Monday, September 19, 2011

Nancy, Lorraine Region, France

{Part 6 of an 8 part Summer Road Trip 2011 series. Click here to read the previous posts from the bottom up.}

Like Metz, Nancy is an attractive city in the Lorraine Region of France. One name that doesn't go unnoticed in its history is Stanislas Leszczynski - the Duke of Lorraine who laid the foundations for the elegant and impressive Place Stanislas in the 1750s.

Taking 4 years to complete, the 18th century Place Stanislas is a beautiful square enclosed by a few important buildings - the City Hall (Hotel de Ville building), the Opera Theatre, and the Fine Arts Museum.

Set in between the Old and New Towns, Place Stanislas together with 2 other squares, Place de la Carrière and Place d'Alliance, are inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List.

At the turn of the 20th century, Nancy played a pivotal role in the Art Nouveau movement, adding richness to its already facinating ensemble of architectural styles.

Apart from the monumental buildings that line Place Stanislas, the square is also surrounded by fountains framed with ornate wrought iron gates heavily adorned with gold leaves.

No words or pictures can do justice to a place like this. Like a work of art, its grandeur is simply overwhelming. In addition to the beauty of Place Stanislas itself, one other highlight is the laser light show that happens daily at 22:45 and lasts approx. 20 minutes.

To be honest when the hotel staff told us about the show, I was only half interested (cos I've seen similar ones before). Nonetheless I stayed on and I must say I actually enjoyed it! Well it's still pretty much the same, but yet different...if you know what I mean.
The laser lights are projected against the façade of the palatial Hotel de Ville, literally bringing the building to life!

Above: Not far from Place Stanislas is Nancy's Cathedral.

Above: The exterior of Boutique L'Huilier, a shop selling gifts and decor items.

Above & Below: Place de la Carrière and the Arc de Triomphe at the opposite end.

The Old Town (Ville-Vieille quarter) is a seemingly quiet maze of stately private mansions or townhouses with architecture that differs greatly from those in the New Town.

Above: Hotel Farraris, previously an 18th century private mansion with a Fountain of Neptune sitting in its courtyard.

Above: Palais Ducal, once the residence of the Dukes of Lorraine, currently a museum.

Above: The 14th century Porte de la Craffe / Craffe Gate.

Above: Rue de la Faïencerie.

Above: Place Saint Epvre, a market square back in the Middle Ages.

Above: The neo gothic Saint Epvre Basilica.

Above: Some of the 'Art Nouveau' style buildings in Nancy.

On a sweeter note, what good is a trip to France without a trip to a macaroon shop?

Here in Nancy, there are lots of places where you can get your macaroon fix. One of them is Maison Des Soeurs Macarons - a traditional looking little shop which holds the secret macaroon recipe handed down by two Benedictine Nuns. This pair of nuns became so popular and successful that they were nicknamed the 'Macaroon Sisters' and their macaroons were often referred to as THE Nancy Macaroons. There's even a street named after them!

But alas! The shop was closed for lunch when I got there.

Above: The fancy, modern Patisserie Hulot where I eventually bought my macaroons.

Next up after Nancy, I'm headed to Strasbourg - the most anticipated part of my roadtrip!

1 comment:

  1. Hullo! "The Macaroon Sisters" also sounds like a great name for a band...

    I just came across your blog and love the photography. Those night shots of the Place Stanislas are gorgeous--they didn't even need a light show to make 'em shine.


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