back then. TIP: The small outdoor area is great for relaxing.
What else does Nancy have to offer?
Shopping: In the city center, in addition to the typical suspects that one might expect from a city, one finds, above all, many original boutiques and stores of fashion designers and designers offering local products. From the stores we know like Zara and Mango, to the small local stores selling mirabelle tarts, mirabelle schnapps and delicious macarons, to the stores we love but rarely find in Germany like Pinko or Sephora – you really find everything there. I would have definitely had my fun. Unfortunately, due to the short time in Nancy, we did not get to go shopping. TIP: Le Boudoir des Arts! A small, inconspicuous boutique selling high quality second hand fashion. We walked past it several times until curiosity won out and pulled me in like a maelstrom. For lovers of pre-loved pieces from the luxury sector, this is a land of milk and honey. Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Fendi – with so much to choose from, of course I didn't come out empty-handed. What I could not leave behind, you can see in this posting.
Art nouveau& Art deco: The styles "Art nouveau" and "Art deco", "decorative art" follow each other in time. While the two styles mixed somewhat during the transitional period, art deco moved away from the characteristics of art nouveau quite quickly to move in the opposite direction. In Nancy, Art Nouveau became very popular at the end of the 19th century. through. As a result of industrialization, new and interesting building materials like steel and glass were created. The artists of the "ecole de Nancy", the school of Nancy, founded in 1901, took advantage of this and first designed porcelain and furniture pieces in the new forms, which were mainly influenced by nature. The art of Art Nouveau is characterized by one thing in particular, in addition to the high quality of craftsmanship: Sensuality. Then with the First World War began the decline of Art Nouveau and the rise of Art Deco. While the floral, nature-inspired soft forms of Art Nouveau disappeared, elegant, clean lines and often geometric decor now dominated the works. We picked up all this and much more during a one-hour tour on the "Art noveau" train. This tour takes place every Sunday morning at 10 am (from May until the end of September, you can certainly find exact times for 2018 here then) and is highly recommended if you are interested in the history of architecture and also want to take a look at the outer regions of the city. During the tour, I always tried to guess in advance to which era which villa belonged to – this worked out quite well at some point. If you know a bit more about the subject, you can of course also guess diligently with my pictures. TIP: If you do this tour in September, wrap up warm and take something warm to drink as well! Early in the morning it can be a bit foggy and cold, but also very charming.
La Villa Majorelle: The villa is located in the shadow of the apse of the Basilica Sacre Cœur, in a quiet residential area. It is part of the museum of the Ecole de Nancy, located in the immediate vicinity. We were lucky (the tours are quite rare) and arrived on time for a guided tour of the house without having googled beforehand. They take place only on Saturdays and Sundays. One at 14:30 and one at 15:45. Unfortunately, the guided tours (currently?) only in french. But thank God we both had French in school and apparently there is more stuck than suspected. Although the guide had spoken really fast, we were able to understand a lot of it. An absolute sense of achievement for us. Tip: This villa is worth a visit and since it is only a few hundred meters from the Nancy train station/center, it is no big deal to walk there – past all the pretty little houses and the romantic alleys.
The Rendez-vouz Place Stanislas: When I heard that there was a daily 10:00 p.m. departure from the 17. June to the 17. September there would be a light show on the Place Stanislas, so it was clear to me that we would go and see it. But I have to admit that I never, ever expected to see such a beautiful show. The UNESCO world heritage site is decorated every evening in the summer with a scenography of monumental pictures. The show created by the company Spectaculaires – Allumeurs d'images brings together, I believe, all the Nancy tourists in one place every evening. With the words "From childhood I was afraid of the dark… All my life I have been looking for light… for all the lights" the magical show starts and invites the audience to be fascinated by the skills of the artists of Nancy and by the lights of the 5 continents. We are always reminded of the importance of having dreams and chasing them. TIP: Just leave the camera and enjoy the show.
And culinary? WHERE TO FIND AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FOOD?
My first impression of Nancy, from a culinary point of view, was that it is a place where those with a sweet tooth will be particularly happy! This city is mainly known for its macarons and bergamot sweets. In addition, the city is also credited with the mirabelle plum – from the fruit (in all possible variations in cakes, pastries and sauces) to mirabelle plum brandy. Not enough sweets yet? No problem: how about cake specialties such as Saint Epvre, Duchesse de Lorraine, honey and pepper cakes, chocolate or even a piece of Gateau de Nancy (chocolate cake)? But the salty dishes are not without their own charm. Here, specialties such as quiche, the famous small Lorraine pate, incomparable for its meat filling marinated in white wine, Lorraine meats and sausages, and Lorraine stew with cabbage, carrots, sausages, meat, share the winner's podium. Please bring a lot of hunger! And thirst. Because the wine can also be something. There are many excellent wine merchants and wine bars where, in addition to Lorraine's wine production – from Toul to the Metz area – you can also find renowned cheese producers.
Local and regional cuisine as well as French cuisine, world cuisine – in Nancy you have a free choice, you just need enough space in your stomach. From fancy restaurants to cozy pubs, you can eat well here in every price range. My tips for always hungry travelers can be found here.
Where to stay in Nancy?
In Nancy there are hotels for every budget. We would like to present you two of them. The first is a four-star hotel called Grand Hotel de la Reine, located right on Place Stanislas. It will be renovated soon. After that it will reopen as the first 5 star hotel in the region. So if you are looking for the perfect starting point for a trip to Nancy and want luxury, you should check out this hotel. If you don't care about stars, but are looking for a starting point almost as good as the Grand Hotel de la Reine, you can have a look at the three-star Hotel des Prelats. The restaurant is located only 100 meters from Place Stanislas and welcomes its guests in an old episcopal house from the early 17th century. Century welcome.